Vacation Proofing Blogs and Social Networks

There comes a time in every blogger and social networker’s life where they must step away from their keyboards and mice for an extended period of time. A time when real life will happily consume every moment of many days in a row. And let’s face it, for some of us addicted to the internet, we need this kind of a break to see life beyond the 1680×1050 screen.

For me, this time will begin this coming Friday, the day before my wedding, and for the week long honeymoon to follow. I really cannot begin to describe how excited I am about this time in my life. So along with all the wedding planning, I have been thinking about ways to prepare this site and my social networks for the extended time away. Here are the tasks I have planned to do for kikolani.com and my social networks.

Vacation Proofing the Blog


Auto-Scheduled Posts – beginning with this week’s Fetching Friday, I have auto-scheduled posts to appear throughout my time away.

Comment Approvals – comments will be automagically approved for anyone who has commented on this site before. I wish I could auto-approve everyone, but unfortunately, even with my math-spam protector plugin, spammers still do slip in a comment. So while all of my new commentators will have to await for approval when I return (that will be my first task when I return to e-mail land), all of my regular commentators can keep up the conversation. And for my new commentators, there will be a special message letting them know when I will be returning to approve their comments, that way they don’t think they are in “awaiting moderation” purgatory for an undefined period of time.

Guest Posts – this one I didn’t quite get around to, but if you are strapped for time and unable to auto-schedule posts of your own, it is a good idea to get some guest posts lined up for your site during your time away.

Vacation Proofing Twitter


These tips are with the use of TweetLater.

Auto-Direct Messages – I know this approach doesn’t sit well with everyone. But I think that Auto-DM’s are the perfect voicemail of the Twitter system. Without selling your new followers something, simply thank them for following, let them know you’ll be out of town for a bit, and point them to the direction of a place they can learn more about you in the meantime. My favorite spot on this blog recently has been the 7 Things for New Readers post.

Auto-Following – For those of you who like to follow back, TweetLater offers an option to follow your new followers. I personally love following my new followers, because I feel that social networking is a two way street. I’m not sure I would want to be friends with someone who never chose to speak to me.

And for those concerned that your following vs. follower ratio may be skewered by the Twitter users who just mass follow and then un-follow in hopes of getting their following numbers up, you can also use the option to un-follow those who un-follow you. I like to prune my list manually, because even when some people have un-followed me, they provide useful information in their tweets that I still like to keep up with. Everyone has their un-following reasons, but so long as I still find them interesting, they will stay on my following list.

Scheduled Tweets – Just to keep my account alive, I plan on setting up some tweets during my time away. Tweets about other interesting sites to check out, the auto-scheduled posts, etc.

Vacation Proofing Other Social Networks


Not all social networks have services that can manage your account while you are away. For the networks with status updates, like Facebook, I will have a simple “I’m on my honeymoon” message awaiting them.

But what about the other networks? On StumbleUpon, for example, I get a lot of pages sent to me per day. My plan for this one is to update my profile page to say I’m on my honeymoon, and to send a message to all my Stumble friends to please only send one page per day. Because while I love all of the things you send me, I know that, without a limit, there will come a point next week where someone will encounter the “user’s mailbox is full” message.

Vacation Proofing Checklist


For me, this entry is my vacation-proofing checklist. It’s a good idea to have a last minute checklist for everything prior to a vacation – what you are going to pack, do you have all of your confirmations/tickets, emergency numbers for baby and pet-sitters, etc. And for your blog and social network vacation proofing, a checklist of the things you need to do before leaving to make sure things run as smooth as possible while you are away.

Your Vacation Proofing Steps


Do you vacation proof your blog? Have some advice on vacation proofing other social networking sites? If so, please add your tips to the comments below. I don’t want to miss out on anything important.

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Comments

  1. says

    Good advice, just don’t forget to account for the getting-back-from-vacation time where it’s really hard to get caught up.

    I have to admit that I’ve pretty much given up on prepping my online world for away time. It’s hard enough planning a trip, and packing. It hasn’t been a problem with my blog, but I don’t blog daily anyway.

    Wishing you a beautiful & joyous wedding and honeymoon, and looking forward to your return.

    Sandra Foyts last blog post..Good Morning, Teenager, Happy Birthday!

  2. says

    Congratulations and have a wonderful wedding!

    These are great tips–I wasn’t aware of the auto-follow option, in particular, or of automatically approving comments for previous commenters (though there have been a few times when I’ve given somebody the benefit of the doubt for a spammy-looking comment the first time, only to find myself then getting comments like that on every post…)

  3. says

    Wow- what a great resource!! These are all wonderful ideas to keep it moving while on vacation. I haven’t had a real vacation in many years to tell you the truth but i hope to soon ;-) . This is also something we can use when we have to do surgery or some other family necessity that will come up. Definitely a very useful post.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Eren

  4. says

    CONGRATULATIONS and BEST WISHES for your BIG DAY

    Great article. Scheduling postings is a great way to go – provided of course you have the material to write enough articles and also the time to do it.

    I have my blog comments also set to auto-approve provided the commenter has had approved comments before. It’s easy enough to check them later, and a lot of new visitors comments still get spammed, but better be safe than sorry I find.

    Tonys last blog post..Bishops Waltham

  5. says

    Hi Kristy,
    A big congrats to you and a big big hug! You’ve entered another level of life.. (*evil grin) ha.. kidding, no worries, it’s a wonderful journey.

    Great tips indeed, I may apply this once I got myself on a vacation. I used to bring along my laptop whenever I go, but it’s better to leave it alone once in a while, especially honeymoon or anniversaries. =)

    Will keep this post on reminder, may come in handy. Enjoy !

    @wchingya
    Social Media/Blogging

    Ching Yas last blog post..‘KnowEm’: The Protection from Identity Theft in Social Media

  6. says

    That’s a really good summary oh and congratulations on your big day!!

    I recently had to step away from my blog for a month and I enlisted the help of two of my regular readers (who themselves are bloggers) to guest post whilst I was away. All I did was add them to my self hosted WordPress blog as contributors and removed the permissions when I got back.

    Cheers for the other ideas!

    Lees last blog post..American Pie face off

  7. says

    Hi Kristi, I’m very excited for you. Personally, I took a laptop on our vacation and just limited myself to an hour in the AM and half an hour in the PM. We’ve been married 25 years so it was ok but I wouldn’t recommend that for a honeymoon. The internet can wait when it’s something as important as that. I think you have the right idea. Let me know if I can help in any way, I’d be happy to help.

    Brians last blog post..ClickBank Niche Sites – Quick and Easy DIY

  8. says

    Congratulations on your wedding, :) I hope you have a fantastic time, and have a great time during your honey moon. Enjoy the holidays and many thanks for the tips.

    Best of luck and best wishes. :)

  9. says

    @LunchHourBytes: I’ve promised not to do any blogging on the honeymoon. I can’t imagine I’d really want to though. :)

    @Melanie: Glad you found this useful. If you find some other useful tips, please come back and let me know! Thanks!

    @Electric Trains: Thanks!

    @Sandra: Maybe that will be the next article: what to expect when you’re away for a week with blogging and social media. :) Thanks for the well wishes!

    @Frank: Yes, auto posting is a definite life-saver.

    @Jonathan: Thanks for the best wishes! :)

    @YogaforCynics: The auto-approve for commentators that have been previously is a WordPress function… I’m not sure if it is available for Blogger or other blogging platforms. It’s definitely nice though, since you can set a # of comments that a person has to have before they auto approve. That way a one time spammer with an un-obvious spam comment doesn’t get the right of way.

    @Eren: Well, it sounds like high time you had a vacation! Yes, these tips can be useful if you have a planned upcoming absence. Emergencies are another subject though, something I learned Monday when I spent the entire day sick.

    @Tony: Definitely better to be safe than sorry. I’m sure a new commentator would rather be greeted with an awaiting moderation than a blog full of spam ads.

    @Ching Ya: Well, I will have my laptop on me, but only to do the really important things, like clear off my camera’s memory cards or check bank balances. But the rest will be left to when I get back. Thanks for the best wishes!

    @Lee: I meant to formalize a plan for guest posting, but I just didn’t get there with all of the things going on. I have enough post ideas to survive next week, and I have new guest post offers for future reference, which is great!

    @Brian: Thanks! Yes, the honeymoon is definitely an experience where I don’t want to spend time on the net. I’ll be sure to let you know. :)

    @David: Glad you find them useful!

    @Cibeles: Thanks! :)

    @Roshan: Thanks! I’m looking forward to it being a great day.

    @Gera: What kind of problems? Mostly, I didn’t want people to think I dropped off the face of the earth, or have a new potential reader or Twitter follower think that the last time I updated anything was over a week ago.

  10. says

    Hey Kristi,

    As I write this I’m coming home from an extended trip to Asia (including Tokyo, Auckland and a short stop in Honk Kong airport, where I’m writing this right now) and I do know what you mean by that.

    My strategy was to streamline my social media presence at minimum and only automatically post whenever I had a scheduled post published. I also tweeted at arrival points, sort of radar tracking for my friends and family.

    Thanks for sharing those tips :-)

    Dragos Rouas last blog post..The Trip To Japan – Tokyo

  11. says

    I love how you suggest a time when bloggers must step away from their internet and then segue to your wedding. come on Kristi, where are your priorities? LOL
    Seriously, Gratz and best wishes.

  12. says

    A nice list Kristi, as usual, and I’m sure that you will have better things to think about during your wedding and when you are on your honeymoon. Don’t worry, we will all still be here and you will have your work cut out for you when you come back.

    I’m sure you will full of stories and photos, except the wedding night ones, that you will share with your adoring readers. Have a great wedding day and honeymoon.

    Sires last blog post..The 10 Stages Of A Twitterer

  13. says

    Real bloggers don’t stop posting just because they’re relaxing!

    Just kidding, great post, I liked autoscheduling posts especialy. It makes you work harder before you leave but at least you won’t have to worry about the blog at all.

    Gry dla Dziecis last blog post..Karaoke – Ubieranka

  14. says

    You are very prepared considering your wedding is in a few days, when I take a vacation I usually just post an advance warning that the site will be closed over xxx period. I didn’t know you could schedule twitters.

    (tip for the big day. take some time out for you and your partner on the big day, as usually the bride and groom are worrying so much about their guests that the day is over before you know it).

    Have great wedding day and Honeymoon and take plenty of pics

    Khaled

  15. says

    I thought you were just teasing me with your comment on my new post regarding HoneyMoon Suppository. So, I rushed here to scour for any evidence that you’re indeed going on a honeymoon trip.

    My warm congratulations to you and your very lucky groom!! We shall paint in our minds the blissful scenery of your union as well as compose the tunes of the tingling moments of your warm and intimate togetherness.

    We await your dazzling narrative of those moments.

    JessQs last blog post..Regain Your Virginity With HONEYMOON Herbal Suppository

  16. says

    wow i also read your post on love it was a very intriguing story and also congrats on your wedding have a great time on vacation. This post was very interesting i will certainly take your word for it for when i go on vacation which will be in july

    almirs last blog post..Vital Tips That Can Aid Any Blogger

  17. says

    Twitter needs to be vacation proofed? Isn’t the whole point of Twitter that you can do it fast… from anywhere?

  18. Philip Booth says

    Congratulation for your wedding. when your are coming back we all still awaiting for your next post.

  19. says

    You are right, you know it is also a part of our life so don’t worry & have fun for few days & then restart your work. Best wishes for your marriage

  20. says

    @Dragos: I didn’t do as good of a job prepping as I would have liked, but I wanted something to happen here during the week I was gone, because I knew I wouldn’t be anywhere near a computer for a whole week. :)

    @DS Trout: Thanks! I think my priorities balanced out quite nicely.

    @Businessvartha: Thanks for the vote!

    @Sire: Lots of good stories, and pictures to come! My work has been cut out for me indeed, especially since my laptop decided to go on the fritz, so I spent most of my weekend working on that instead of working on my site like I wanted to. But I’m slowly but surely catching up!

    @Nihar: Thanks! :)

    @Tom: I needed to get my guest posters in order prior to, but didn’t get around to it. I’ll know who to call for next time though. :)

    @Gry: Hehe… yes, well, real bloggers do stop posting when they don’t bring a laptop with them. :) I was glad I was able to share at least one scheduled post while I was away.

    @khaled: We didn’t have much time to ourselves before the wedding, with all the prep work, but we had a very relaxing evening after. The wedding and honeymoon were awesome, and there are lots of pics to come.

    @JessQ: Thanks for the unique congrats! :)

    @Dennis: Well, I didn’t proof all the sites, just the main ones that I thought people would notice if I disappeared for a bit.

    @Madhur: Thanks. Planning didn’t all work out in the end due to time constraints, but I’ll know better for next time how much is needed to get things done.

    @Almir: Thanks, and I hope the advice helps when you take your offline vacation.

    @Gennaro: Limited or not available at all, in my case. Especially since all I had for internet was my phone.

    @Alex: You can, but I didn’t want to be Twittering on the beach or in Disneyland. That way I could experience the moments fully.

    @Hesham: You’ll have to let me know if it works out!

    @Irtiza104: Thanks!

    @Paulubiadas: In the beginning it’s tough, but at the same time, if you need a break, you should take it. The blog will suffer from the strain of forced posts just as much as a time away to refresh the mind for better writing in the future.

    @Holly: You’re welcome.

    @Cycling Clothing: I didn’t worry any while I was away, and aside from a goof up on putting 6 instead of just 5 images on the excerpt, it all worked out well.

    @Money4Invest: Thanks! I did prioritize the wedding more, and did a little less vacation proofing than I wanted, but it worked out in the end.

  21. says

    I really admire you doing a follow on your vacation proofing post. So often, we read about good intentions, but I appreciate finding out what really helped. Your suggestion regarding the Email folders is right on. I’ve done this to some extent, but I need to be more purposeful. Right now, I get at least 50 Emails a day in my main inbox, and that multiplies quickly when I’m away from the computer. As a result, I never really clear the backlog.

  22. says

    You can usually make posts by email to the website (you can with WordPress), although if you just take a phone on vacation then would be hard work typing it all in!