This month, I had the pleasure of taking several days away from work to go camping in a Pennsylvania state park. Over the course of my vacation, I cooked over fires, canoed, hiked, went bird watching and more. Did I mention I had absolutely no access to electricity?
For two nights, I slept in a tent in the woods. No outlets, no generators, absolutely no power sources. And while this type of getaway may seem like a nightmare for some people, it was exactly the excuse I needed to take a social media vacation.
A recent study by MyLife.com reveals more than half of online users have either taken or considered taking a “vacation” from social media in the past year. As a social media and content marketer, it’s difficult for me to break from my personal profiles; however, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider myself a good candidate for a social media vacation.
Like many women, I often find myself stressing out about my social media profiles. My daily social media panic goes something like this: Why did I not fill my Buffer last night? Don’t forget to post an article to Google+! I really need to make time to search for new people to follow on Twitter. Do I know this guy sending me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn? Man, I’m never going to be able to start that food blog I’ve been talking about!
To help de-stress (and because of that “no electricity” thing), I unplugged for the duration of my camping venture. And you know what? I survived. Know what else? I actually learned a few things:
Consistently churning out great content is no easy task. That’s why content marketers like myself are constantly on the lookout for creative inspiration. And where do we almost always turn to find that inspiration? Social media, content curation tools, search engines, blogs, downloads, etc. But during my trip, I rediscovered the most inspiring sights and ideas often come from nature.
For example, on Day 2 of my trip, I canoed 10 miles on the Clarion River. By the time I hit mile two, I was startled by something I saw slithering in and out of the water. Fearing a snake, I was overjoyed when a pair of otters popped their heads out of the water. If I’d had my phone with me, I would have begun furiously scrolling to take a picture with Instagram. But since I was without social media, I was able to fully enjoy a moment sure to stick with me for years to come. And who knows? Maybe I can use that inspiring sight in future writings.
When my vacation was over and I switched my devices back on, I was pleased to discover not much had changed. Facebook hadn’t rolled out any new layout changes, my LinkedIn profile views didn’t plummet and my Twitter followers stayed roughly the same. There were no noticeable black marks on my social reputation.
The point is, if you’re worried how taking a social media vacation will affect your clout, reputation doesn’t crumble in a day. When you reconnect, you’ll find most everything you’ve built online to be right where you left it.
Vacation season may be winding down, but taking a break from social media doesn’t require booking a hotel room or packing up the car. You can take a social media vacation any time, anywhere. But should you?
“Perhaps the question isn’t about social media, but about what kind of break you want to take when you have a vacation,” says Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center, on Mashable. “Is it a time for reflection or a time for social connection? Long-overdue hanging out, or a burning need for activity? The goals of a vacation should drive how you use social media.”
My advice to whether you need a break from social media is to look within. Is social media fueling your stress? Do you want to reconnect with friends or family on a more intimate level? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you may want to consider a social media vacation. If several days seems like too much, start with just one social-free day. If I can do it, you can, too. I promise!
Have you taken a social media vacation? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist in researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Photo Credit: Africa Mayi Reyes