The unbelievable Oregon coastline. (Photo: liquidskyarts)
Six weeks ago I conducted my first social media travel experiment. I posed a simple question and let your responses to me on Twitter and this blog dictate exactly what I did on a 12-day roadtrip with my brother from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada.
No packing or planning was done before jumping in the car (the best proof of this: I needed a friend to FedEx my passport to Seattle so I could get into Canada).
I’d done the trip from SF to Mexico several times, often meticulously planned, and this trip — my first up through the northwest coast — was both more fun and less stressful. Here is the progression of my “tweets” (Twitter entries), beginning with the first question…
Off Wed. on a road trip with my bro from SF to Portland, Seattle, then Vancouver. What are your top B&B and must-see picks? B&B rec’s pls! 02:26 AM June 17, 2008
Voodoo Doughnut’s delicious Maple Bacon doughnut and meth-high-inducing Grape Ape doughnut.
Any recs for vancouver meetup spots and sleeping? Must do’s? 04:36 PM June 26, 2008
Day 12-Fly Seattle to SF for $98 on Alaskan; ship car from Seattle to SF for $640 www.ableautotransport.com = $ than hotels and gas 09:44 PM June 30, 2008
Links above, when not written out using shorthand from SnipURL, were added for this blog post.
200 Tweets – My Thoughts on Practical (vs. Addictive) Uses of Twitter
I don’t follow anyone on Twitter. To some, this is sacrilege.
Let me explain the main reason of several that I don’t follow people:
Imagine that you send an email to 10 people inviting them to a party, but you BCC 100 more casual friends who are uninvited. How will those 100 feel? Offended and somewhat resentful, just as I would.
Twitter is like this: all followers and followees are transparent. I can’t follow a single person without risking irritating hundreds. This problem is the same for someone who has 40 followers as it is for someone with 40,000. I avoid the drama and politics by following no one. I do this because I don’t care to be a hypocrite (low-information diet, etc.) and do care about my followers, not because I’m uninterested in them. I track some of my followers regularly but don’t “follow” in the formal sense.
I “follow” my close friends via food, wine, texting, and — for old classmates — Facebook.
Here are several quotes about Twitter relevant to my 3 personal rules of Twitter use:
“Twitter is a community. It’s not all about you. Engage your peers by asking them questions”
–Micki Krimmel, video blogger and host of Mickipedia
“Don’t try to impress–just be yourself. But go a little beyond your comfort zone; share something you’re hesitant about sharing.”
–Evan Williams, co-founder of Obvious, which created Twitter
[my panel interview with Evan here]
Here are my 3 basic “Twittiquette” rules of using Twitter:
1. Add value if you consume attention.
I use Twitter as a “micro-blogging” platform, exactly how it’s most often described. Just as I wouldn’t put up a blog post that reads “just ate a burrito. Mmmm… good,” as it consumes readers valuable attention without adding value, I wouldn’t put up such a post on Twitter. On the other hand, “Just had an incredible mahi-mahi burrito at [best unknown taco stand] in San Diego. Must-eat: www.website.com In NYC, try: www.website2.com” adds value with actionable details. Mundane perhaps, but still a cool “to-do” that ethnic food lovers can tuck in the back of their heads.
Some self-indulgent tweets are fine, but make sure 90%+ help or entertain your readers somehow. Information empty calories are parasitic.
2. Use the tool for its best purposes and ignore the rest.
Use a tool for what its best suited to do. Don’t make a Swiss army knife out of every social media tool or you’ll end up with nothing but overwhelm, passive-aggressive “friends,” and a dozen separate inboxes.
I use Twitter to broadcast time-sensitive suggestions, questions, events, random facts, and happenings, and other ideas that don’t justify an independent blog post. I don’t want another IM program.
I hate page view-driven sites that force features on users in the quest for more clicks. 500+ unread messages on Facebook? 600+ unread requests on LinkedIn? That’s what e-mail is for.
3. Linking is fundamental to adding value.
Twitter is perfect for honing your word economy and value-to-attention contribution: offer a brief takeaway and quicks links to more resources for those interested. Minimal attention impact for the uninterested with gateways to more goodies. Here are a few recent examples.
Thanks to all for the killer suggestions for my trip! Much crazier stuff coming if you want to follow me here.
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.