At my last job in Philly, I was partially in charge of running my magazine’s Facebook page. I did a pretty good job growing the profile and the followers and posting content daily. Not long before I was laid off, we had a meeting one day with our Web coordinator. She said, “We want every pub to set up a Twitter account.”
I checked out this Twitter. I thought it was dumb. It was like Facebook on speed, a race to see how many inane 140-character statuses you could up with in a day. I didn’t care what people were saying or posting about, I didn’t understand why there were hashtags everywhere, but more than that, I thought it was a ginormous waste of time.
A year-and-a half later, I’m on Twitter more than any other social media site, writing my own inane statuses for all to see. I have fully caved in to its power.
I don’t have a job in social media, but most of you know I’m a freelance writer and can, therefore, draw the conclusion that I benefit from Twitter by being able to post my stories to a wider audience. It has been very useful in this way, and naturally, it’s also been great for connecting me with others in my field from all across the globe.
But I really love Twitter for other reasons. Namely, because it introduced me to the travel community and helps me stay in touch with my old life.
Back when I first got my work and holiday visa and was still trying to go full-time with freelance, I began to explore Twitter a little more. And I liked what I was finding. I saw a bunch of people who were travelers or who, like me, were getting ready to travel or move abroad. I started searching for people who had been to Australia or a nearby country like New Zealand and people who lived there. Some of the folks I found were The Aussie Nomad, Backpacking Matt and Heels and Wheels, just to name a few.
This Twitter travel community became invaluable because its members gave me insights and tips about my upcoming journey/life change. They gave me inspiration and knowledge in the form of blog posts, articles and travel news. They answered tweets and DMs about logistics and visas and customs. More than anything, they made me feel like I could actually do what I was about to do, because they had either already done it or were planning to.
On the keeping in touch with home front, just this afternoon, I was Tweeting with two dudes I knew in Philly about the Phillies/Giants game (congrats, Phils). We were bantering about Jayson Werth’s beard and it hit me that there I was, so far from home and my long-time friends, but still cheering on my old city’s team, still hooked into the frenetic fever of a close game, still involved at 2 p.m. in the afternoon on a Friday as the East Coast was nearing midnight.
Trust me, I know nothing beats face-to-face communication and quality time with the people you care about. But when you’re straddling two worlds, it’s nice that technology can give you a helping hand in staying connected.