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!!
Twitter events are like parties with in the party and the best part is you don’t need an invitation!! You might notice one is going on because you’ll all of a sudden see people you are following all using the same #hashtag and are all seemingly ‘in’ on whatever is going on.
Don’t worry, I’ll explain a few that I know of to you here and, if you see another that isn’t listed here all you have to do is tweet one of the participants and ask them. It’s that easy. They will explain and, if there is a website associated, will likely point you to it. Really! People are just that nice and they want to include you.
For me, there are two types of Twitter events; FollowDays and TweetChats. There are likely others but these are the ones I know of or am involved in.
FollowDays are specific days where you share with your followers the people that you follow. Get it? It’s a chance to make a shout out to let others know who you are following and why. It’s also a perfect way to find other great tweeters to follow. It’s like meeting friends of friends; you already have something in common!
You’ll often see people simply list a group of users that they follow but I prefer a more personal approach and I send a #follow tweet that explains why I follow a particular person. Actually, this is where the #FollowFriday series came from on OneGiantStep. I wanted to share with my blog readers those people from Twitter that I really like.
Getting involved is as simple as sending out a tweet using the #hashtag for the day and the @name of the user you want to spotlight. Example: #FF @OneGiantStep because she is creating a great Twitter Travel Tips series!
- #TravelTuesday (or #TT) Tuesdays are reserved for shouting out travel bloggers and tweeters or those involved in the travel industry.
- #FollowFriday (or #FF) Fridays are a free-for-all follow-a-thon. Promote any tweeter that you like. Let your followers know who deserves special mention.
TweetChats are virtual ‘meetings’. Some are just informal get-togethers at a pre-arranged time with no leader or topic; just an opportunity to connect up. Others are more structured with a theme for the chat or even a question and answer format. They all work by using a specific #hashtag to identify that you are part of the chat.
**Hint** I usually set one of my TweetDeck columns to search for the #hashtag, and set that column to be right next to my @mentions column. Then I can follow the chat and keep track of any personal tweets that come my way.
Tweetchats can be very overwhelming. Someone described them as ‘drinking from the firehose’. There are often hundreds of tweeters all tweeting at the same time about the same thing. Relax. Don’t try to read them all (you can’t); just pay attention to those that catch your eye and comment, ask questions, or contribute where you can.
I have found Tweetchats to be very entertaining and informative; I have met plenty of other bloggers and tweeters and have learned a lot about the subjects that have been covered.
- #blogchat occurs on Sunday nights at 6-7PM Pacific Time. It is not specific to travel or travel bloggers but focuses on blogging in general. I have learned a lot from this one and try to catch at least some of it every week. There is usually a theme and Mark Collier moderates. It’s pretty free form with people asking and answering any questions relating to the theme. You can find out more at Marks’ What Is #blogchat post. Use the #blogchat hashtag to participate.
- #tni is on Thursdays at 12:30-2PM Pacific Time. Travelers Night In is more structured with a theme and a host who tweets out questions every 10 minutes. The participants format their tweets as answers to the questions. You can find out more about #tni at ZipSetGo’s website. Full disclosure: I have never attended this chat as I work during the day. Use the #TNI hashtag to participate.
- #ttot Travel Talk On Twitter occurs on Tuesdays…twice, to better catch all the time zones. Once at 1:30AM PST and again at 1:30PM Pacific Time. Visit the #ttot Facebook page to learn more. It has multiple hosts and is a question and answer format. Again, I have never followed this one either. Use the #ttot hashtag to participate.
- #heybackpacker isn’t an event per se but a community of travelers sharing their experiences, swapping stories, seeking advice, and talking travel. Simply add the hashtag to your tweets to join the community and meet other backpackers and independent travelers around the world.
I’m sure there are other FollowDays and TweetChats as well as other Twitter events. It can all get overwhelming pretty quickly so these are the ones that I intermittently take part in. Like anything, you have to find what works for you. I usually take part in #FollowFriday and I try to get to #blogchat weekly…say hello (@OneGianstStep) if you stop by.
You can catch up from the beginning of the Twitter Travel Tips series with these posts: