Twitter Travel Tips: What The Heck Is Twitter?

14.February 2011

Technology, Twitter Travel Tips

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!!

What The Heck Is Twitter?

Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ site where you can post 140 character bites; that’s about 25 words. Short and sweet…that’s the point. It’s not about long diatribes or novel writing but more about information updates and community building.

It runs on a continual timeline meaning that, unlike a blog, items aren’t organized into categories or pages and, if you aren’t ‘on’ Twitter at a particular time you will miss all that is happening at that particular time. But don’t worry, that’s okay; one of the first things you have to get over is that you might be missing out. Just enjoy what is happening at the time.

It’s confusing…and overwhelming.

The classic Twitter analogy is to compare it to a cocktail party…and I think that’s what scares most people. Who wants to go to a party where you don’t know anyone?  You walk in the room and it seems as though everyone knows everyone else and they are all having a fabulous time.

Well, it’s really more like a party you went to in college; you know, after a couple of beers when you felt a little more social and maybe you did have a friend or two that you could drag along with you.

You might wander around a little at the party; see what’s happening in the other rooms, find the bar and the snack table; you’ll likely stumble upon a group or two that are interesting to you and that will open their circle a bit and let you in on the conversation.

Before long you’re laughing, and chatting, and sharing; making new friends and reconnecting with old ones and you really can’t remember why you were so hesitant to come in the first place!

It’s fun…and interesting.

Just like any party though, it’s better if you do a little prep ahead of time. You know…figure out what to wear; how your going to get there and home; what to drink; should you bring a gift?

It’s not that complicated and, really, you’ll have a good time! So, come along for a bit and let me show you around. I’ll introduce you to some terms and how-to’s; we’ll get some tools to make it easier and find the ‘party within the party’. At the end you’ll realize just how Twitter can make your travels easier too.

So, how about you get yourself a Twitter account so we can start putting the tips to use asap? You can find me at @OneGiantStep…and don’t worry if you don’t even know what that is yet…we’ll cover that next time!

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15 Responses to “Twitter Travel Tips: What The Heck Is Twitter?”

  1. Ali Says:

    Great intro for people who aren’t familiar with Twitter! I’m so unbelievably thankful I signed up. Even aside from meeting Andy (@groundedtravelr) I’ve met so many other great people, some in person, & it’s so great to have found this group of people I have so much in common with. I hope your series helps the non-Twitter readers out there!

  2. SpunkyGirl Says:

    Twitter can definitely be a great tool. I still have friends that make fun of it, but I just gave up trying to argue with them about it. Haha

  3. Nick Laborde Says:

    I didn’t fully embrace Twitter until about 6 or 8 months ago. Partially because I just didn’t get and partially because I was clueless.

    I glad I finally did because I’ve been able to connect with a lot of bad ass people.
    Nick Laborde recently posted..Why time doesn’t freakin matter- hint results do

  4. Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World Says:

    Twitter is truly a world of its own. I’m still grappling with the whole idea of it and fumbling along as I tweet. And I’m still trying to figure out what ‘lists’ are and how to use them… tsk.
    Jill – Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..7 Reasons to Travel With Your Significant Other

  5. Pete Says:

    I agree with Jill, we are still learning the ropes as well, and are fumbling along. We’ve joined the party, but the freshmen need to get initiated ;) Nice post! Cheers
    Pete recently posted..Steel Drummin’

  6. Jaime Says:

    Oh man I remember when 1st got my twitter account and HATED IT. I vowed to never use it, but then I learned how to use it and damn am I addicted. I would say I tweet to much (that should change when I get on the road), but its just so much fun. I see twitter as a HUGE CHAT ROOM. You can talk about anything you want or join any conversation you are seeing go on the feed. I have learned how to use twitter to benifit me and also help others. Its a win win & you won’t know that until you learn it.
    Jaime recently posted..What I’m packing for my trip around the world

  7. Kim Says:

    Twitter is just crazy. I’m still trying to adjust to the ADD aspect of it. I get all weirded out if I announce a new blog post of mine more than once but then I remember that it was center stage for less than a second before something new took its place. A friend of mine works as a social media PR person and she told me when I started the blog that I had to get on, that it has changed the face of communication. I’m sure glad I did join, I’ve connected with so many amazing travelers all over the world, but I also sometimes sign off feeling exhausted.
    Kim recently posted..A Valentine’s Day Love Letter

  8. Nicolas De Corte Says:

    Very interesting that you compare Twitter with a coctail party.
    I was already a facebook member for quite some time when I signed up with Twitter. And I didn’t know what to think of it.
    On Facebook, I could come home in the evening and read what everyone had posted that day, on Twitter I have less friends but it’s impossible to read everything. it’s like you say, I either search for a certain conversation or I just follow what is being said in general.

    Now I’m using Twitter a bit more, but I’m still far away from being a guru. I’m very looking forward to the sequel of this article!
    Nicolas De Corte recently posted..How to Take Photos in Bad Weather Conditions Part 2

  9. Adam Says:

    We didn’t use Twitter when we were on our trip either, and I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or not. There is so much great information out there, and I love that I’m able to just throw a random question out there, like, “Where should we eat in NYC tonight?” and know that I’ll get tons of answers. It’s an awesome tool, one that I’m still learning as well. I do think it’s here to stay though.
    Adam recently posted..A Stroke of Luck

  10. Natalie Says:

    I like the thought of comparing Twitter to going to a party. Personally I prefer facebook but Twitter still has its advantages
    Natalie recently posted..Photo Essay – The Killer Lure of Turgutreis


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