Off the Grid: Social Media on Vacation
For the first time, really, since the advent of social media and instantaneous photo sharing, I went on vacation in a less-than-connectivity-friendly place.
No fear, I thought. I’ll easily stay away from Facebook and Twitter and texting. I need the break. Enjoy the unconnectedness of it all. Consider it a sort of entrement between the chapters of my life.
Cue the isolation. With no way to share my photos or brag to my friends, I resorted to quick hits on my 25-cents-a-minute pay-as-you-go-phone just to get my “social connectivity” fix.
And I don’t consider myself a social media addict. I have an average number of friends on Facebook and about the same number of Twitter followers. I tend to comment or participate only when the spirit moves me.
Why did being “off-the-grid” make me so uneasy?
I’ve come to several conclusions:
1. We live with a “breaking news” mentality. I want you to know how much fun I’m having right NOW! Not the same effect 10 days later.
2. We need instant validation. A thumbs-up “like” makes us feel special and worthy. This is doubly important when one is on vacation enjoying a tropical heat wave and everyone at home is enduring snow.
3. We don’t want to be left out. While I’m relaxing on a deck chair, who knows what other exciting/important/impactful things are happening? How’s my kitchen remodel going? Who won the Phillies game?
4. It’s a habit. To be connected – and the desire to remain so at virtually all times – is ingrained. And it has only been amplified by easy access to tools that help us reach a much wider audience, at any moment we desire.
Truth be told – I’ve been on the rebound from the experience. There was no easing back into social media – my Facebook friends wonder what happened to the normally reticent Betsy.
I’m dedicating myself to further study of the issue, though. Maybe write a white paper or two. I’m certain I’ll need four, five more vacations this year to work it all out.