By Scott Kleinberg
August 1, 2013
Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away.
The Go-Gos were referring to a relationship in their famous '80s song, but maybe they were onto something applicable for social media. If you feel like you spend a huge chunk of your time tweeting, sharing links on Facebook and updating your tumblr, maybe you should consider a break.
Here are five reasons to step back from the keyboard and corresponding tips to surviving the experiment.
Reason: People know your entire daily routine based on your Foursquare check-ins.
Tip: This isn't a good thing, especially if you have a habit of checking in at places that provide too much information such as a school or bank. Check your privacy settings. While checking in on Foursquare is a public thing, there are occasions where a private check-in is in order. There's an entire page of privacy settings that you should monitor every few months anyway.
Reason: You're going somewhere with your significant other, and it's been a long time since you relaxed.
Tip: Believe me, I love sharing photos the moment I take them. But despite the push toward instant in Instagram, you can always come back later and upload your fabulous sunset photos. Better yet, plan a blog or photo project to really make your memories stand out.
Reason: You won't be satisfied until your Klout score is the same as Justin Bieber's.
Tip: I've got news: Your Klout score will never be the same as Justin Bieber's, so please stop trying. Now that we've settled that, remember that Klout is just one way to monitor how people react to your sharing on social media. Could your score drop while you're on a break? Sure. Does that matter? Not in the least.
Reason: You've typed #headache or #cantsleep on more than one occasion.
Tip: I've long believed that using a phone, tablet or laptop after you've turned the lights out has to do something weird to your brain. If you don't believe me, a recent article in the Journal Nature says the use of electric lights at night is disrupting our sleep cycles. And clearing your head completely certainly can't hurt.
Reason: You worry that if you don't post something on Facebook, your friends will be worried about you.
Tip: While this sounds really nice on the surface, it begs the question: When is the last time you saw these "friends" in person or called them on the phone? If the answer is never or not in 20 years, well that might be reason enough to take a step back.
If this column enticed you to try a social media break, I would recommend posting about it before you do it. You could inspire others, and if nothing else you'll get a whole bunch of likes which could pad your Klout score while you're gone.
As for me, well, my job is social media so it's tough for me to take a break. But rest assured I've considered it and if I try it, you'll all know about it long before it happens.
Of course if you've ever taken a social media vacation or have plans to try one, I would love to hear about it.
What questions do you have about social media? Tweet them to @scottkleinberg or @amyguth. We might select yours for use in a future column.
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