Monday, 17 August 2009

Did you holiday on holiday?

So - first day back for me after two glorious weeks on holiday. You may remember that in July I blogged (here and here) about things to do before going on holiday to ensure that you were able to switch off properly. Did I follow my own advice?

Well - yes and no. I did talk with clients to say that I would be away and did give them a schedule of when I would be checking my phone and email messages. Being the risk-averse person that I am, I thoroughly checked home and office before I left to ensure that everything was secure and that everything possible was switched off (including copiers, printers, hubs and routers). I also had every intention of keeping to my schedule of checking emails etc first thing and last thing each day - but didn't keep to it. My first thing got later and later (well this was supposed to be a holiday) and last thing got later and later too. In fact, I think a measurement of a successful holiday is that I completely forgot my schedule on a couple of days - on two occasions I didn't check emails for a couple of days - and nothing bad happened! I discovered that I wasn't indispensable and that the world did not end if I remained "unplugged" for a while. In fact it was even better than that - quite often I was using my laptop to listen to the radio (ah the joys of BBC's iPlayer - and what a pity that only radio is available outside the uk) and had managed to avoid the demands of my inbox.

I was much less disciplined with my Twitter account. I don't think I wrote anything, but I found myself watching the feed. I use TweetDeck which allows me to sort entries between work and not-work, but became surprised at the way that some people were using their accounts. I was obviously confused about a couple of bloggers since I imagined that they would be using their Twitter feed for work related items. These are people who have targeted and interesting blogs and I had looked forward to their messages on Twitter. There were some good posts - but also a mass of other stuff to do with their social lives. In the end it was easier to stop following them, just to reduce the number of posts I was wading through (particularly when I'm supposed to be on holiday...). This was a real pity as a good deal of what they had to say was interesting - and I will continue to read and enjoy their blogs.

Please don't think that I am critical - everyone is free to use Twitter in any way they like. I am surprised, however, that professional people using their professional names and referencing their work web sites etc should run their social lives so publicly. I read James' posts about the use of Twitter by law firms with interest. I would seem to have found a situation where the use of this new medium has both raised the profile of some people and some firms - and damaged it to some small degree.

Perhaps the answer is to have two accounts - one for work related Tweets and one for more personal stuff?

Anyway - the holiday is over now and so I return to work refreshed and re-focussed. If you have been away, I hope it was equally wonderful and if you have yet to go - I trust you enjoy it.

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