It’s not you, it’s me.
I’m in the middle of a breakup right now. I’m breaking up with my (Fika’s) social media accounts...and it’s complicated. The line between personal and business is really blurry.
Simply put, I have become more of a consumer of social media and thus far unable to use it in a manner which adds value, in a holistic sense, to Fika Coffee. I had a thought the other day come to me while riding my bike through the thick, cool spring air - it’s like I was approaching social media as a business, I was so caught up in trying to fit Fika Coffee into Instagram and make it a business. In return, all it did was take value away from Fika Coffee.
Social media has been a drain on me and my resources. It’s become a shallow work for me which I do not have time for. In Cal Newport’s book titled Deep Work, he defines shallow work as “ Tasks that do not create much new value, easy to replicate, often performed while distracted.” How I was managing Fika’s social accounts fits this description to a T. Cal goes on to say this about deep work: “Tasks that create new value and are hard to replicate, push cognitive capabilities to their limit, performed free from distractions.” I have a big vision for Fika Coffee, and in order to get there I need to move away from work which is either done in a state of distraction or causes distraction. So maybe it is you, Social Media, a little bit, for asking so much of my time but not really giving much back into this relationship. If this is going to work, it is going to have to be a two way street.
What does this mean for us?
Fika is taking a social media sabbatical. In the following paragraphs I’m going to attempt to share with you how I, Josh Lindstrom, arrived at this decision.
First I want to explain briefly what this will look like for Fika. This sabbatical will be from June through at least October. During this time we will leave our social media accounts open, meaning if you search for Fika Coffee on Instagram or Facebook you will find that account open but with no current content. My rationale behind leaving the account open is to keep our store hours and location available for those who are looking to visit us. So often today people head to the web to gather general information about a business. We accept this and plan to continue to offer our business information on the web in many of the most common channels.
Secondly, I would like to put more emphasis on other channels of online activity. Mainly, our newsletter/blog and website. These channels all live closer to our business ideals and my personal inclinations. In my experience these channels ask for more thoughtfulness and deliberate effort to implement on our end. We believe it also asks for more deliberate effort on your end.
The big question: Are we contributing to something that goes against what we are about?
Being a small business, as Fika still most definitely is, resources are our biggest obstacle. Time, energy, bandwidth, human power, and of course money, are all limitations constantly being pushed up against. We don’t always see this as a negative challenge though, it may often feel that way, but we also have come to know the constraints of limitation as a necessary impetus for setting and constantly reestablishing our priorities.
“What are we contributing to with our time and energy?”, and “What is it we aim to be contributing to?” are two of the questions that work on our behalf in this process of setting priorities. Over the course of the last year, through living in these questions, it has become clear for Fika that the energy we have been putting into social media is taking us away from our ideals. It is not fair to only consider the physical exertion of energy that goes into the act of marketing, but we also must consider the immense amount of mental energy which is given to social media.
Fika, at its core, was born from an idea to bring people together. And while we don’t intend to deny the ability for social media to bring people together, what we personally know is that the act of bringing people together in physicality, through place, creates a more rich and rewarding connection. That was the mission at the start with our Roaster to Door delivery, our farmers market involvement, and it was still the mission when the Fika cafe was born in 2016. It is still our mission today. To contribute to a community, and an economy, that places priority on human interactions which orient towards the human element, and only later (when necessary) rely on the technological element which our culture now places such emphasis on.
If not social media, then what?
So, then the question becomes, if not social media, how will Fika Coffee connect to our customer base which is not living in close proximity to the cafe? Well, that is a good question. One which we have thought about considerably. It is our aim to channel our online presence into our newsletter and blog. The reason for this is twofold: First, these channels of communication are more intentional, and less of a distraction than social media has come to be.
Opening a blog post or reading through a newsletter involves more commitment from us as we contemplate the subject and value of our writing. It also involves more commitment from our friends and customers to sit down and read. In a world where time and energy is often stretched overwhelmingly thin for individuals, we believe that playing into that with micro messages and beautifully brief media stimulation, is not the best way forward. We feel negatively on a personal level about contributing to that path, and to some extent, we’re guessing that many of you feel the same way on the other end.
Perhaps it will be less frequently, but with our future communications we intend to be more thoughtful and considerate of our messages and the intimacy we co-create. Plus, more of our time and energy can flow to the most important areas of our business, areas that create deeper connections with our customers.
Little changes are already taking place to create subtle intimacies in our business. We hope you may notice them wherever your interactions with Fika take place. We pride ourselves on the human aspect of Fika. The story we are growing as a business, and as individual people, still excites us every day, in big part because all you are with us on the journey.
As we move forward, don’t be shy. Send us a note, sign up for our newsletter, drop in to say hi, or share a little of your story with us whenever you feel it.
To more good stories ahead!
This is where Fika Coffee is at today and as we continue to mature and develop and understand “who we are” our thoughts on this social media relationship will hopefully develop too and we will be back. Right now that plan is that this sabbatical will last through October at that time we will follow up with another written reflection on how this affected the business and my participation in the business.
In the words of Paul Harvey “and now WE know the rest of the story”