Stories about unplugging for the holidays abound at this time of year. Most deal with shutting down email and counsel leaving the computer behind. They also tend to skirt the whole issue of social media. It’s attached to your mobile devices, after all, so it’s pretty hard to leave it all behind.
“Hey, what are you looking at? It sounds interesting out there. Can we see? Just for a minute? Please?”
It didn’t take much prodding for me to pull out my phone and share — and share and share.
I plan on taking a chunk of time off before the end of the year and seriously don’t know if I can take a break. Even though this might be counterproductive to the business – really? Remember our motto: Honesty before Profit!
But I’m thinking I should.
It may not be a trendy thing to do. I don’t notice my social feeds slowing down during the holiday season. If anything, they tend to fill up with a sort of pale reflection of all the merry-making happening in real life. I even tried to talk to Twitter and Facebook about holiday activity trends, but neither one of them seemed too keen on the idea of a “social media break” and didn’t end up giving me anything I could use here.
As the year draws to a close and, as much as I love social media, those moments where I just don’t want to engage have been increasing lately, which means I do need a break.
And there are some really good reasons for me to stop – at least for a little while. First (and this will always be true) there is the family. My big “boy” is back from college for the holidays and the “little” one will be on a nice vacation by the end of the week. It is such a great break to get them and me away from square screens, play with real cards and board games and simply enjoy the togetherness that seems more real.
Secondly there is the important matter of downtime and a rest from work. Now when a lot of your work happens on the computer it is an exhilarating feeling not to use it for a while. It is also therapeutic to take a real book and just relax. The internet will be there tomorrow even without Sven at the helm 😉
The question is how do I actually take a break?
The existence of my computer — I mean phone — in my pocket means I not only have access to all my favorite social networks and social media tools, I can see my email and texts, too. Sometimes I have trouble not checking email (work and personal) even when I’m on vacation. As soon as I do that, my social media is one tap away.
Perhaps I can just make a pledge to only check Twitter for news updates. I mean, that’s how I use it anyway. I’m constantly scanning it for breaking news or something interesting. Oh, look, Taylor Swift has signed up for the first manned mission to Mars. I must share that. Or at least favorite it. And what about that hard news tweet? Don’t I have an obligation to share that to my followers? Isn’t it my job to tell them what’s going on?
It’s not, of course. Sometimes I tweet out breaking news and am pleased that I was among the first to do so. I can tell because the retweets and favorites are through the roof. Ultimately, though, my goal is not winning a game of firsts — it’s to inform and educate. And when I’m not doing it, someone else will do it in my place. In fact, millions of people will.
So why can’t I step away for a just a little while?
I can, of course, but I have to overcome the fear that I will disappear — at least on a social media level. I will suddenly go from one of the interesting people you probably should follow (I hope), to someone who has a profile on social media, but rarely engages.
That’s ridiculous, I know. I can take a two-week social media break and survive, right?
Tell you what. Starting on December 22, 2014, I will take a break that will last until I take off for CES in Las Vegas 2015 on January 3. I’ll let you know how I did when I return. Or perhaps you’ll know when I tweet for the first time during my vacation — and when you see that you’ll know I’ve failed.
Wish me luck.
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