Taking a Social Media Vacation

social media vacationPreviously I talked about the rise in FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out. The addiction to social media that FOMO causes has given rise to another trend: the social media vacation. A social media vacation is a set period of time in which an individual chooses not to use any social media networks. However, social media vacations are notoriously difficult to follow through with, and many argue that the eventual return to social media proves that these vacations serve no purpose.

Recent Findings

A recent study by MyLife.com shows that over 50% of online users have either taken or considered taking a social media vacation in the past year. The top cited reasons are viewing unnecessary updates and not having enough time to keep up. Despite the desire to take social media vacations, almost 60% of users reported feeling anxiety about missing important events or updates when not closely following social media networks, and over half reported FOMO.

How to Plan and Follow Through

The combined effects of the desire for a social media vacation and FOMO result in social media vacations that are not followed through on. The key to successfully avoiding social media is to plan ahead and create accountability.

  • Update Your Networks: First, you should write statuses, tweets, blogs, etc. that inform other users that you will not be using social media for a certain amount of time. This will help you resist the urge to check just in case you have an important message. It will also create accountability because if you are posting on social media before your time is up, everyone will know.
  • Use Your Friends: One widely used strategy to stay away is to have your friends change your passwords and refuse to give you the new one until your vacation is over. You can also have your friends hold you to your goal – if they see you trying to go on social media or posting an update, they can keep you accountable.
  • Un-Sync Your Phone: You could also stop using your phone during your social media vacation, but you may need it for emergencies, work, or family. If so, un-sync your phone from all social media accounts. This way you won’t see notifications and you won’t be able to access social media without logging in.
  • Make Plans: Finally, make plans for your social media vacation! The whole point of taking time away from social media is because it is wasting the time that you could spend making real connections. Have dinner with friend, take your kids on a day trip, or just spend time with your family.

Do Social Media Vacations Work?

While social media vacations certainly work for a set period of time, many argue that the fact that we ultimately return to social media shows that these vacations do not work. If people enjoy the freedom they feel when cut off from all social media, why do they come back? The addicting part of social media lies in the publicity we receive online. We maintain a certain sense of self worth through our validation on social media in the form of followers, shares, likes, and comments. This may be the reason why social media vacations are just that – vacations, not permanent moves.

Have you taken a social media vacation?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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