There’s been a lot written lately about travel and twitter. From the best 50 travel twitters to all the travel twitters to how twitter helps you travel better. Before the topic gets old and stale, I wanted to write about it too.
I was late to join Twitter. It was going to be another social networking site that was going to take up lots of time and decrease my productivity. It sure has done both but it’s well worth it. Twitter is the new internet “it” thing. It’s the new Facebook. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool where people write 140 character updates about anything- and people really write about anything. There are now over four million people on the service and it grew over 900% last year. Celebrities and politicians are now on the service too. It’s gone mainstream.
But what is really great about twitter is that it allows instant communication with people around the world. It’s like a giant stream of instant messages. Sure, some of them are inane but so is a lot of spoken conversation. You find people always asking questions and receiving answers from a variety of people right away. Need help with wordpress? Tweet your question. Need new blogging ideas? Tweet that too. Someone will help.
Twitter is a wonderful tool for travel and getting to know the online travel community. I’ll talk about the latter first. Everyone has a travel blog these days, though most tend to be about your trip and stop when your trip is over. However, there are a lot of travel blogs that are constantly updated with great content year round. All of these bloggers are on twitter. Since travelers are spread out around the world, there is someone on at all times of the day. As the day moves so does who is on twitter. Asia is off to bed now and I can see the US tweeters coming on. It’s like clockwork.
Twitter has allowed me to develop connections with other bloggers that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. You can only develop so much of a connection over blog comments and e-mail. However, with twitter, you can have live conversations. A lot of other times, other people join in on these conversations too and, before you know it, the small travel community on Twitter is in a giant group discussion in real time.
And that is the beauty of Twitter. It’s not the random updates- it’s the ability to connect with people instantaneously. To bridge the online world and have a real conversation with people. It allows you to make friendships and stay in touch with people in ways that can’t be done with a blog post. Moreover, it’s also great for networking. I have met many new traveler bloggers, marketers, and journalists because of Twitter. If I had said no to Twitter, I would not have the audience, friends or connections I have today.
How does all this relate to travel? Simple- it’s easy to develop connections with people on Twitter so that when you do go somewhere, you have people who will help you with what to see, do, where to eat, and where to stay. Moreover, you also have people who will probably let you stay with them when you come into their city. Heather did. Twitchhiker is traveling the world and staying with people from twitter. Gary has had people meet him for dinner, offer him places to stay, and got newspaper interviews because of Twitter.
Twitter can help you get into the world travel community and network with companies, bloggers, writers, editors, marketers, and travel agents. The online travel community isn’t very large and you’ll be surprised how quickly people follow you and get to know you. We’re travelers after all- we love meeting new people.
If you have Twitter, come follow me: @nomadicmatt. You’ll be able to find all the travel twitters on my friend list.