When we left for our trip in June2009 Twitter had been around for a little while but it hadn’t really taken off…or at least I didn’t realize the value of it at the time. Since returning I’ve learned much more about how Twitter works and how it can be used as a traveler. I’m no expert by any means but I do think that knowing how Twitter worked would have changed how we traveled. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share what I’ve learned so that you can put it to use in your own travels!!
Traveling is, and should be, a social experience. An opportunity to meet local residents and other travelers; to share stories of culture similarities and differences; to break bread and drink beer. We met many people while on the road, some who we still stay in contact with and others who made that particular experience special, but I think that Twitter would have helped even more in this regard.
The connections made on Twitter are far reaching and personal. Some think that Twitter is impersonal because it is so big but I find just the opposite. Being able to connect with a person one on one makes it clear that there is a person behind that @name and avatar. And it’s the connections that drive the support that you see in the Twitter travel community.
Day after day I see fellow travelers reach out and help each other. Whether it’s a blogger who needs some advice as they step out and try something new, or one who needs to hear some encouraging words as they struggle a bit; a traveler feeling lonely or wondering where they should go next; there is always the community to rally around them and help boost them up, or provide advice, or be a cheering section.
I love reading personal travel stories and learning about a place through the eyes of another. It can help determine where I want (or don’t want) to travel to and gives me a glimpse into how other people see the world. I already followed a good number of travel blogs but Twitter has, by far, increased my weekly reading! Not everyone on Twitter has a blog, and you certainly don’t need one to be successful on Twitter, but many do and I have found some excellent reading in the community.
Many bloggers promote their blog posts on Twitter, so it’s easy to find new stories to read. Alternately you can visit a persons Twitter site to see if they have a website posted.
TweetUps and/or MeetUps are a chance to get out of the cyber world and meet in the real world. It may be just a few tweeps who are in the same area arranging to meet at a coffee shop to continue the conversation, or it may be a larger affair put out to a city or group #hashtag where you can meet people that maybe you haven’t even tweeted with but who share an interest with you whether it be travel, or birdwatching, or guitar strumming.
I’ve been looking on Twtvite.com for tweetups in #YYC when I move there but you could also simply google ‘travel tweetup’ (or ‘birdwatching tweetup’, or ‘guitar strumming tweetup’) to find one near you.
Think it’s weird to meet up with people you don’t know? Well, you do know them if you’ve been chatting with them on Twitter and, even if you haven’t, you already have something in common and aren’t you here to meet new people?
The social aspects of Twitter would surely have changed how we traveled. Being able to make connections, get advice, and feel the support would have made reaching out worthwhile. Finding new bloggers to follow and connect with would have provided a whole other level of information and meeting up with fellow travelers around the world would have been so much fun!
You can catch up from the beginning of the Twitter Travel Tips series with these posts: