During the first two weeks of May I went abroad on vacation, but did much more then change locations. While I was away I turned off my phone shunned myself from all social networks – including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and took a break from the fast-paced world of social media.
While I did use the Internet for the basic purposes of looking up directions, train schedules, etc., I thought of these two weeks as a cleansing period, where I could be disconnected from the (social) world. At first it was strange not to be constantly updated by friends and online connections, but after a few days my new reality began to feel normal. However, what I noticed most upon returning home, was the different feelings I’ve had towards Facebook and Twitter.
As I left for the airport I forgot about Twitter almost immediately and didn’t think about logging in until I received an email alerting me of a DM after returning home. Even then, it took three days for me to check Twitter. I’ve also found it awkward to begin using Twitter again after a 2 week hiatus, as tweeting (and mostly, reading all those tweets) feels more like a project then a welcome activity.
On the other hand, I went through Facebook detox the first few hours of my trip, wanting to log-in while waiting for my plane at the airport. While that feeling passed once I was in the air, upon returning home one of the first things I did online was check Facebook, and I spent some time on the site checking to see what friends had been up to while I was away.
Reflecting on my vacation and social media hiatus, I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook is a much more natural fit to human behavior (at least for me). The way it organizes information and enables people to observe and interact is easy and interesting. I felt like I could easily see what I had missed while I had been away. On the other hand, Twitter didn’t pull me in, at all. It organizes information for real-time monitoring and engagement, and in no way was I functioning in real-time. It took me a few days to catch up to that speed (I’m still not there), and at points it feels like I need to re-learn the fast-paced Twitter environment.
I’m curious to hear from others that have taken a social media vacation, and how you’ve adjusted upon returning home. Please share your stories and experiences in the comment section below.