Why Checking Social Media on Vacation Is Just as Bad as Working
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Taking a vacation? If you really want to get some rest and relaxation, you'd better be taking a break from social media, too. Any time spent connecting with a smartphone, tablet or computer -- even if you're just looking at Facebook photos from a friend's birthday -- hurts your ability to recharge mentally and physically from the demands of your job. Our experts weigh in on what it really means to get away from it all.
Vacation time means being unplugged from everything, says Bob Diener, co-founder and president of Getaroom.com.
"If you want a real vacation you need to disconnect completely," Diener says. "This means all mediums: social media, text messages, email and phone. The only way you can really rejuvenate is by avoiding everyday distractions."
When you check your social media accounts, you're on a "slippery slope" to working, he says. To open up the Facebook and Twitter apps on your phone or tablet, your finger will likely hover right over your work email. Will you be too tempted? Chances are, when you see a few unread messages, you're going to get pulled in."You're going to open it up, and you're going to check it," says Peter Tourian, CEO of Synergy Home Care, a personal care service provider for senior citizens. "When I got into this business 16 years ago, we didn't have cellphones or Facebook or email, and you could leave your work at work. Nowadays it follows you out the door and follows you home -- you just can't let it follow you on vacation." Making the most of your vacation time by unplugging your devices and staying away from social media is "mission critical" to your success in and out of the office, says Thomas Claxton, CareerTagged advisory board member. "Think of your social media accounts as the electronic equivalent of a gateway drug. Checking your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn may seem very benign, but it will ultimately lead to harder electronic device use," he says. Your vacation is your time to focus on how you want to improve your relationships, personal finances and health, Claxton says. This is your moment to sit back, relax and have a good time -- do you really want all the "electronic static" of daily life going on vacation with you? Even if you can resist the pull of work email and view social media as purely a medium for fun, don't discount the possibility of a work connection reaching out to you on social media. They might contact you with a question, a friend request or suggest a meeting, Diener says, and that's not something you need to worry about on vacation. "Facebook is not only about seeing pictures of someone's wedding or new baby. People communicate through Facebook. I get tons of business-related messages on Skype, LinkedIn, Facebook and other media." Once you start looking through those, you're back in work mode before you even know what's happening, he says.
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