A vacation – at least as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary – is “a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.”
That means that, during a vacation, one takes a break from what is considered to be work the other 48-50 weeks a year.
A few years ago, people blogged – sometimes incessantly – about their vacations, typically after the fact. Now, people take their fans and followers along on the journey, a point somewhat driven home by a recent Wall Street Journal piece that focused on how those actively engaged in social media could not – in many cases – take a break.
As the article put it, “the chatter keeps flowing.”
There are two reasons for this, at least as far as the author of the piece was concerned:
- Fans and followers won’t accept substitute tweeters and posters
- So-called “power tweeters” risk losing traction with their readers
The problem is that, just as with information in general, the number of Facebook posts and tweets is growing by leaps and bounds. One or two posts may simply be the equivalent of a needle in a haystack and will simply go unnoticed.
Douglas Quint, a co-founder of Big Gay Ice Cream, has over 37,500 followers, many of whom want to know where his ice cream truck is on a given day. “We need to appear active,” Mr. Quint says. “We want to appear in people’s Twitter feeds once or twice a day.”
Soon, that may not be enough. As quantity increases, social media posters fight to be noticed. That may mean that, where once just a few posts per day sufficed, following that practice now might not even get one noticed.
Andrew Zimmern, who hosts a Travel Channel program called Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, tweets as often as 50 times a day to his 410,800 followers. But these numbers should give one pause: Using these figures as an example, Zimmern generates what amounts to 20.5 million discrete messages in a single day.
Who has time to follow someone who can post 50 messages a day? For that matter, who has time to post 50 messages a day? This article reminded me of one thing – why I’ve stayed away from Twitter. The temptation is great. It would be easy to get sucked in. But once that happens, I suspect it’s the opposite of a Roach Motel: messages go out but nothing meaningful comes in.
Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex and author of Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.