I was on vacation last week and spent my time road tripping around Texas with my husband, Steve. We had an amazing time, but once again I was faced with the same question I always seem to face when travelling: do I want to share my adventures on social media?
Steve and I travel often and we do some pretty cool stuff. Before we leave, friends are often encouraging me to keep them updated on our adventures by posting online. It seems like a pretty simple request, but it never seems to come that easily to me. By the time I get back to the hotel in the evening, the idea of connecting to the wi-fi, selecting the best photos, deciding on filters and edits and coming up with some clever hashtags seems like a chore. And the word chore is not in my vacation dictionary.
Am I sharing or searching for validation?
We’ve all been there. You make a post and then you can’t help but look back an hour later to check if anyone has liked it yet. Everyone else seems to constantly be posting about amazing destinations they are visiting. I go to just as many cool places, should I be telling everyone about it as well?
A 2016 University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences study, which surveyed 1,787 US millennials, found that ‘Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers on social media elicits feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier, more successful lives.’ Could that also mean that we feel the urge to post our own exciting events as validation that we are living up to the perhaps unreal expectations that social media is setting? Even right now I’m using this blog to shamelessly share some photos of my adventures.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve said before that I think the root of social media is connectivity. I love that it enables me to share my adventures from all over the world with friends and family at home. And I know that at least some of the friends I have on online are genuinely interested. What’s the big deal?
An opportunity to disconnect.
Steve and I have a running joke that we need to go off the continent for us to fully disconnect. Work seems to be able to find us anywhere in North America, and when work is on, so is everything else.
We went to Africa a couple of years ago for our honeymoon and we decided not to bring our cell phones with us. Crazy, I know. I’ll admit, it was a strange feeling at first (especially while still at the airport in Canada), but once our plane took off, I can say I didn’t even think about it. It was actually liberating to not be tempted to respond to emails or check my Facebook feed – we were fully on vacation.
I’m not saying I would prefer to be without a smartphone. I’ll be the first to admit I love my iPhone and all the clever hacks it adds to my life. I spend more time on Facebook and Pintrest than I probably should, but I’m not ashamed of it. I love being connected and having a world of information at my fingertips, but I also appreciate being able to disconnect from time to time.
What is the balance?
Typically I end up making a post or two throughout the week on vacation and then one solid post when I get home, highlighting the best pictures and activities of the vacation. It may not be exciting, up to the minute updates, but it seems to suit me. How do you approach social media when you travel? I would love some tips on striking a balance between disconnecting and sharing or other approaches towards sharing your travel adventures online.
To Post or Not to Post: How do you Travel? https://wp.me/p3QRy0-j4a
To Post or Not to Post: How do you #Travel? #vacationsharing https://wp.me/p3QRy0-j4a