After nearly three weeks away in Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the Maldives), during the longest vacation I’ve ever taken, I started mentioning to people that I had been “offline” for that stretch.
That’s a total lie.
Yet I kept saying it.
While this could go under the George Costanza mantra, “It’s not a lie if you believe it,” it also speaks to a different truth: “Offline” is in the eye of the beholder.
For me, offline means not checking email more than every few days – and then not checking it at all for nearly a week during the final leg.
It means sharing a few select updates to Facebook and Instagram, but not getting sucked into the scrolling vortex.
It means avoiding Twitter at all costs. These days, it’s mostly an outrage engine. It’s hard to spend time there without getting royally pissed off about something (though there are some very important things worth getting royally pissed off about). Lowering cortisol levels is the whole point of going on vacation.
It means staying off LinkedIn, even if I missed most staying current on others’ job updates. I also don’t have the luxury of putting an autoresponder on LinkedIn, so some people probably thought I just ignored them. It all could wait.
It means sharing more on Snapchat than anywhere else. Why Snapchat? Because I was spending far more time than usual underwater, and I love my waterproof Spectacles sunglasses to record brief videos. The quality is amazing, and I usually save those to my phone, but I put a few of them into the Snap ether for good measure. I have no clue if anyone saw them.
It means using some apps like Google Maps quite a bit (I’m even a level 7 local guide there for reviews). I now post reviews there far more than TripAdvisor or anywhere else.
It means checking in on Swarm religiously. I’m now the mayor of a ton of weird places – it’s the one ‘game’ I played a lot on my phone while away. And it is a very useful record of where I’ve been. If I want to tell you where the hottest Chinese food place in Penang is, I probably won’t remember the name a month from now, but Swarm will remember.
It means barely playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, my latest mobile game addiction. Vacation is a time to be free, not imprisoned by arbitrary game constructs.
It means using the Kindle extensively – quite a bit on the Kindle itself to minimize distraction, but also on my phone.
It means using Microsoft Word to keep up the journal I write for my kid, which also doubles as a travel journal while we’re away. I did no work-related writing, but I was active nearly every day with her journal. Until the Maldives. I was not doing much of anything there.
It means periodically opening Dropbox and Google Photos to back up everything, and using the app Gemini to remove extraneous photos.
It means that I lied. I wasn’t offline.
But when I was online, it was on my terms, for my benefit. I wasn’t being manipulated or gamed or hooked. I had control, if only for a few weeks.
It felt good.
But it also feels good to be back.
What does “offline” mean to you now?
I’d love to hear that, and as always, I’d love to hear what you’re making of yourself.
PS: There are a bunch of new jobs listed below. If you’re on the market or know some people who are looking, be sure to check them out.
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
MEET THE LEANER LEAN CANVAS
Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas one-sheet is a framework I’ve used to hone and pitch ideas such as internal corporate projects. He has a streamlined version of it here, focusing on just four boxes instead of the previous one-page version, to get right to the heart of the problem you’re trying to solve and how that addresses prospects’ needs.
MENTAL HEALTH FOR THE MODERN WORKFORCE
Aaron Harvey of Ready Set Rocket just launched Beautiful Minds, a guide to educating employers about people’s mental health needs. Harvey writes, “Today, RSR and the Made of Millions Foundation are launching Beautiful Brains: A Mental Health Manual for the Modern Workforce in hopes of inspiring other businesses to take workplace mental health seriously. It’s a free resource that combines leading perspectives from researchers, mental health institutions and consulting groups, with actionable recommendations for enhancing workplace policy and cultural programs.”
Winner-take-all models have their downsides, according to Tim O’Reilly. I’ve been a fan of the approach Douglas Rushkoff discusses in his book “Throwing Rocks at the Twitter Bus,” which describes how impossible the standards are for achieving success now. O’Reilly goes deep into the current economics, and why VCs are doing some harm in seeking out monopolizers.
FACEBOOK CHECKS ITSELF AND WRECKS ITSELF.
In a damning and frightening story, Brooke Binkowski recounts what it was like coming from Snopes to work on fact-checking news stories at Facebook. It isn’t pretty, or reassuring.
TURN ANY IMAGE INTO AN EMOJI MOSAIC
That is all.
Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.
ANA BRAND MASTERS
February 27-March 1
March something or other
I’m probably going yet again – sort of like CES, I’m getting sucked in, but slightly less last minute. Will you be there? Let’s meet.
Philadelphia, PA – Or NYC
Need your Gritty fix? You better. Because Grittycon is coming. I mentioned #Grittycon on Twitter in connection with the aforementioned Adweek article. Then Caroline McCarthy said she would keynote. And now she’s co-chairing it, and keynoting. Don Steele chimed in with his own contribution; he’s co-chairing too. Dates coming soon. This is happening. Sign up for more info. [Update: We might move the main Grittycon to the fall, but then do a teaser event in NY this spring. We should have the details ironed out very soon after I’m back.] https://grittycon.com/
Submissions: globally through February 20
Event: April 5, Venice, Italy
The Crowdsourcing Week BOLD Awards, showcasing innovative businesses and individuals, will be a rewarding event for amazing projects, individuals and companies. After submitting your project, our team will review it within 1 week. If your project is accepted, it will appear online and votes will start on Jan 10th. Submissions are open and will be closed on February 20, 2019. Submitting a project will be completely free until January 1st, 2019.