My 15 minutes

Husband has been away for the last three weeks on business in Japan and will be gone for another two months (I’ll be visiting him in May, expect a recap sometime around December, at this rate).  Rather than writing blog posts (like a boss. Sorry, can’t get that out of my head) about recent trips to Istanbul and Cartagena as I planned, I’ve been furthering my Twitter obsession and enjoying a bit of fame as a travel publicist, writer/blogger, er, the Notorious M.E.G.

Recently, serious travel journo Rolf Potts started a debate about whether or not to tweet* while traveling.  I felt the need to contribute my two cents:

I’m a recent but devout Twitter fan, mostly because it allows me to keep up some sort of blog in just a few minutes at a time.  But it’s the community aspect or watercooler factor that is so fantastic, I was talking to some people last night about how it’s like passing notes all day with a group that feels intimate yet is open to the whole world.

When I travel, I tend to hit the ground running and spend all day exploring and experiencing, no matter the weather or how
jet-lagged/tired/sick I might be.  Even so, there comes a time once a day or every few days when I sit down with my laptop and find free Wi-Fi connection so I can finally upload photos, look up all the odd/funny/mysterious things I’ve noticed that day and written down in a notebook, logistics I need to look up for the next day, plus maybe check my email/bank account/etc.  This is a time to check in with Twitter/Facebook without detracting from the travel experience.  There is a difference between spending all your time traveling with your nose buried in your notebook or iPhone or guidebook or whatever, and taking a few minutes to share a part of your experience with your friends at home or on their own adventure.  There are certainly Twitter users as well as bloggers who spend so much time documenting their trip I wonder when they find time to be present on it, but they would probably spend their time absorbed in something else no matter what.

On my last trip before I joined Twitter, I was without internet for awhile (with computer but not about to pay extortionate hotel WiFi rates) and found myself composing Facebook status updates in my head for the first few days.  Though I imagine that even if I’d had a fancy smart phone for keeping in touch, you wouldn’t have seen me tweeting about how amazing the Blue Mosque was or how sick I was of kebaps, at least, not in real-time. ;)

One of the wonderful World Hum editors emailed me and asked me, along with some illustrious travel writers, for a tip on tweeting while traveling.  Here is my (unedited) comment, clearly ignoring my own advice on brevity:

Twitter when traveling should be used in the spirit of the site’s origin: sparingly.  Ideally, Twitter can be a tool to quickly source logistical information or recommendations, or better yet, add a quick observation or comment that doesn’t warrant its own blog post or postcard.  In Colombia, I tweeted about the random 80s videos I saw in a local bar and the candy pig I got made out of dulce de leche.  Best thing about Twitter is the brevity and frequency of the updates, so if you don’t find my likening of Bogota Airport to the Dawn of the Dead 1970s mall set but with less zombies and more security, you don’t have to read a whole blog post about it.”

This little mention brought my number of Twitter followers to over 350 and still growing.  This discussion continues to rage on, well articulated by eloquent ladies like Jessica Spiegel and Valerie Conners. I’ve also argued with friends and colleagues about Twitter, but ultimately, I’m not interested in converting the haters.  If you have nothing clever to say, don’t say anything at all.

Following this Twitter blitz, I was featured on Jauntsetter.com by the lovely Dorothy McGivney.  I did the photoshoot in March and a lengthy email interview and the finished product is here.  Now you know my name, please don’t stalk, and yes, I roll out of bed looking like that. ;)  I will finish my Jauntsetter reign with a guest blog post tomorrow, look out for it.  I will try to use this newfound fame for good and not evil, or at least some new blog posts.

*Yeah, sorry, I hate the whole Tw-word trend too, but tweeting is just easier to say than “twittering” or “posting to Twitter.”

ETA: My blog post went up on Wednesday, I’m called an insider (blush).  Read it here.  Excitement continued when my I Heart Brooklyn post went up on NGT’s site.  Braced myself for the Brooklynites telling me I know nothing, but so far, so good.  Hmm, better work on putting some new content up…

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