The best “social media holiday” tip: take a break without guilt.

Posted By on January 7, 2013

Social media holiday guilt needs to be banned. Unplug and be glad you connected in the real world. Copyright 2012 Cynthia Hartwig

Social media holiday guilt needs to be banned. Unplug and be glad you connected in the real world. Copyright 2012 Cynthia Hartwig

This Labor Day, go hike in the mountains, sun at the beach, read a novel, or do whatever makes you relax. Worrying about your blog’s traffic is like worrying about whether the tide is in or out. It will ebb this weekend. Why not let it without you? Enjoy.

Cynthia Hartwig

There’s a lot to feel guilty about once the holidays are over. The calories in the butter cookies. The bad juju between you and your sister. The spandex gift that looked great in the Victoria’s Secret catalog but like The Night of the Living Dead on your pal.

Must we also heap on the guilt pile for taking a break from social media?

Nada, nyet, negative, and no! to social media holiday guilt

I took an online break from December 23, 2012, to January 3, 2013 and spent time with my family in Oregon, then went up to Whistler, BC, to ski. Emily went off to her cabin in the Methow Valley in Washington for plum slivovitz and the Methow Valley’s cross country ski trails. For a glorious two week period neither of us were on Twitter. No Facebook. No blog posts or checking our Two Pens web stats.

Naturally, we came back online feeling some trepidation. Would my Twitter following have fallen way off? Was there a piece of coal on our Facebook timelines? What about the site traffic Emily and I have worked all 2012 to build?

Hmmm. Two Pens site visitor stats took a slight dip but visitor engagement time went up by 10%. Our Twitter followers actually went up. Training bookings and class sign-ups are tracking to meet January goals.

Really?

It’s healthy to take a break.

Clearly, people, we all need to unplug. It’s so easy to keep going like the Energizer Bunny until we don’t know why we’re beating that stupid little drum. Here’s a thought-provoking presentation called Keep Going Until We Stop by Scott Stratten, President of Unmarketing.

We believe, like Scott Stratten does, in the primacy of family and personal connection. Nothing is more important; nothing gives bigger or more lasting returns. At a time when most families are both pressed for time and flung around the globe, it makes sense to devote quality time between Christmas and New Year’s to family meals, conversations and whatever you do to bond, whether it’s board games or snow shoeing.

Follow the holiday herd, we say, and relax away from the keyboard.

While you were off enjoying your nog, most everybody else was too.

Traffic always drops off on holidays. Whether it’s a big religious holiday like Easter or Christmas, or just a federal holiday like Labor Day or Memorial Day, traffic takes a dive on holidays.

David the Expert tech blog
April 2012

While it is true that online retail sales shot over the $40 billion mark in 2012, overall online traffic between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day also dropped between 20% and 35% (depending on whose stats you believe). We can’t share Microsoft Office blog numbers, which are proprietary, but Emily’s experience as the Office blogs managing editor corroborates these figures. Obviously, if you’re an online retailer selling product, you wouldn’t want to take off the month of December, but once the gifts are bought, you can certainly take a breather until the after-Christmas season.

Heck, a break might even be profitable.

The stat to pay attention to is this: after the holiday lull, online interest and activity tends to swell. The days immediately following low traffic days are typically 20-35% higher. It’s as if the onine rest break breeds greater—not lesser—interest.

Here’s to a Happy (and guilt-free) 2013!

PS If you have a different after-holiday experience to relate, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. Weigh in and if it’s really bad, we’ll send you a Word Czar hat to commiserate :-)