I just returned from a nine-day vacation. During that time, I vowed not to use the Internet. But the fact that I actually stuck to that pledge wasn’t the biggest surprise.
In 2010, I became very active on the major social media sites as three “persona”–myself, my business (WagnerWrites), and as a community manager for The Working Chronicles. I now spend hours each week planning, writing, posting, tweeting/retweeting, reading, commenting, and sharing. And then there’s email, which consumes even more time.
So I actually felt relieved about leaving it all behind to enjoy a real vacation. And aside from a couple of quick Facebook posts and emails at the airport, I stuck to my decision.
This fear must be what drives a lot of people to stay online while on vacation, either posting live or through carefully scheduled updates. We’ve all had it drummed into our heads that without a constant presence, we won’t be relevant or popular.
But I wasn’t going to drag my laptop to the beach, and I don’t have an international plan for my iPhone. My other option was to write and schedule nine days’ worth of tweets and Facebook posts. Not only was I short on time, you could argue that most of the value of social media interaction is in sharing what’s happening in the moment. I’d just be passing on stale news anyway.
So all I did was write and schedule one blog post for my regular time slot, Tuesday morning, and schedule a few tweets with links. (The Facebook blog post link is generated automatically–one less thing to worry about.) It felt risky but it also seemed like it could be a valuable experiment.
Yep, that’s right. More people liking my Facebook page. More @WagnerWrites followers on Twitter. More people naming me as a source on Amplify. Slightly more comments on my blog about social media vulnerability. Obviously, I didn’t get as many retweets and Twitter mentions but I did have a few, thanks to that blog.
A less cynical conclusion would be that posting a blog and promoting it is what really matters. People are searching for new, interesting content and if you build it, they will come.
P.S. About the photo. I spent most of the vacation at a yoga retreat center. There is wifi in one garden area, where you could find guests and staff using their smart phones and laptops just about any time of the day or night.