Twittering Your Travels Away

twitter and travelThere’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.

twitter logoAnd 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.

  1. I was late to Twitter too. From the outside, I didn’t see it surviving beyond a year or two, but you’re right about the conversation aspect. It brings something to the table that Facebook doesn’t. It’s not static.

    Is Twitter the travel guidebook for the future. Arrive in a city and tweet: I need a place to stay (or eat), any recommendations? I can see it happening. In fact, it is to a small degree.

  2. You are right Matt!

    As you know, I just wrote on this topic at soultravelers3 because Twitter has been an amazing tool for us on our open ended world tour as a family!

    It is also great for people on the move because it can be so quick with just 140 characters. I use the twitpic option to keep our readers up on the visuals of our travels and aware of the upcoming stories on the blog.

    I find that videos on Youtube, Twitter plus a travel blog, make the perfect Travel2.0 trio!

  3. Jen

    I’m pleased I saw this post. I signed up to Twitter quite a while ago but could never quite find the time to use it nor the inclination really. Now that more of my friends are joining I had considered being more active and your post has just encouraged me again! I’m off to twitter! x

  4. I twitter too almost all the time… It’s so easy and fun to do. I can check instantly and communicate with my friends from anywhere at anytime. I can even check for news from my friends whether I’m miles away. Tweet! lol… ^_^

  5. Theresa

    So I still haven’t got on board. I think I might have signed up before we left for our trip but then never did anything with it. I like the idea of connecting with other travelers, but I have to say that sometimes I just really like being disconnected (though with the blog we’re never completely off grid.)

  6. I was late getting into Twitter too, but loved it immediately. It is so great for direct, to the point information. Traveling and working from home it really gives you the feel of office mates too. A sounding board so you don’t feel like you are always talking to your self. Ha, ha!

    I follow you and saw your Tweet a while back about Gisele getting married. You need to come down to the coast of Brazil. 😉 Giseles are everywhere.

  7. I’m a late user but it is infectious watching all these strange conversation pass your eyes and being able to add your few thoughts now and then. Amazing what people write about (in 140 chars).

  8. NomadicMatt

    Because of this article, i found a lot of people on twitter! I heart twitter!

    @theresa: get with the program!

  9. Great article Matt, totally agree that it’s been an amazing way to connect to peers and has opened dialogue with people I wouldn’t have meet through other channels.

    The ability of fellow tweeps to inject such personality into 140 characters has really surprised me as well, I’ve had some of the biggest belly laughs off twitter.

    I’ve also changed my perception of brands by tweets alone, ‘popping the lid on the people’ behind companies has been a smart move by many of the bigger travel companies.

  10. NomadicMatt

    @worldnomads: I really do like how many travel companies (like WM) are on twitter. It’s good to make some contacts and see the people behind the brand.

    @kalyan: twitter is very very addictive.

  11. To put it bluntly… if I did not jump on the Twitter bandwagon I would be 60% less prepared for our r-t-w trip. It has been an amazing tool to network with other travel bloggers and backpackers in general. I do lose track of time when I jump on for what I thought would be 15 minutes to read a few tweets and wind up immersed in several different blogs. I am curious to see how we will use it during our travels when we don’t have mobile phones and constant access to internet. Twitter withdrawal is definitely on the horizon.

  12. I’m also fairly new to twitter – I joined 6 months ago.

    Twitter is a great source of travel tips & advice, so many sharing people. I’ve also met people on twitter both in my home town and on the road. Because twitter enables more personal connections with writers and bloggers, I’m finding I’m using twitter partly as a filter mechanism – there is too much travel stuff online to keep up with it all. Twitter helps me prioritise.

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