Twitter – Are you all of a flutter? Or still sitting on your perch?

Twitter turned five in March 2011

Twitter

It was 3 years before the billionth tweet was sent.

Today, a billion tweets fly through the Ethernet every week :)

While nearly half a million people sign up for Twitter every day, only 21 million are classed as ‘active’ Twitter users, meaning they follow 30 people (or more).

I joined Twitter two and a half years ago, then spent the first six months sitting on my perch observing – but as any little bird would know, you don’t get any worms up there.

Journey Jottings on Twitter


Twitter is a global village

– You pop down the Main Street and bump into different people each day depending on who is out and about – As in any regular social street encounter you make passing comments. You hear highlights of news… personal problems… soaring triumphs. Over time these little conversations add up until as in real life, relationships develop and you become part of Twitter’s global community.

As in any community some relationships flourish and deepen, whilst others remain more superficial. That’s a reflection of life.

I’ve developed some fantastic relationships with people that don’t occupy my local neck of the woods so my engagement with them simply wouldn’t have been possible, if not for Twitter. This has led me to:

lakeandcaravan Twitter

 

Connecting with holiday and tourism related businesses from as far afield as Cape York in Queensland to the Spa region of Victoria, and who we’ve gone on to supply with our Map Journals and Mail-It Maps.

 

NancyGeorges Twitter

Engaging with fellow businesswomen, resulting in meeting face to face at Tweet Ups when I’ve travelled interstate, where we’ve got to hear each other’s voices and the sound of our laughter.

 

Kirsty_Wilson Twitter

 

Meeting with Tweeps on holiday when they’ve come to Queensland – and with whom the relationship has then solidified so I’ve engaged them to supply services to my business.

 

 

rockytravel Twitter Michela Fantinel

Connecting with holidaymakers and travellers who tell us when and where they’ve bought, or used one of our maps ~

@rockytravel Michela Fantinel

@journeyjottings ‘oh yes, I’ve got a beautiful Australia-Map!’

And then to make contact as they pass on their travels around Australia. to say ‘Hi’  :)  [I wrote a post about meeting up with traveller in Australia: Michela!]

Annie Payne

@annie_histheart Annie Payne

@journeyjottings “Used your map to chart our journey from Perth to Adelaide, Linda – a great memento to keep.”

 

kelvinlls Kelvin Lim Twitter

 

@kelvinlls Kelvin Lim

@journeyjottings “I saw your products sold in Uluru airport and shops at the resort! Pretty neat! I collect fridge magnets & got one of yours”

 

Unlike a village (or shopping centre) encounter

– On Twitter you join in any conversation with anyone.

Where IRL (in real life) you’d be eyed somewhat warily approaching a previously unknown person and engaging in a conversation – this is where Twitter comes into its own

Gary Vaynerchuk was the first I heard of expounding how he searched for people on Twitter talking about wines (his interest) to which he’d join in their conversation offering advice, help, assistance and so engage with potential customers.

I use the Twitter Search function to see who is talking about ‘travel’ in ‘australia’ and if I can bowl in with a suggestion of where to go or what to do, I will – I was recently contacted by a tweep in Melbourne who was moving to Brisbane and wanted to know if there was a cycle way crossing the Gateway Bridge – Within minutes he had an answer :)

Twitter turns the world into your oyster

- with the ability to chat to anyone, I engage with:

Fellow businesswomen, travellers, travel destinations and tourist attractions both here in Australia and from around the world.

I group my interests together into ‘lists’ so, to name a few, I have created a:

As numbers grow (I currently follow over 3,000 tweeps and have 5,000 following my antics) it makes it easier to see who is saying what in my various areas of interest, and is also a way of sharing with the wider community of Twitter users the connections that I’ve taken the time to make, so they can simply follow these lists if that is where their interest lies.

It’s fun the number of travellers who are using Twitter, and who are blogging about their experiences on the road. I get the impression many use Twitter as a pool for launching their blog posts, so Twitter is virtually a ginormous RSS feed. What a brilliant resource.

There’s also Travel Talk on Twitter #TTOT

– a Twitter get together for travel lovers.

Go onto Twitter on any Tuesday at 9.30am and/or 9.30 pm Greenich Mean Time and you’ll see 5 questions based around the weekly theme – a travel topic or region – which are posed every 10 mins during the hour, using the hashtag* #TTOT.  (*No matter who you’re following, the #hashtag allows you to see any question or answer that contains this search mechanism: #TTOT). It’s therefore possible for anyone and everyone to follow the fast moving stream of conversation.

If you’re not already on Twitter go to Twitter Search and enter the search term: #TTOT. You’ll then see this week’s question and the myriad of answers that flow in from travellers around the globe, all purporting their views and suggestions on the topic –  Previous topics have included Oceania, Travel Photography, Round the World Travel, Wildlife Travel, Problem Solving on the road… Go to http://search.twitter.com and see what information you can glean from those on the front line.

#TTOT Travel Talk on Twitter

Editor’s Note: There’s also a #expchat on a Thursday! Click #expchat for details :)

But, like any village, Twitter is a transient place

- people come and people go.

Its strange when you’ve been conversing with someone you’ve been seeing around the traps (or in Twitter speak ‘in the stream’) and they ‘disappear’, and you’re left wondering….  It seems I’m not the only one who worries!

Jack McClane, of A Blog About Nothing… Much put up a post last month asking did anyone know of the whereabouts of an active Tweep who last September ceased to post with a ‘final’ tweet saying:

“Sometimes being sick, lasts a long, long time. I haven’t had much energy to keep on things lately. I am getting better though!”

Having interacted with her I too was left thinking was she OK? How is she now? It’s interesting how deep a relationship can become through the Ethernet and in 140 character bursts ~ You’d think on Twitter one’s connections would be merely a fleeting tweeting passing in the stream relationship but real friendships are formed.

Twitter is a village on a global scale where you meet people beyond the confines of your geographic area, and are able to directly approach anybody from any echelon, without any fanfare (with 140 characters to play with, things have to remain concise and to the point).

It’s a place where trials and tribulations are shared, frustrations vented and successes celebrated.  It’s a place where links to quirky facts and interesting items can be universally enjoyed and shared. Twitter is a place that reflects the diverse spectrum of lives and interests from across the world.

Twitter relationships are slow to develop and require gentle nurturing to maintain

- As they are in real life!

On the face of it, Twitter may appear to be a stream of instant messaging, but instant messaging doesn’t equal instant friendships or acceptance into the fold. Relationships whether face to face or in the Ethernet require constant work – They can never be taken for granted.

Today, the fabric of traditional ‘village’ life is being replaced with sprawling suburbs and characterless shopping centres. More and more people are working from the confines of their homes where Twitter is a way of connecting, communicating and spreading the word. It’s a global village of gossip, which in some cases spreads like wildfire (or in Twitter speaks ‘goes viral’) or is left to quietly flow down the stream to be lost at sea.

Twitter is the 21st century’s version

of plain old fashioned word of mouth  :)

If you want to know the global ‘gos’ – Twitter is the place to be!

Are you on Twitter?

Who have you got to know?

Leave your Twitter handle in the comments below

so we can get to know *you* :D

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26 thoughts on “Twitter – Are you all of a flutter? Or still sitting on your perch?

  1. Great post, not sure if tweeting is for me, never was much of a gossiper but it’s certainly working for you, nicely explained. :)

    • Its not only for the gos!
      If you have an area of interest that isn’t shared by people in your immediate locality, and is too niche to be serviced by forums, its a great way to find other people to exchange links and information about your passion :)

  2. Great post about twitter and it relevance to travel, the travel industry and best of all the deeper connections that can come from such a wonderful innovation.

    I so thoroughly enjoy your tweets, Linda! The combination of your tweets and Journey Jotting posts give me holiday bursts at my desk, thank you.

    @sallyfoleylewis

    • Thanks Sally :D
      As you point out the cross-over into different camps is great for broadening horizons ~
      I have to say your business tweets keep me on my toes too ;)

  3. Fabulous post sharing the business value of Twitter as well as social. Twitter is perfect for travel and a great way to connect with others and find out travel tips.

    I’ve been Tweeting for 2 years now (someone Tweeted it or I wouldn’t have known!). I’ve met and engaged with a global community, including your lovely self and some of the other people who’ve commented here. I love that Twitter allows me to connect with people who without it would be impossible or very difficult.

    I love being a contributor and participant in the world outside of my little local community and Twitter enables that so very well.

    @SuellenHughes

    Great post – thanks.

    • I love the scope of Twitter -
      Its incredible that you can listen in to any conversation in the world based on specific interests –
      I wonder whether its particularly appealing to travellers as there really is a sense of the serendipity you experience when on the road – you never know who you’re next going to bump into and strike up a conversation with -
      Thanks for dropping by :)

  4. Great post Linda, I’ve been planning to blog more about Twitter – it’s such a chameleon of a thing: I love trying to explain it to people when they ask:
    - it’s a learning tool
    - you get to experience serendipity
    - explore and share your passions
    - meet interesting people, some of whom you will be friends with forever
    - generate business
    - make the world a better place

    I could go on :-) Here’s one simple example of how used Twitter to bring some joy to another – which made my day!
    http://tonyhollingsworth.wordpress.com/2008/11/02/you-should-be-on-twitter-creating-serendipities-and-building-community/#comments

    Love your work Linda,

    Best,
    Tony Hollingsworth
    @hollingsworth

    • What an image! A serendipitous chameleon creating a community :)
      Twitter certainly is multi faceted and at times hard to explain – but then so many experiences are like that – hard to put into words.

      Thanks for your comment Tony ~ I’m still looking forward to seeing your Black Dog Ride simply summarized on a Map Journal, with your trail dotted on the map, and a few tales highlighted in the borders ;)
      It was such a great trip – and such a great cause.

    • You are a social media natural Kirsty who has led the way ~
      I think you were one of the very first people I ever followed on Twitter – I wonder who the connection was that got us to cross paths in those early days?
      If anyone reading this needs some Twitter hints I can recommend her Social Media Support Guide or just ‘follow’ Kirsty to see how its done :)

    • To me Twitter is a reflection of life… and Life is transient ~ Its like a sand bar: forever shifting with the changing currents!
      Gone are the days when people stayed in the area they were born – we’re a global community that comes and goes – Like businesses… cafes open, things aren’t what they seem and they close.
      But even brief interludes and exchanges can be enriching :)

  5. I’m one of those people who disdained people who were joined to the hip with their computers, making friends with internet acquaintances at the cost of talking to and relating to people in the flesh. While I still think it’s a good idea to get outside, breathe fresh air and meet human beings face to face, I realize the value in cultivating friendships with those who are still human, but unreachable due to geography.

    Developing friendships with them is no less valuable than meeting someone one on one. Sometimes, the conversation can be more real and honest when you are talking to someone you don’t know personally….which can be really refreshing when you feel that you have to be on stage with those you know in real life. Great post and I’m really happy to have been led to your blog….nice to meet you, Linda!
    Renee recently posted..The Inspired Traveler 13 – Laurel RobbinsMy Profile

    • Hi Renee ~
      I’m with you that I wouldn’t want to be only talking to people through a keyboard, but as you concede it’s a great way to get introduced!
      As in our case ;)
      Its also fun, as mentioned in the post above, when you get to meet travellers passing through your neck of the woods!
      Lovely to meet you too ~ Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • The fast response time is amazing isn’t it?
      Why wait for one person to reply to an email when you can instant message and get replies from anyone in the world!
      As you suggest Twitter is increasingly having an effect on the way we receive news, and answers to questions.

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  7. Really enjoyed your analogy of Twitter as a community and the excellent commentary on its transience. Since joining, I’ve been able to appreciate it so much more as a way of communicating with others the world over. I love that people, travellers especially, have banded together in order to create a supportive environment (which transcends just the online arena) in which thoughts and information can be shared and through which people can meet others. Thank you for writing this post. I think the stigma of social media as just a chat/gossip forum needs to be broken, and you have highlighted some of the greater things about it.

    • Hi Hannah ~
      As you say the travelling fraternity appear to have particularly embraced social media – I wonder if that is because both travel and social media are the epitome of change?
      Like you, I love the way online connections transcend the online arena with such travel/travelling tweetups as @travelmassive becoming global :)

  8. Thanks for this informative piece. I’m new to Twitter having, like so many others, dismissed it initially as another time waster full of incomprehensible hashtags and other symbols. But I’m finding it more and more addictive as I work out how to use it. Thanks to blogs like yours I’m getting there! I hope to “meet” many other like-minded people and get involved in the global travel community (in particular).

    Twitter: @FibiTee

    • Hey Phoebe,
      I’m now following you on Twitter!
      Initially, Twitter is a bit like going to a foreign country where as you say the language is incomprehensible.
      But its such fun to be able to openly connect/chat to those that have similar loves (such as travel ;) ) the effort more than pays off.
      Your hideaway in the south of France looks wonderful :)

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