I’ve just come back from my Christmas holiday – where I spent 10 glorious days with my significant other and family – and not going online at all…. ok I went online once, but that was to find out what time my flight was leaving to head back to Melbourne.
As someone who uses social media both professionally and personally, I’ll tell you that it can be challenging to disconnect and go into offline mode. When you are so used to connecting with others (and being accessible to others) sometimes just turning it off can be daunting.
Not only did I have a hiatus from the online world, but my iPhone was having a long term temper tantrum and refused to work in NZ (so much for the global roaming Vodafone guarantee) so I had 10 days of being in the communication dark ages – and aside from on New Years eve when I couldn’t call some of my best friends – it felt wonderful. Not only did I not have to worry about tweeting, checking emails and seeing what my friends were up to on Facebook other than eating, drinking and generally being merry (what else do you do at Christmas?) I spent my free time at home hanging out with my partner, reading and generally being lazy.
But the question is.. what happens to my online brand, profile, influence if I take time out? The answer generally is – If you have interesting things to say and you’re not offline for a significant period of time – not a lot. Your audience will still be there when you return, and at a time like Christmas, everyone is really concentrating on how to get the most prawns off the seafood platter or how to score the best part of the turkey rather than tweeting every 5 minutes – so you’re all pretty much in the same boat.
There’s no right or wrong answer in how to handle taking a break from Social Media, some people alert their audience, and some people just go AWOL. Just do whatever feels natural to you.
It’s easy to let your audience know that you’ll be out of contact for awhile – all it takes is a quick status update or a tweet to say something along the lines of “I’m off for a few weeks, see you all in the New Year” and if you are using these platforms in a professional capacity – let your audience know that they can still email you, use the hotline, or if it applies, your reduced holiday opening hours.
Coming back online this week, what I have noticed, is that while a lot of people and brand personalities did stay online during the Christmas period, their tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates happened a lot less frequently, but a lot had gone offline also – and aside from the standard Christmas and NY well wishes a lot of people are starting to come back online now.
So the focus of this post? Social Media is here to help you and your business connect and converse with others. Enjoy it! It shouldn’t be another proverbial chain tying you to to your computer.
Image credit rebeccaselah on Flickr