Summer holidays: Sunglasses, sun cream and … social media?

holiday mobile

Taking a break from everyday life and going on holiday is something many of us do. However, more and more of us are finding it hard to also turn off from social media. Giving up Facebook or Twitter for two weeks every year is a personal decision, but one which many find could either disrupt or improve their summer vacation.

A recent survey of American adults (as published on Mashable) revealed that of those willing to give something up during their vacation in exchange for a 25% discount on a hotel stay, only 26% would give up access to their smartphone or tablet. Other surveys also revealed that four out of 10 people log on to Facebook and Twitter at least once a day while travelling abroad.

Whilst these figures imply a dependence on social media, how a person spends their holiday is always a personal choice. It is about what kind of break you want to take when you have a holiday. Mashable considers that a holiday could mean different things to different people, for instance reflection vs. social connection. Everybody’s goals differ, though the difficulty in stepping away from social networks implied in the above study do make us wonder at the reasons behind this. For instance, the Daily Telegraph calls these ‘Digital detox holidays…the latest trend for holidaymakers who need to curtail their technology dependency’.

However, there could be a reason why we choose not to unplug. “Fear of missing out,” (FOMO) is described by the University of Essex as “a concern people have that others may be having more fun and rewarding experiences than them and is characterized as the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing,” making us reluctant to stop the chatter.

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to think about why you’re using social media on your vacation. Personal assurances, bragging rights or simply to keep up to date are all reasons but equally, they do not necessarily need to be a normal part of your holiday. Check in on Foursquare if you have to, catch up on the news from home and share some of your more glamorous experiences on Instagram or Facebook, but overall nobody should let social media take over their vacation time. As with most things it’s all about balance. Nevertheless, a person can only truly ‘get away from it all’ if they retreat digitally as well as physically.


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