I realize that this may be an odd blog topic for a class promoting Social Media, but do you ever just want to take a break from using Social Media in your personal life and fly under the radar? To be completely incommunicado for just a short time and not have everyone know your every move and be able to reach you anytime, anywhere? To quiet your mind and be under-informed rather than having access to mass amounts of information all at once, so much information that it’s impossible to process, so your brain just seizes up (case in point – as I attempt to write this post, I keep obsessively checking my phone for texts, emails, and Facebook updates which is making me lose my train of thought)? I personally get overwhelmed by all of this and think it would be nice to take a vacation from Social Media/technology every once and a while.
I actually tried implementing this Social Media vacation concept in my own life when my husband and I took our kids on a trip to Australia for a month last year. My big plan: each of us would be allowed to use our devices for the plane ride only and then after that, just for taking pictures. There was going be no emailing, googling, texting, Instagraming, Facebooking, and so on. I wanted us to live in the moment and not feel the need to share everything instantly. When we were not sight seeing, I wanted us to read books, play board games, and chat about life. The trip was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime experience, but my electronic ban plan was an epic fail. We stuck with it the first few days, but gradually, the kids managed to talk us into letting them watch TV at night to unwind. TV watching eventually turned into watching shows and YouTube on their iPods and then everything went downhill from there.
So maybe a month was too long to pull off this experiment, but I still do firmly believe in the concept and will try again when given the opportunity. Constant online connectivity is hard enough on adults, but I actually think it’s damaging for our kids to feel the need to be in contact with others all the time. Kids have no downtime, no quiet time, and no time to just be themselves. Everything they do is on a public stage with no chance for a ‘do over’ if they make a mistake. Being given an excuse to take a mini vacation from all of that (especially when you can blame your parents), should be a welcome idea. Because of this, I have now set my sights on smaller goals for my family: electronic free Sundays where we kick it old school and power down. While my kids are still outwardly resistant to this idea, I believe they secretly like it – I do think they recognize that Social Media adds an element of stress to their lives.
Social Media is a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, I just think we need to learn use it with moderation in our personal lives because it’s everywhere we turn. Not only has Social Media become an integral part of our culture, it is a valuable and vital tool for businesses, governments, non profit organizations, and more.
If you would like to try having a Social Media vacation in your own life, there are many online resources (yes, I realize the irony in this suggestion) available for reference. For example, sites like Forbes and Buffer Social and have posts that provide useful tips.