Going On Vacation? How About A Digital Detox?

Michael Brenner on Jul 9, 2013 in Social Media

digital detoxTwo weeks ago I took some time off from work. I was not on vacation. In fact, it was one of the hardest weeks of work of my whole life.

We settled on a new house and it needs some pretty major renovations before my family can move in. And we are in temporary housing until the work is complete. Me, my wife and 4 lovely but very active and energetic kids are living in a 1000-square foot apartment. (Help!) So, I am very motivated.

I worked from morning until night: painting, scraping, caulking, taping, tiling and more. I was so engrossed in all this, that I took almost the whole week off from checking in. I scanned my email for messages from the boss, the boss’ boss, or any other emergencies.

pink ladyBut mostly I left my email alone. I didn’t post much on Facebook except this one picture of a pink room I painted for my daughter (at midnight!) Twitter was pretty much on auto-pilot too as I was only sending out tweets of old posts.

Something surprising happened: NOTHING.

The world didn’t stop. The 1,560 emails mostly resolved themselves. None of my normal Twitter pals became upset with my lack of interactivity. Only my brother commented that he missed my regular Facebook posts on some of the funny stuff my kids do.

I have written some similar articles here on my blog before. Almost 3 years ago I wrote about how life is too short to be complacent. I wrote about the social media hangover effect I had from live-tweeting one of our events. I compared a sleazy car salesmen to marketing when I was buying a new car 2 years ago. I welcomed my (now 20-month-old) newborn son into a social world. And I talked about how “Hurricane Sandy” caused me to reflect on how to get some perspective and balance in our lives.

None of these articles did particularly well from a traffic or social engagement perspective. But hopefully they help to round out what is normally a very practical blog site on B2B Marketing. And maybe they get you to think about your doing your own online / social media / digital vacation.

I hope you are enjoying your summer. And if you plan to take an online vacation, here is a 9-point digital detox from Barantunde Thurston on Fast Company.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 9 comments
  • Eric Wittlake

    Glad to see that electrical plug isn’t your own photo. Congrats on the new home, hope you are able to move in soon!

    I almost completely disconnect from social media every weekend. No autopilot posts and I rarely check Twitter, Facebook or work email. I may need a longer detox soon, but consistently disconnecting for most of the weekend has definitely helped me keep my sanity.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Eric, electrical is one thing I wont touch!

      I semi-disconnect over the weekends. I actually kind of shift from Twitter to Facebook a little and engage a little differently but with a lot of the same folks. Now that I think of it, we should be Facebook friends no? Look for a friend request but no pressure if you keep work and “life” separate.

  • Rhiannon Paine

    You chose (or rather had chosen for you) a hard-working way to take a social media break, but I agree that digital detoxes are a good idea. I always come back from a break refreshed and ready to re-engage, with some good ideas for new blog posts. When we disconnect from one world, we find there are other worlds waiting, in nature, in friends and family, and within ourselves. Also: good job on the pink bedroom!

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Rhiannon. I definitely came back refreshed but then out again last week and now I am totally overwhelmed with catching up. :-0

  • Computer Repair

    I have to say the same, weekends I unplug for the most part. If there is truly an immediate need from work, they will get a hold of me. And not through Twitter

  • Miguel Fernandez

    It’s been a long time since I actually pulled off a successful digital detox.

    I somehow always manage to pick up the phone and check all my social media accounts. Ugh! lol I could certainly step away every now and then. I grew up during the time when we played outside and got dirty and enjoyed nature. I want the same for my kids.

    Must lead by example!

    Great artice by the way and the pink room looks sweet!

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks so much Miguel. I was out last week too but no detox for me. It was technically vacation but I was on emails and calls at least once a day each day. It’s tough!

  • John Balla

    Thanks for sharing your digital detox experience, Michael! I may have to try a full detox, although I just did a semi-detox on our 3-week vacation in Europe. By that I mean, the only two activities I regularly engaged in “digitally” were backing up our photos to dropbox each night, and then posting a single picture each day on FB with a short description of what we were doing. I ended up with tons of comments and likes on the vacation posts, and lots of in-person engagement this week on re-entry. I tried a few tweets, but it just didn’t seem right and I can’t explain it. BTW – nice pink room for your daughter. It’s amazing what our little girls can get us to do, huh?

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks John. I think your vacation qualifies as a digital detox. I did the same and don’t recommend complete disconnection. And also thanks for the nice words on my paint job. Yeah, they have us wrapped around their fingers but I am ok with that!