The world of social media and blogging is a funny old place. I have found a community of like-minded people and a support network that has propped me up on many occasions, as well as linking me up with people I otherwise wouldn’t have connected with, that I now have friendships with across the world. The online world of social media never switches off, as a global space and someone’s holiday weekend is someone else’s’ working time.
There seems to be an attitude or compulsion that somehow, as bloggers or “influencers” (I hate that word, I don’t think I influence anyone and I dislike what it implies) that we cannot switch off. That the job we have taken on, to be self-employed or as a part-time extra means that we have to show all aspects of our life, all the time. Social media and 24/7 society make us feel that somehow if we aren’t sharing we are loosing out and that others might be missing something we have to say or are doing.
Also, as a blogger who does make some income from blogging, and also keeps up contacts and conversations, there is a niggle in your mind that if you switch off for a few weeks to have some private family time, or have to deal with privacy issues, or simply need some time out, then you are losing the impact that you make. Not posting on Instagram every day, to keep up with the algorithm? You might loose out on a job. Not blogging every day whilst you are away with your family? You might not get the stats you need to prove to that company that wants to work with you that you will give them value for their money or products.
It’s a fickle and false world. Unlike a nine to five job where you walk out of the office and shut down your workday, blogging happens out of hours. I have had emails at 8 pm on a Friday night asking me for info about a piece of work I have done, for example, and when I have chosen not to reply, because 8pm on a Friday night, is for me, downtime, and not work time, and replied instead on Monday, within normal working hours, that hasn’t always gone down well. When my husband was ill, in April, this year, I took ten days off from blogging, and minimized my presence on social media to focus on him, and deal with the stress and worry of what was happening, and help my children to manage. I was surprised at the responses from some of those who work in the industry of blogging, to that. Most were supportive (when I mailed and said “really sorry, husband in the hospital, this piece of work will be late) and kind, but some seemed to think that no matter what, social media and blogging must carry on.
Image from Pixaby
Whilst I am a big fan of social media and blogging, I rebel and resent the implication that somehow I must be on 24/7 and I have found times out from both the blog and social media has been very good for me.
When I worked as a nurse, I took annual leave or holiday days, and at no point during those times was I expected to be “working” (unless I was studying, but that was self-directed, and not imposed by an employer) when my husband takes leave from work, his boss will not call him or contact him unless there is a MAJOR problem, and it would have to be pretty dire (ie someone has died) so why are blogging and social media any different?
We can and should take breaks. We should be allowed to switch off and not feel we must be still sharing and active, in order to keep up. A level of organization and planning needs to happen, you can schedule work to flow via apps and programs so posts and social media happen even if your phone is turned off and you are on a beach somewhere. You can even get someone else to do it for you and pay them to keep things going whilst you are on holiday. (I am doing a mix of both this time round)
But what about the self-imposed compulsion we have that other people need to see whats going on in our lives, even if we are supposed to be on holiday or on a break? I am not talking about those of us who are lucky enough to be paid to go away and share about holidays or trips (it’s damn hard work, and whilst it might look glamorous and invoke envy, there is a personal cost involved that I know many bloggers face)
Do we really need to be sharing every moment of that day out with our kids? The time at the beach, the toddler meltdown on the plane? The kids looking fed up in the car, your sunburn whilst you drink a glass of wine in the bath? Your husband looking fed up because he wants some phone-free time (ahem, I may know this one personally) and those precious and private moments out there for the world to see.
I am not anti sharing the fun you have had, and photos or snippets from your holiday or trip, but it’s not necessary. No one actually really cares, it’s all a level of voyeurism that we somehow have accepted has to happen.
We need to take a step back and just relax and enjoy our time. We don’t need to share it all, as it happens. I watched some stories of a blogger recently, on holiday with her family, a non PR personal holiday. She shared a lot, every day. At points, I saw her children and partner looking, frankly, pissed off that her phone was in their faces and she was talking and sharing.
I realized, that I do that, too. And it’s not healthy. My kids and husband don’t mind a bit of social media and some sharing, but even they get annoyed when I don’t appear to be switching off, and they either have to fight for my attention or play the game of acting for social media, likes, and clicks.
So, for the first time in a long time, I am switching off.
I have left my phone at home. I have deleted Instagram and handed my Facebook account over to the lovely lady who does the odd bit of social media work for me, to run a few blog posts, and share some work on social media for me.
I will be taking photos, of course, and I will share them, but it won’t be until I am back from our holiday. I won’t be sharing stories as they happen or posting updates.
It’s healthy and good to take a break. Social media will be there when I get back.