There are times where even the social media and PR professional (or in this case professor) needs to take a “digital break” from things. I had a chance this week to visit my fabulous sister Kristin and my brother-in-law Scott in Hawaii. Kristin and Scott have been out in Hawaii for a year now and having some time before fall classes start up again made it the perfect opportunity for a visit.
Did I completely cut off all digital ties while I was in Hawaii? No – but I did limit the time I did spend online to thoroughly enjoy my time with family, play tourist in Hawaii, and explore new activities and events I had not done before.
However, there were a few things I noticed when I was technically on vacation and visiting family out in Hawaii that inspired me to write this particular blog post about the pros and cons of taking a digital break as a social media and PR professional. Here were a few observations I had:
- People do ask if everything is okay when they don’t see you online as much: I noticed this right away when I had a few people tell me that I was posting a lot of personal updates (especially on Twitter) instead of my traditional blog posts and news articles. I had to tell them I was taking a break and on vacation. I was still sharing items, but not as much as I usually do.
- Even if you are taking a digital break, you really are not: While I am still playing tourist and on vacation technically, I am still working. There are conference calls, consulting projects, research papers, and preparing for conferences I am still working on. It’s really all about doing a little bit of this each day and it will eventually get done.
- There are many ways to still reach you even if you are taking a digital break: We are in an age where we are connected EVERYWHERE. Not just social media. Even taking a mini break from digital – you still get the text messages, phone calls, and other forms of email directed to you on your break. It’s all fine and good – but it does make you realize how connected and accessible you are to things.
- Your reputation as a hard worker still proceeds you, even on your digital media break and vacation: I think I may be in the minority on this one, but I am a professor that never has set an “out-of-office” message to their emails when they are on break. I feel like I am always on call – which today is pretty much normal. However, if you are known as a hard worker, you will always be on call. I don’t mind this because I know I can get to the correspondence when I can.
- Digital breaks are essential: This was the first trip in a LONG time where I did not have a slide deck to prep or a business suit to pack. Digital breaks and vacations are necessary in order to feel refreshed for the next opportunities and events scheduled. It gives you the time to brainstorm more ideas, be inspired outside of the computer room or viewing your smartphone, and allows you to appreciate all aspects of life and what it can offer you personally. I recommend doing this definitely once in a while.
Overall, I have had an amazing break and time with my family out here in Hawaii. It’s been relaxing and I have had a chance to not only participate and do some things for the first time (like paddle boarding or going to a Hawaiian Luau), but it has served as a nice digital media break for me. Thanks again to Kristin and Scott for being amazing hosts!!!
Hope you all are having a great day!