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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.