The pace of social media is relentless. It tempts you hourly to enter the Twitter Twilight Zone. The Facebook Folies Bergere beckons. Pinterest pulls you into its vortex while everywhere by the grace of Google go all of us.
And blogging? Don’t get me started. My microblogging and blog posting owned me.
That’s why I decided to take a blog “holiday” this past November and December.
Anyone who works in content marketing, social PR and consulting knows the relentless nature of our profession. We’re always living on the edge. Meeting deadlines with fresh, inspiring material. Engaging in one or many social media channels. And social media makes our professional lives just that much more challenging.
Sometimes, you need to simply unplug.
Social Epiphany: A True Story
So how did I know social media owned me?
It wasn’t just the daily tweeting, Facebook updates, constant curation, hundreds of daily emails and weekly blog posts.
Believe me, I use many of the useful social media tools, know how to research effectively, write and publish efficiently. Including using voice-activated software to dictate and write on the fly though that does lead to some funny errors in posts and tweets on occasion.
The bell rang when I left the following voicemail with a colleague:
“Hey Darrell period. Thanks for your voicemail period. Sorry I missed you exclamation mark! You mentioned a problem with the Excel spreadsheet question mark? Call me when you get a minute question mark?“
I kid you not.
Out of habit, I had dictated my voice-activated voicemail reply complete with punctuation mark words. And before I could correct it, it was there on his answering machine forever, to my eternal embarrassment.
That’s when I knew it was time for a blogging intervention.
My Blogging Holiday
I didn’t actually abandon all of my social media. I still checked my e-mail. Of course I had writing assignments, deadlines and social media strategies to do for clients.
I decided to take a rest from blogging. Unannounced. Partly an experiment but mostly to simply recharge the blogging batteries.
I imagined a virtual beach complete with a craft beer, hammock, the sound of ocean waves lapping against the shore, palm trees swaying.
Sending virtual postcards to a few favorite blog subscribers. “Wish you were here with a beer!” “Unplugged and living the life!” “Gone unblogging!”
What’s on the Blogging Editorial Calendar?
The blogging break did give me a great chance to refresh, renew and revitalize the direction of my blog.
I took the chance to read several terrific books when I would otherwise have been researching, scouring the Internet for blog ideas and material, writing, editing and publishing regular posts.
The irony is my list of subscribers still grew. Thanks in part to a four-year archive of blog posts.
My Alexa traffic ranking remained stable. Still roughly in the top 240,000 blogs in the world. Pageviews decreased about 15% but that’s a similar drop every year, mostly due to Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
I did get e-mails from subscribers and friends asking if I was not well or telling me they missed my posts or weird sense of humor.
All in all, no harm done to my Google rankings, SEO or subscriber list. But only because of an archive and a legacy of past hard work to set the SEO table.
I did take the opportunity to ask several dozen subscribers and colleagues what content they did want to see when I started blogging again in the New Year.
Their answers? Keep the curation and tips posts coming. Share more tools that make us better at social PR. And don’t let that sense of humor get in the way too often (Thanks Mom!).
The biggest payback? My ideas file is overflowing. I’m ready to roll and start the New Year with a spark.
Next year though, I won’t just take a “virtual” blogging holiday.
Maybe Spain, the Canary Islands or somewhere tropical? Totally unplugged. For just a couple of weeks of “real” relaxation. A virtual holiday is refreshing but you can’t replace the real thing.
How about you? Have you ever unplugged from social and survived? Has a blogging break brought you back from the brink of blank pages? Love to hear your comments below.
Here’s wishing all of you an inspired year ahead in your blogging and social media exclamation mark!
If you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media and for Pete’s sake subscribe so I can send you a virtual postcard from my next blogging holiday!
Author: Jeff Domansky