Social media and the vacation #FAIL

I’ve been a social media netizen for three years.

I’ve figured out Twitter.

I’m figuring out blogging.

I know enough about integrating all this stuff to be a little dangerous.

But the one thing I haven’t figured out is vacations.

I love to travel and each year I plan one big blow-out vacation. This week, my wife and I will heading to Scandinavia and Russia for two weeks. On top of this grand adventure, I get to meet two of my best Twitter buddies, Jon Buscall and Kimmo Linkama (stay tuned!).

And while I’m filled with anticipation for this much-needed break, I’m also filled with anxiety because ever since the dawn of the social web and starting my own business I have not done vacations well. I’m probably not the only member of this club?

One thing I have learned about myself — I’m a hard worker but can only keep up the pace with regular vacations.  When I don’t get a break, I’m less effective and begin to get irritable.

And while I have done a pretty good job TAKING vacations, I have not done a great job ENJOYING vacations.

Leading up to last year’s trip I had to complete some intense customer projects, which seemed to multiply as departure day approached. I had to get my blogging house in order … and of course I had to start planning for the trip. So by the time I left, I was exhausted.

During the trip I allowed myself to get sucked back into the digital tsunami.  I could not ignore customer emails that started with “I know you’re in Europe but … ” And by the end of the trip I was already worrying about the wall of work and emails I would have to deal with when I got back.

So this year, I’m learning from my mistakes.  I did a better job setting expectations with customers.  I’m simply going to be unavailable for two weeks.

I’m turning my email stream over to my virtual assistant so it will be more managable when I get home.

On most of my trip, I won’t even have a wireless signal.

I’ll probably try to do a little tweeting when I’m gone because I enjoy that, but I’m changing my bio to read “I’m not ignoring you, I’m on vacation.”

And I’m turning the blog over to you!  Tomorrow starts the Second Annual Community Week on {grow}.  I’ve asked some long-time, loyal readers to take over the blogging responsibilties for a few days. After all, if we’re a community, I don’t need to do the heavy lifting ALL the time right?  : )

We have a great line-up of exciting topics lined up that will present some interesting and diverse views. Please support these folks with your tweets and comments — maybe next year you’ll be a Community Week blogger!

Any way, I’m off to relax and I’m sure will be filled with lots of great ideas and stories to share with you when I return!  Au revoir!

Is it time to surrender to Facebook?

Is it time to surrender to Facebook?

One of the most frequent questions that comes up in my classes is “With Facebook, do we still need a website?”

Certainly this is a valid issue. After all, in its quest for world domination, Facebook has effectively created an alternate universe, their own in-house Internet.

They have continued to add useful and effective technology that can replicate almost anything a website can do, including …

  • eCommerce
  • Powerful demographic information and analytics
  • Product sampling and local coupons
  • Mobile integration, text and email
  • Games, surveys and other interactive options

And then of course there is the fact that the world is there … or seemingly will be there. As marketers, we need to be where our customers are and that means Facebook.

In addition to this obvious fact, the data suggests that people are spending far more time on Facebook and less time on websites.

Up until now, my argument in favor of maintaining a website has been:

  • Why would you give up the only thing you OWN on the web?
  • I think it is a matter of when, not if, Facebook will have a privacy crisis that jeopardizes its viability. Why would you expose your company to that risk?
  • Highly secure transactions should be executed behind your own firewall. Social platforms should point back to your website where the business takes place.
  • Do you really want to trust your business to those guys in the Social Network movie?

I also remember a friend telling me last year about building a $50,000 eCommerce application for a customer that became obsolete the day before it was supposed to go live because Facebook changed the underlying technical requirements.

Another common argument I’ve heard is that companies need to hedge their bets. Surely there is a “next Facebook” coming down the line?  As I expressed in a post called Why Facebook is more important than your house, I don’t think that is something to be concerned about any time soon.

But over time, my arguments seem to be sounding more emotional than practical.  Maybe we should just accept the alternate universe and view websites as a back-up plan.

Why spend money building, promoting and optimizing a website nobody wants to visit? Is it time to surrender to Facebook?  What do you think?