I decided to do something radical on my last family vacation. I did not post anything on social media. That is not to say we did not take a bunch of pictures and of course I bought a selfie-stick, but instead of sharing our vacation with the world, we just shared our photos with each other. I wanted to spend time building memories with my kids and not wondering who was going to like my photos, retweet them, or repost on Instagram.
Instead of staring at our phones, we spent our time touring museums, seeing Broadway shows, and learning out how to navigate the New York subway system. It is times like this when dads can become heroes. It takes a lot of confidence and preparation to lead a couple of suburban kids through the five boroughs of a fast paced city like New York. But, I never let them see me sweat. By the end of our trip, my daughter was riding the subway like a local and even guided us to meet a friend who just happened to be in New York at the same time.
During this family vacation from social media, I learned four valuable lessons:
You get better pictures
My wife and daughter let me take way more pictures of them. I also got more candid photos since they knew the pictures would not wind up online.
You are more engaged
Instead of updating our Facebook statuses, we had great conversations with each other, with street vendors, and store owners. It was great to fully connect with new people and experience the city without distractions.
You are safer
New York is a busy place and it is easy to get hit by a car or another person if you are posting instead of paying attention.
You can always post later
Not posting the photos was my own little mini protest of this social media obsessed world we live in, but you can always post photos later. A better idea is to print a mini-photo album for your kids as a keepsake. There is still nothing like actually thumbing through old photos.
Bottom line, my no post decision was a way to make sure that I really focused on my family and our time together. My daughter has the lasting memories of walking through Times Square at midnight. My son and I bonded over the various street-meats on a stick (at least I think it was meat). Although I enjoy sharing things with my Facebook friends, the memories I created with my family will last a lifetime.
Join the conversation: Have you ever taken a vacation from social media? If so, how was your experience?