With the holiday season upon us, it's a time for family, friends, vacations, and unplugging from work. For many of us, unplugging for a vacation is difficult. These problems aren't just for work-a-holics, they’re for everyone. Email used to be the culprit, but now it’s social media.
People use social media for work and play. So it’s double-tough to put social media down when on vacation. When you’re posting that great Christmas party picture, it’s tempting to browse through your feed...until your significant other yells at you.
This article by Amy Iverson proposes using winter vacation as a way to detox from social media and technology. Amy gives some great stats, and compelling reasons why you might want to try this approach. However, if you don’t want to unplug, or can't because of work obligations, there are some ways to contain your online interaction. In this article I’ll give you 5 tips to help you unplug just a little. Tips to help you balance your social media addiction, and enjoy your time with family and friends while remaining plugged in so that you don’t go into full withdrawal.
Tell your social media peeps you’re going on vacation
A good first step is to announce your intentions. Let your social media community know you’re going on vacation. Tell them you won’t be as active while you’re gone. This lets your community know, and they'll respect you for it. But there's another reason to do this. Like telling people you’re starting a diet, or that you want to go jogging every day at lunch, just stating your intentions can sometimes help you stay true to them.
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Give yourself some dedicated social media time
You’re on vacation. Family and friends take priority. Let me rephrase that. The family and friends you’re on vacation with take priority over your social media friends and family. That’s just the way it works. Okay, you don’t believe it, but, for the sake of argument, begrudgingly accept it. It’s just for a little while. To put the people you’re on vacation with first, put the phone down. It’s that simple. No Nintendo at the dinner table. No TV during homework time. It’s the same thing, no social media during quality time with your fellow vacationers.
That doesn’t mean you can’t set aside some time for social media. You should do just that. If you can take time to read a book, you can take time to get your social media fix. Pick a time, and work it into the schedule. A few minutes every day or maybe even a half hour. If you’re tough, make it every other day. Set a time, set a time limit, and stick to it.
Share and post, but limit interaction
A few minutes? A half hour? Every other day? How you ask? This is the tough part. This is where you need self-control. The thing about social media is that it’s social. It’s about the interaction. That’s how you get sucked in, and you know it. You comment, someone responds to your comment, and the next thing you know, they've finished the family Pictionary game without you. To avoid getting sucked in, share, like, favorite, retweet, do the quick, and easy interactions, but don’t go any further. Limit comments and conversations. You've probably done this before, on days at work when you’re on deadline, or weekends when you've had one errand after another. Most social media addicts have a grazing mode. Treat it like that. Graze. Stay plugged in, but just take a few quick nibbles and move on.
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Ask for help if you need.
I don’t know you, but you’re probably not to be trusted. If left on your own, you’ll likely wind up sitting in the corner of a wonderful winter inn atop snow-capped mountains looking at all the cool pics your social media friends are posting from places far less glorious than your location. At this point your family and friends may have already latched onto another, more fun person who actually interact with them.
If any part of that sounds like it could happen to you, or if it has happened to you, get help. You can ask for help from your significant other. If they are just as much a social media addict as you, they might not be a big help. Find someone less inclined toward social media to help you regulate your addiction. Young kids and older folks work well for this. Tell them, if they see you typing on your phone to call you on it. For small kids, tell them to scream “Rabid Reindeer!” It will keep you in check, and provide some entertainment.
If you’re a family of social media addicts, (in other words, if you have tweens or teenagers), you will have to be more creative. Have a social media jar. Yes, like the old swear jar. If phones are out, a buck goes in. I’ve seen this, and it works. It works because it’s fueled by that age-old holiday emotion -- revenge. The first person to pay in, is going to pick up surveillance on the rest of you. For added fun, make it a contest, track who pays in, and give the jar to the person who paid the least when vacation is over!
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Save thanks for your first day back.
One final tip. One of the nicest parts of being on social media, is saying thank you to people who interact with you. Thanking new followers, fans, and people who like your content gives us all a little endorphin boost. You’re on vacation, save the thanks for your first day back. If you’ve told people you’re going on vacation, they’ll understand why it took longer than usual.
CarverTC is a Hubspot partner agency in Portland Oregon. We specialize in lead generation, customer acquisition, client engagement, and competitive advantage for technology companies.