I recently returned from a little R&R. We took a week and a half long vacation to Seville, Spain. We went to visit my little sister – she’s been studying abroad there for the Fall Semester of her junior year.
I didn’t expect to learn much about social media while I was away, but when you love something it’s always with you. Yes, even during my oh-so-needed digital detox, I couldn’t help thinking about the social sphere.
Here are the five things Spain taught me about social media.
Keep It Clean
I’ve lived in small towns, big cities and most everything in between. All of them had trash and litter strewn about in certain places. But not Seville. You can order your plate of JAMÓN IBÉRICO and aged Manchego cheese and practically eat it off the pristine streets.
And there are plenty of smokers wandering around, but I didn’t see one — NOT ONE! — cigarette butt on the ground in the 10 days we were there.
Sure, you see plenty of spray paint and tagging on some of the ancient walls, but you won’t find a bit of trash.
The Lesson: No matter how tempted you are to tear down a passive aggressive troll, walk away and let the trash be trash. Let your streams be as nice and immaculate as those in Seville.
Rich But Small
As mentioned above, we had our fill of plates with succulent ham, aged-to-perfection cheeses, and melt-in-your mouth olives. The Spanish have mealtime down to an art … the art of tapas!
Of course, as greedy, over-fed Americans we started out ordering the full “ración” (ration). We skipped right over the 1/2 ración and tapas. Our mistake. (Our tummies paid dearly).
Eventually we learned that the rich little plates — no matter how exquisite the food — needed to be consumed in small doses to maintain the constant cycle of eating and drinking, eating and drinking.
The Lesson: The same goes with content. Create rich snippets and small bits to be continuously consumed. A barrage of content can be hard to digest so make it rich (valuable) but consumable. Keep people coming back for more by creating that continuous cycle.
The Spanish really do participate in Siesta after lunch; lunch is the largest meal of their day – and this is where the 1/2 or whole portions are acceptable! The adorable little shops lined up and down the impossibly small streets even close during siesta.
Nearly everyone participates in this tradition. It helps society rest a bit and prepare for late nights (dinner usually starts at 9PM!) – and is really quite useful in the summer when temperatures can be unbearable (keep in mind most people don’t have air conditioning).
This little nap really helped us find our footing and recuperate from jet lag. It also helped us enjoy much longer days and nights so we could pack our trip full of fun festivities.
The Lesson: Everyone needs a break. I’m guilty of sitting in front of my computer for 12+ hours a day. This took more of a toll on me than I knew. I’ve come back from Spain with the promise to myself to say no more often and to take more breaks. This really can help with energy and feeling like your creative juices are zapped – a must when social media demands content that inspires and informs.
Focus On Design
Perhaps the streets were so clean because the Spanish don’t want anything to take away from their jaw-dropping architecture. I’m lucky enough to understand and speak the language, but even if I didn’t the buildings spoke for themselves.
Walking through some of the grandiose and larger than life Cathedrals, I could practically envision the history that once took place inside of them. I didn’t need a tour guide to tell me how important Christopher Columbus was to the Spanish, his tomb [pictured below] alone conveyed that message.
The Lesson: Find visuals that can tell your story. Have a scheme, a color theme, and/or a mascot (like Dude!). Conjure up something that when viewed immediately entices the reader to take a closer look – and make sure they know this is something coming from your brand, too.
Surprise & Delight
While visiting the Real Alcázar de Sevilla, which was modeled after Alhambra de Granada, our senses were delighted with breathtaking buildings, gardens and pottery – some dating back to the 15th century.
And just went you thought there couldn’t be any more beauty to to see, you come into a courtyard that has several male and female peacocks roaming freely. I’m pretty sure I squealed with delight upon seeing this.
The Lesson: Even when you think things are “perfect” you can do better. Go above and beyond. Continuously surprise your audiences, customers and potential leads. Say thank you more often than not. When you do these things, it automatically sets you apart and delivers top-notch service.
Although I’m happy to be back home, I already miss the Spanish lifestyle. I’m committed to bring the above lessons into my own life — and social media presence — and therefore will be sure not to miss it too much!
What about you? Have you ever travelled abroad or had digital detox and come back with some great lessons? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
See you in the social sphere!
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Love the analogy of content with the tapas. Small portions of beautifully crafted material while we can enjoy the effect they have on us. Thanks for sharing the photos and your experience Brooke. All the best!
Thanks, Veronica! It was an ah-ha moment for me, too. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the analogy and thanks so much for chiming in!
Ha! My trip to Europe inspired my newest site! Seville sounds beautiful… I had my time in Barcelona, and you are right… even on the ‘busier than Times Square’ Las Ramblas, NO trash/cigarette butts. I also had the added benefit of sailing the Mediterranean and sitting on the balcony of ship in the middle of the night, where I couldn’t see my nose in front of me and had waves crashing as my soundtrack. I can’t wait to go back across the pond! So many things I love about over there!
Hi, Rikki!I guess traveling can be inspirational – a much needed break can also be good for the mind. Barcelona is gorgeous. We didn’t get to travel there but I read all about it. We are dying to plan a 2nd trip so we can visit Barcelona and Madrid, and then travel over to Portugal and Morocco. I’m jealous you got to see the ocean – that is on our “go back and see” list too!
Glad to connect over Spain and social media with you. 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!
Yes indeed! Your posts are always great. We did the Western Med cruise on the Norwegian Epic. And it was EPIC. I liked Barcelona so much I want to summer there. My brother lives in London and is always taking jaunts throughout the EU, and I get insanely jealous at times lol.
Are you KIDDING?! I’m jealous. LOL. Be sure to send me pics if/when you’re out and about! I love looking at people’s adventures.
We just returned from 7 days in Madrid and 3 in Barcelona, and I totally agree – especially since this is my 6th time to Spain. As luck would have it, the street cleaners had been on strike in Madrid, but shop owners were trying to keep up. Viva Espana!
Madrid and Barcelona are on our “trip back” list, Rita! My parents did Madrid after they spent some time in Rome and said it was WONDERFUL. Six times?! I hope to catch up to you soon enough. 🙂
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And yeah! Viva Espana!
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Brooke, thank you for this article. Firstly, as a writer, I appreciate the clever way you’ve woven the analogies of your observation of Spanish life into direct examples of how to handle our social media. Secondly, as one who’s lived in Spain (for the sole purpose of rebooting my balance of work and play), I agree with your insights.
Thank you for sharing information that’s not only essential but delightful!
Thank you for your kind words, Susan! I really appreciate you reading and leaving your comment. And I have to admit that I’m a little jealous that you get to LIVE in Spain. Very cool. I’m especially glad these statements ring true to a real Spain “professional” (and not just someone who visited for a few days). 🙂