The oh-so-trendy digital detox was forced on us last week.

Yes, involuntarily.

Our cell phones had no bars and signals.  Cyber-connections were either the speed of the 1980s or non-existent (and pricey, when they were available).  And the normal U.S.A. media, from TVs to radios, were all dominated by news and features we had no interest in.

Sure, we were warned that our vacation spot had those limitations.  But knowing doesn’t always equate to being prepared for the tsunami emotions of “OMG, I can’t log in or find out what’s going on!”

Instead, we engaged in conversations.  Lots of them.  And found that our fellow travelers and had some very intriguing lives and philosophies.  As did the country natives.  We also discovered the pleasure of reading with all senses, listening with full intent, and looking, really observing the activities and people around us.

All of those benefits were further underscored when we skimmed over the recent Real Simple-Huffington Post survey of 3,500 wired women.  No surprise:  Seventy-six percent checked smartphones hourly.  Three in four texted while driving.  Checking Facebook was de rigueur multiple times every 60 minutes.  Participants admitted to experiencing some ups and downs to this always-on world, from convenience and networking to distractions and impersonal-ness. 

So what’s a communicator, marketer, designer, and others to do?  Two obvious moves which many in corporate America have embraced:  Either designate one tech-free day a week (or more, if the culture will allow it) and/or sign off on the weekends. 

Less apparent are those strategies that change behaviors, such as training leaders and workers in the art of meaningful conversations.   Or establishing common sense guidelines, with the full understanding of social media’s impact and seductiveness.

Otherwise, we could each pay up to $1,500 for a three-day adult rehab camp.  Lanyards, anyone?


Call us the “reluctants.”

A few months ago, we were gently persuaded by colleagues to establish a Twitter handle.  [Facebook and Instagram, to us, are very personal spaces; we don’t use either for business.]

We did.  And promptly forgot about it.

Which is why, when more and more social media experts are shouting that, in this job-hungry market, seekers need to actively manage their personal brand via Web sites and postings and group contributions to drive personal visibility, we politely say “humbug.”

First, Google knows you … intimately.  As do the other search engines.  Chances are, whatever you say about yourself in an e-space will have already shown up.

Second, we truly get the need to social-media-ize.  For business, that is.  LinkedIn pages and postings, Twitter notes about events and ideas, Instagram visuals:  All good, if they’re done with care and without braggadocio.  Nothing annoys us more than egregious publicity for publicity’s sake.  [Many celebrities practice it; why should we?]

Third, it’s about value.  Got a clarifying comment for a discussion or a footnote about certain references?  Add it.  Want to talk about your expertise in a non-promotional fashion?  Those seven to ten critical steps or three to five “gotta dos” about a hot topic make for a great blog or mini-thought paper.

Finally, Mom always told us to speak only when we had something to say.  That’s awfully good advice today.