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Forkly iPhone App Helps You Find Food and Drink You’ll Love

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Forkly app

A new iPhone app has joined the quickly-becoming-crowded space of food apps. It’s called Forkly and it helps you find food and drink you’ll love. Not only does it help you find new restaurants you might like, but once you’re at the restaurant, it will recommend dishes to try as well based on your own personal tastes.

Brady Becker and Martin May, founders of Brightkite, developed the new app. Forkly has actually been talked about for a year, but it’s finally here and made it’s quiet entrance into the world of apps last night.

Some are comparing this new app to another one called Foodspotting, but they say it focuses more on ratings than the actual pictures of the food, like Foodspotting does. After users note how they feel about a certain dish – like, love, okay or not for me  – Forkly creates a taste graph for each individual user, which helps in letting you know about other dishes you might enjoy.

There are many more features to this app for restaurants and bars, brands and even the media and bloggers. For bloggers in particular, you can share your tastes on Facebook and Twitter while you’re out and about. You can also embed tastes into your blog, as well as earn points when people like the tastes you post.

I can see this easily integrating into a personal, food, or travel blog really well.

Check out more of the features here and download the app at the Apple store here.

So tell us foodie and travel bloggers – how can you see yourself using this app on your blog?

How Travel Bloggers Can Best Use Facebook & Twitter

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… by Jessica Spiegel

Once upon a time, posting high-quality writing or photos or videos on your travel blog was pretty much the first and only step to blogging. Now, unless it’s just your Aunt Jane who’s reading about your trip, there’s all sorts of social media marketing to think about. Whether Google+ (or any other new site popping up in the next three days) is a long-term threat to existing social media platforms remains to be seen, but for now the biggest players are Facebook and Twitter.

Travel bloggers, like bloggers in all genres, are – for the most part – engaged on both Facebook and Twitter, but in different ways and to different degrees. It’s not a science, and can involve quite a bit of trial-and-error, but here are some helpful hints before you dive into the deep end.

How are travel companies using Facebook and Twitter?

It’s not just travel bloggers who use social media – travel companies are, too. Wendy Perrin of Conde Nast Traveler asked a few travel industry pros how their companies use both Facebook and Twitter, and if you’re familiar with the two platforms then the answers aren’t exactly earth-shattering. Still, it’s interesting to hear that big companies like Virgin America and Travelocity not only understand that the platforms are different but also how to use each one in an effective way.

Both Travelocity and Virgin America acknowledge that while Facebook does better with “long-term engagement,” Twitter is better at handling customer service issues, often in real-time. Another perk about the immediacy of Twitter is the ability to generate sharp (albeit brief) peaks of interest, sometimes through promotions like freebies or travel deals. Because Facebook users tend to be on the site longer, that’s where conversations between users of a particular travel brand occur, alongside conversations with the brand itself. It’s a place where hotel or cruise ship guests – self-declared “fans” of a brand or product – can communicate with each other, strengthening brand loyalty and increasing word-of-mouth referrals.

While travel bloggers can learn a bit from the way big travel companies use social media, it’s impossible to keep up with their pace – jetBlue, for instance, has 17 people on staff just to handle the company’s Twitter account. Seventeen people just for Twitter. Can you even imagine what your travel blog’s Twitter account would look like with 17 handlers?

Travel bloggers can, however, engage in personal real-time conversations with readers on Twitter, work toward long-term “fan” cultivation on Facebook, participate in travel chats on Twitter to expand readership/community, and encourage Facebook fans to chat with each other to generate a sense of community. Take your cue from the travel companies – a big part of your time invested in social media is about being responsive.

Which is more valuable for travel bloggers, Facebook or Twitter?

Let’s assume from the outset that you’re going to be on both Facebook and Twitter. Which one deserves more of your time and energy?

As you can probably guess, there’s not a simple answer here. Most people will need to put a certain amount of time and energy into both Twitter and Facebook, but each blog’s readership will help dictate which venue produces the best results and proves most worthwhile. Not only that, the content you post to each platform also has the potential to determine how successful it is. There’s some evidence that Twitter users are more apt to hit the retweet button rather than click through and read something, whereas Facebook users are more likely to click through and read many more posts than they share. Again, tracking traffic will help you figure out what your audience is responding to most so you can adjust your posts accordingly.

Since you probably don’t have a staff of 17 to deal with your Twitter followers, you’ll need to be judicious about how much time you devote to social media. It’s a good idea to try out a few things and see what works for your audience, but here are a few important things to remember:

  • There’s some overlap between Facebook and Twitter users, but it’s far from 100%. When, for instance, you publish something new on your blog, you’d be crazy not to post a link on both Twitter and Facebook. Yes, some people will get the link twice (more times if they subscribe via email), but they voluntarily signed up to receive those updates.
  • Some duplicate posting is fine (see above), but try not to duplicate everything. It can be annoying to think about keeping your blog, your Twitter stream, and your blog’s Facebook page updated on a regular basis without just auto-posting the same thing to each – but it’s a good idea to keep each venue unique. Otherwise, what reason does your audience have to visit? This can be as simple as sharing interesting/related links via Twitter and Facebook to sites other than your own that you think your readers would also enjoy, or doing giveaways that are Twitter- or Facebook-only.
  • There are tools that can make managing multiple social media platforms easier. Heavy Twitter users are likely already familiar with tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite, but did you know you can also update Facebook pages using those tools, too? I’ll confess that I’m a TweetDeck fan but have (as yet) been unable to set up my TweetDeck desktop account to post to my site’s Facebook page (there’s some sort of bug in there I can’t figure out). From HootSuite, however, I’m able to do it easily, including scheduling updates for later times. Having one tool to keep track of both Twitter and Facebook is a huge time-saver.
  • You can’t just be a megaphone – you have to listen and react, too. Posting your links (and other interesting links) to Twitter and Facebook is great, but the critical part of both of these platforms is the “social” part of social media. It’s a conversation, and in order to generate brand loyalty (where your travel blog is the brand) you need to put in the time conversing with your audience – through comments on your blog, Twitter @-replies, and Facebook comments on your page. If you’re not prepared to do that on one or the other of the social media platforms, you might as well not even be there.

You’ve got to go where the community is.

Back in the days of message boards and forums, community was everywhere – and nowhere. These days, the communities on Facebook and Twitter are huge, and any attempt to create a message board now would seem a little silly. The bottom line is that if you want to be in on the conversation, you have to go where the community is – you can’t expect them all to come to you. And for now, that means being involved to some degree with Facebook and Twitter.

>> What are your experiences using Facebook and Twitter to promote your travel blog?

Jessica Spiegel is a Portland-based travel writer with BootsnAll, the RTW travel experts, for whom she writes the WhyGo Italy travel guide. She also writes frequently about things like business travel and finding cheap airfare, and although she participates on both Facebook and Twitter she’s more of a Twitter fan. You’ll find her on WhyGo Italy’s Facebook page and on Twitter as @italylogue.

Image Source: SXC

Travel & the Consumer-Driven Power of the Internet

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GPOYtbex

… by Alisha Miranda

Remember the days when planning a vacation involved sitting at a travel agency researching budget-friendly destinations months ahead of that precious two-week time off? Say goodbye to that, now travel planning is at your fingertips and easier than ever.

Enter: the Internet. Unfortunately for travel agencies, today the rise of social media has given way to more inspiring, informative, and independent platforms to help travelers get on the road the way they want, at any time, with any budget. We’ve come a long way from sitting in those chairs listening to typical tour packages like the Caribbean and Europe being thrown at us. Now, traveling the world is not only possible but also very much tangible and it’s all thanks to the World Wide Web.

As the barrier to entry gets lower, travel partners – which encompasses tourism boards and websites, guidebook companies, community and forum boards, and now travel bloggers – are leading the way in providing free travel tips, shared content, points of interests, and the ever-so-present deals for regular folks to book their own dream trips. Additionally, it seems anyone who has successfully traveled abroad and returned to share his or her stories can be considered a professional traveler. There are endless searches for personalized tips and itineraries to make one’s travel experience that more memorable as people seek out individual interests, preferences in lodging, and unique cultures. Another contributing factor online is niche travel groups, which has formed close-knit communities that foster a global exchange, such as the RTW travelers or ‘round the world travelers, backpackers (not just college students anymore!), career breakers, gap year students, and solo travelers. Easily found via Twitter chats and Facebook fan pages, these niches have grown to become the new “go to” reps for the latest in travel planning, advice, and promotions.

So how does one go about ditching their trusty travel agent and picking up a travel planning 101 guide? Well, for one, content is king. Stay away from the SEO noise, and go for the unique stories and articles that resonate with your desired trip. It takes some digging, but discovering reputable resources such as Matador Network, BootsnAll, and Lonely Planet will provide local insight and value to your research. Also, join a forum online like Twitter’s popularly used #TravelTuesday theme day to ask questions, connect with like-minded travelers, and find helpful articles. You can also find generic sites that discuss how to pack for a trip (whether it’s long term or short term), how to create a budget and stick to it, the best smartphone apps to accompany you on the road, and alternative cost-friendly lodging options such as hostels. The key to online travel is interaction: be an observer at first, then engage others.

To a large part of the world, this “do it yourself” movement may seem intimidating but the fact is we’re evolving, and at an alarming rate. It’s the incredible tool that is the Internet that is allowing us to travel the way we want, even carving the path for “digital nomads” or “location independent” workers. The power has shifted from the top-down, to bottom-up and its time to take advantage of this new era before being left behind.

Won’t you join us?

Alisha Miranda is a Freelance Writer and Social Media Manager based in New York City. Dubbed a proud Travel Geek, she has become known as an ambassador for young travelers, especially solo female travelers, and representing beloved travel communities through each journey. When she’s not settled in at home in Brooklyn, she’s daydreaming of her next trip abroad.

Make Your Next Trip to BlogWorld a Healthy One!

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Raise your hand if you had one too many desserts, alcoholic slushies, or fried food meals while at BlogWorld 2010. Yep, that’s what I thought. I think we all did.

In the days leading up to the event, I posted The Coaching Doctor’s Advice for BlogWorld, an interview I did with Dr. Aamer Iqbal about ways to stay healthy while in Vegas. Now, you can go a step further in learning about health trips while traveling. Today, two of BlogWorld’s speakers, Nathalie Lussier and Andy Hayes introduced a brand new project called Healthy Travel Lifestyle.

Nathalie Lussier is the Raw Foods Witch – yup, a witch – and she has the magick secrets to eating healthy. Andy Hayes is that travel guy, the go to man for all your questions travel. Together, they’re nearly too much awesome to handle in a single place. Not only do they have a new site where you can go to learn about healthy travel to BlogWorld (or any event), but they’re offering a free virtual Healthy Travel Lifestyle Happy Hour on December 7th so you can ask all your health and travel questions and learn more about their project. Hope to see you all there!

Getting Your Blog Noticed by the Pros

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During BlogWorld 2010, travel PR professionals John Forest Ales and Terri Maruca sat down with moderator Stafford Kendall to talk about how to get noticed by the travel pros. While I didn’t get to attend this session live, I’m loving my virtual BlogWorld ticket right now because in listening to the panel, this is relevant for bloggers from every niche who are interested in working with companies to do reviews.

Getting noticed by professionals, whether it be the PR company for a hotel that can give you free accommodations or a publisher that can send you a free book relevant to your blog, comes down to one thing: Build a relationship so you both give and take.

It's not about what they can give you - it's about what you can give them!

You might have a million readers a month, but a lot of bloggers are popular. Unless you have a relationship with a company, the PR person you contact may not know who you are. Or, they might know who you are, but 99% of the time, a PR rep can’t give you free stuff to review. They have to take your request and go through multiple levels to get it approved. A busy restaurant owner probably doesn’t have time to read blogs. They have no idea that you’re a respected expert within your community…yet. If you start to build a relationship, it doesn’t matter if you have ten readers or ten million readers – if you connect to the company, you can show them what you can do for them in terms of promoting their brand. Sometimes, having a small dedicated group of fans looking for something extremely specific is just as good for a company as having a larger community.

When building a relationship, something that is super important is considering what is right for your blog, not just what you can get for free. John and Terri noted that bloggers can sometimes come off as demanding and unprofessional, and often it’s hard to see through the noise of people who don’t actually care about the brand, but rather just want something for free. Let me tell you a bit about my own experiences with doing promotion and reviews while at BlogWorld.

I knew I would be in Las Vegas a day before most people, so I decided to contact some PR agencies with the hopes of doing a few restaurant reviews here on the BlogWorld blog. My thought process was that by highlighting a few places to eat, more BlogWorld attendees would go to those places specifically. The perk for me was getting to eat at some awesome restaurants. The perk for the restaurants was reaching a few thousand people in town for the weekend. Ultimately, I worked with Kirvin Doak Communications to review Border Grill for lunch, Tender for dinner, and Mix for drinks at night. Some of that worked. Some of that didn’t work. All of it was about audience.

First, let me tell you want did work – Border Grill. The food and drinks at all three locations was fabulous, and Border Grill was no exception. But it wasn’t just about my good experience that made this work for a BlogWorld review. Other things that came into play that made this an awesome option:

  • Border Grill was right by the conference location, so most people had to walk past it on their way back to their room. Convenience is the name of the game. They had been seeing it every day and possibly wondering about it, so a review solidified for them the need to stop in and check it out. Tender and Mix were both more out of the way, so if readers wanted to take my recommendation, they had to do a little hunting.
  • The price was right. Bloggers have McDonald’s budgets, so while Border Grill might be a justifiable price for a professional,at $20 – $30 minimum for a meal, this is a splurge for the average BlogWorld reader.  Tender and Mix, while being adequately priced for the quality and service, were just not possible for many people. Had my food not been comped, I would not have been able to afford either of these locations, and I know a lot of other bloggers were in the same boat.
  • Border Grill fit a range of readers’ needs. The atmosphere made it comfortable for readers wearing jeans or readers wearing suits – which was important, considering that some groups had both types of people. The food was also palatable to a wide range of people. It was Mexican, but not in a Taco Bell type of way. I felt comfortable recommending it to everyone I met, without a disclaimer of any kind.

While at BlogWorld, I know that my personal recommendation of Border Grill was responsible for at least three parties of 6+ people eating there or ordering food there, and since BlogWorld, I’ve gotten a few emails from people who traveled to Las Vegas for other conferences but remembered my review and checked out the restaurant. For every person who tells me they ate there after reading my review, there are probably ten people who also did, but just didn’t let me know. Did the restaurant get their money out of offering me a meal there? Absolutely. Tender and Mix? Probably not so much, unfortunately.

Border Grill met the readers’ needs here at BlogWorld extremely well in terms of convenience, price, and range. Again, this extends to non-travel reviewing as well. Will your readers ultimately take action due to your review? Is the product convenient for them? Is the price right? Does it meet the needs of a range of your readers, not just a small fraction of them?

That’s how you get the pros to work with you. Should I review restaurants again next year for BlogWorld, my approach will be different. No matter how much I want a free meal at Tender, it just isn’t a good option for BlogWorld readers. A less expensive burger joint makes more sense. And showing that you’ve done that kind of thinking about your request is what makes a PR rep want to work with you. You’ve not just in it for free stuff. You actually want to promote what they’re doing. Free stuff is just a perk.

When you approach PR companies with any kin of review request, work to build a relationship. Don’t ask what they can do for you. Ask what you can do for them. Be receptive to their ideas, but be prepared with a proposal of your own – and one that has the ultimate potential to show them the biggest return on investment possible for the company. If you deliver for a company, they’ll want to work with you again and again, which is awesome not just for you, but also for your readers.

Thanks to John, Terri, and Stafford for a great panel!

Top Gadgets & Tools For Blogging While Traveling

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As long as you can avoid the dreaded writer’s block, blogging while you’re at home – with a reliable internet connection and maybe even a second monitor – is the easy part. It’s blogging while traveling that can be a challenge.

I’m not even talking about the difficulties of finding time to blog while you’re on the road, either – I covered that topic in a BlogWorld Expo blog post in June. In this case, I’m talking about finding the best tools and gadgets to help make your blogging life easier while you travel.

Best Gadgets and Tools for Blogging While Traveling

What traveler doesn’t like travel gear? Sure, not every traveler is giddy at the thought of bringing the latest tech toys on a trip, but if your blog isn’t taking the same vacation you are then you might want to embrace just enough technology to keep your readers entertained while you’re traveling.

Bringing a desktop computer on a plane clearly isn’t an option, and sometimes even bringing your average laptop doesn’t make sense. My own everyday laptop isn’t huge by normal standards, but the 15″ screen makes it not exactly teeny, either. What’s more, if your whole life is stored on your laptop and something happened to it while you were traveling, you’d have more than a stagnant blog to worry about.

Some computing alternatives that help you blog while traveling are:

  • Netbooks – These tiny laptops aren’t the most powerful machines, but they’re incredibly travel-friendly. Even the best netbooks for traveling aren’t going to be powerful enough for you to do much in the way of photo or video editing, but if you can save that for when you get home then a netbook might be a good choice for you. They’ll stow easily in backpacks and even in many not-huge purses, and if you get one with a solid state hard drive you don’t even have to worry so much about being gentle with it. Blogging while bumping along in a chicken bus? No problem!
  • iPad – For many, the iPad is becoming the travel blogging weapon of choice over the old netbook. It’s definitely a versatile gadget, being more about media consumption than it is about media production, and is far prettier to look at than even the shiniest of netbooks. The main drawback for anyone who’s using an iPad for content production is its lack of an external keyboard (not everyone is skilled at or comfortable with typing on the screen). If your typing needs are minimal and you just want to be able to post the occasional photo or make sure previously scheduled blog posts go up as planned (plus be able to watch movies on long flights) then the iPad may be a more fun travel option than a netbook – and you can always buy a portable iPad keyboard, too. Be sure to get a durable iPad case for your toy, however, since there’s no close-able cover to protect the screen.
  • Smart Phone – Maybe you have no plans to do any blogging while you’re traveling because you’ve cleverly scheduled blog posts or have guest posts going while you’re on the road, but you’d like to be able to moderate comments, make sure posts publish when they should, and perhaps check email. You prefer books to movies on plane rides anyway, and you’re not interested in carrying a laptop-sized anything on your trip. Alrighty, then! A smart phone may be the only gadget you need. The iPhone is the most popular choice these days for traveling bloggers, but it’s not the only choice. There are Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and Flickr apps, for instance, on the BlackBerry and Android platforms, too. Whatever phone you have, just make absolutely sure you’re not going to a destination that will have you racking up enormous roaming and data charges (or that, if you are, you take appropriate measures on your phone to avoid them). Conversely, if you know you’ll need to get online with your smart phone while traveling, make sure you’ll be able to do that from wherever you’ll be.
  • Internet Cafes – Remember when you first started seeing internet cafes popping up when you traveled? Okay, you might be too young to remember a time before internet cafes, but for those of us who are a bit (ahem) older, the existence of an internet cafe sometimes served as the technological drink of water us wandering techno-philes longed for. Those of you who still relish the idea of traveling essentially without tech gear will be happy to know that there are still plenty of internet cafes to be found everywhere from Bali to Barcelona to Bamako. You can never be sure what kind of machinery you’ll encounter – not to mention how many will be on the fritz – and it may take you ages to type even a simple email on a foreign keyboard, but if your computing needs are minimal that may be more of an amusement than an annoyance.

It’s not all about the hardware, of course. So what are some other tools that can help you keep blogging while you’re traveling?

  • Google Docs – Even if you’re bringing your own netbook on your trip, storing an increasing amount of data on it will just slow it down over time. Saving documents out in the web-o-sphere means you can access them from anywhere and you aren’t taking up space on your computer.
  • iPhone Apps – As mentioned above, the iPhone is the most popular choice among traveling bloggers these days, and that’s due in part to the array of travel iPhone apps available. Your iPhone can now be your travel guide, your GPS device, your entertainment, and your blogging tool – in addition to being your phone. It’s not as easy to type on an iPhone as it is to type on an iPad or a computer keyboard, but that hasn’t stopped some people from relying entirely on an iPhone as a computing device when they travel.
  • Automatic Backups – This should go without saying, but too many people still don’t back up their data even when they’re at home… So obviously it needs to be repeated. Get thyself a backup system, people! At home, I have an external hard drive sitting on my desk, but I still use both that and a web-based backup method (I’m a belt-and-suspenders kind of girl when it comes to my data). When I’m traveling, however, the web-based backup is all I have. And don’t think that just because you’re carrying only an iPhone or solely using internet cafes that you don’t need to worry about backups – make sure your blog is set to back itself up regardless of where you are.
  • Travel Insurance – Carrying any amount of expensive tech travel gear is enough to make anyone nervous. Nevermind having your blog go without a new post for a few days, the consequences of having your netbook or iPad lost or stolen aren’t fun to contemplate. If you’re bringing gear that you care about on your travels, be sure to get travel insurance before you leave home. Some trip protection insurance will cover up to $2500 of “personal effects” if something happens to them on your trip, so be sure to look for that when you’re getting insurance quotes. This obviously won’t keep your gear from getting swiped, but if the unthinkable does happen at least you’ll have some recourse to get a new gadget. (And since you backed up all your data, you haven’t lost anything. Right?)

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of the gadgets and tools to keep your blog chugging while you travel. I haven’t even talked about camera gear, for one thing, or the various bags designed to more elegantly tote your gadgets around. So I’m going to conclude with a question – what is your favorite piece of equipment to blog when traveling? What devices make it possible for you to keep up with your blogging duties even while you’re out and about? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Jessica Spiegel is a staff writer at BootsnAll (your resource for all things budget travel) and spends most of her energy on BootsnAll’s Italy Travel Guide, WhyGo Italy. She’ll answer all kinds of Italy travel questions, including how to find cheap flights to Italy, which Italy tours might be worth your time and money, and critical stuff like how to get from the Rome airport into Rome. When it comes to gear, Jessica is more of a netbook girl than an iPad girl, and she won’t go anywhere without a camera (although she’s afraid of water enough that a regular ole DSLR is preferable to even the coolest waterproof digital cameras).

Photo Credit: scriptingnews

Becoming a Destination in the Growing Travelsphere

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Travelblogging didn’t start yesterday. Expats and wanderers have been chronicling their travels online for at least a decade – Lonely Planet and BootsNAll have provided online spaces for travel stories and advice for longer. What is new is the rise of travelbloggers as a recognizable entity and community.

@nerdseyeview and @kag2u blogging from an Iowa campground.

In 2008 I co-hosted Travelblogging for Beginners at SxSW with Sheila Scarborough – it’s the first time I’d seen travelblogging on a conference agenda. The following year saw the launch of TBEX, the Travelblog Exchange, which attracted an audience of 300 travelbloggers in 2010. This year is also the second year of a travelblogging track at Blog World Expo. We are popping up on panels at PR conferences, in Best Of lists, and on daytime TV . We are even scoring book deals. We have arrived.

For a few years, I had a freelance gig for BlogHer. I’d read the travelblogs twice a week. Sometimes I searched for topic specific information – for example, after the flooding in Peru, I wanted to see what travelers were saying about the Machu Picchu region. Other times, I’d click through new blogs looking for inspiration. After four years of this twice weekly browse-fest, I can catalog a post or an entire blog in a few clicks.

Here is the gap year adventurer. Next, a mom dealing with the tribulations of small children and the TSA. Now , another round the world couple living out of their backpacks. Yawn. Yes, I have become jaded and a hard critic in the classic sense of that word. And under that jaded sensibility is a challenge for travelbloggers. As we grow and become easier to pigeon hole, how are we going to stand out? I think there’s a way. And while this is targeted towards travelbloggers, most of this translates to bloggers of any stripe.

Be transparent: I’ve followed with great interest travelbloggers who exposed exactly how much money they were saving prior to their adventures or exactly how much things cost. I stumbled across a blog that had an attached spreadsheet capturing every single dime spent per country with an average for each category and country. I’ve also followed bloggers who report not only how much they earn, but exactly how they earn it and on which domains. This kind of honestly in finance is not only inspirational but provides a much needed reality check to those planning their travels and those with aspirations to make money travelblogging.

Transparency doesn’t just apply to finances, though. Use it for press trips, anything that’s sponsored, giveaways, reviews: disclosure isn’t just a legal consideration, it builds trust.

Share your expertise: Be it a specific destination or a style of travel, targeting your expertise to your audience – parents traveling with children of a certain age, or Honduras or Hawaii or Hanoi — digging deep into your topic ties you to both the curious and the enthusiastic. And you’re helping! You’re offering up useful, concrete, actionable information about traveling with a wheelchair or finding the best gelato. Those you help are your advocates; they’ll help you stand out in return for sharing your knowledge.

Have a presence: Ah, it’s so lovely to dream of the day when all I’ll do is write posts for my own blog. Ideally, this is accompanied by lucrative speaking gigs (backed with a luscious per diem and all expenses paid.). Never mind all that. Showing up elsewhere is good for your reach. This might be a blogging gig for a network site, but it can be many other things – engaging on Twitter and Facebook, hosting meetups , thoughtfully placed guest posts, or sharing your platform with good causes. No meetups near you? Start something, even if it’s just coffee with a travelblogger across town.

Tell it like it is: Lose your luggage in the airport and your lunch over the rail on the boat? Fall in love with the surf shack boys even though your adoring husband is right behind you on the sand? Fear for your life on that taxi ride to Monteverde? Bring all that emotion with you to your blog – travel or otherwise. There are servers chock full of sanitized for your protection travel “content”, there’s no need for more of it. Bring your sincerity and wonder, your fear and aggravation, this is your story. Make it live for others and they will love you for it.

Pam Mandel is a freelance writer and the blogger behind Nerd’s Eye View . She’s a cofounder the travel social gathering, SCOOT (Seattle Consortium of Online Travel) and Passports with Purpose, the annual travelbloggers fundraiser.

Photo Credit: Photo by road trip buddy @pwcarey

Go Where The Geeks Are: Why Tech Events Matter for Tourism And Travel

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Panel: Tourism Currents workshop on social media for tourism
Speakers: Sheila Scarborough and Becky McCray
Date/Time: October 14, 09:45 – 5:00

Those who want to connect with visitors online need to speak their language, understand their communication tools and appreciate their culture and etiquette. Your CVB (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) cannot make smart decisions about destination marketing in a digital environment unless youíre smart about how your visitors function in that environment.

To really comprehend how wired people use social media and technology – particularly mobile devices, in ways you probably don’t expect – you have to be immersed in their world. Saying hi to your teenager on Facebook (IF she’ll friend you back!) only gives a partial picture.

You need to do what networking expert Thom Singer calls, “Run With the Herd of the Nerd.”

Tech events are one giant market research opportunity. Watch how people use Twitter, see how they shoot photos and send them immediately to Facebook from their phone, note how they conduct quick hallway interviews with handheld video cameras and how they look for ideas on where to eat and party (hint: it’s probably Yelp/UrbanSpoon or Gowalla/Foursquare, not a brochure from a hotel lobby rack.)

This is why we’re excited to bring tourism organizations to BlogWorld; it gives them the chance to connect with some of the thousands of bloggers, podcasters and other online content creators who can help spread the word about a town, city, heritage highway, state park or downtown cultural district.

We’re designing a hands-on, no-fear social media seminar that will introduce tourism folks to our “geek world” and show them how it can upgrade their communications work. Rather than have people come to this huge tech event and be rather overwhelmed, we will take the time to give them the lay of the land, and show them how to listen online and how to connect with the people who will want to talk about their town and help tell its stories.

There is no other event that gives tourism professionals both an in-depth educational session plus the opportunity to meet thousands of online publishers, in one economical package in one place.

(And pssst: you can get 20% off of a BlogWorld pass with the code TC20. Jussayin’.)

The flip side is that many bloggers have no idea that there are organizations that exist solely to promote tourism and travel to wonderful places.

Are you a travel blogger? There are CVBs that would love to meet you.

Are you a food blogger? Plenty of CVBs would be happy to tell you about their wine trails, restaurants and agritourism opportunities on local farms.

Are you a parenting blogger? There are tourist boards who are full of ideas for family-friendly fun in their town.

Are you a craft or quilting blogger? There are tourism folks who can show you amazing craft shows and quilt trails.

Tech and social media stuff moves fast, and organizations need to keep up in order to make intelligent decisions about whether to incorporate the latest whiz-bang thing into their marketing efforts. Don’t feel intimidated, though; we feel strongly that technology is for everyone, not just wired geeky types.

At events like BlogWorld, you will be surrounded by the future of communications….right now….today.

Sheila Scarborough is a writer specializing in travel, tourism and social media. Along with Becky McCray, she is the co-founder of Tourism Currents, an online community focused on social media and technology training for tourism professionals. She thinks everyone ought to have a passport and experience jet lag. You can follow her on Tourism Currents and Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff. Sheila is also on Twitter @SheilaS and @TourismCurrents

Travel Porn with Gary Arndt

Author:

BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010
Travel Track
Friday, October 15th

Travel Porn: Watching people do things you’ll never do in places you’ll never go

Presented by Gary Arndt, creator of Everything-Everywhere.com

In March 2007, Gary sold his home and set out on an adventure to see everything, everywhere. Since then, Gary has blogged from over 70 countries and territories and met hundreds of his readers and fellow travelers in cities around the world. He still is permanently traveling, sharing his experiences with his audience.

Prior to starting his global adventure, Gary was a serial Internet entrepreneur. In 1994 he founded Creative Internet Solutions, one of the first Internet consulting firms to focus on data driven, web application development. In 1998 he founded of one of the largest network of gaming websites, Stomped. Larger firms successfully acquired both companies.

He has been mentioned in such publications as Time, CNN.com, El Mundo, FoxNews.com, MSNBC.com, and other major news outlets around the world. Independent blog analysis company, Konector, named Gary as one of the three most influential bloggers in the travel industry. He is also the host of the popular This Week In Travel podcast and has a travel photography column for the WashingtonTimes.com.

Everything Everywhere was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Best Blogs of 2010, the first and only travel blog to ever receive that distinction.

Gary’s perspective is different from most travel writers, and his unique, honest point of view has been key to his success.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to hear Gary’s secrets of enticing voyeurs to the travel blog. Be sure to check out his presentation of Travel Porn, during the Travel Track at BWE10 on Oct 15.

Follow Gary on Twitter: @EverywhereTrip

5 Tips to Keep Up a Travel Blog While Traveling

Author:

At the 2009 BlogWorld Expo I wasn’t quite sure what to expect interest-wise for the travel track, and was pleasantly surprised to see most of the seats full in the travel sessions. One question that was asked (and echoed by more than one attendee) was how to keep up a travel blog while you’re actually traveling – something that can be tougher than you’d think.

If your blog is mainly about travel, you’d better develop a system for keeping it alive while you’re traveling or you may want to rethink the whole “having a blog” thing. But what if your blog isn’t focused solely on travel, but you happen to like traveling and like the idea of blogging about it while you’re out and about? If you’re not used to blogging while traveling, it can be a difficult adjustment. Here are five tips to help make sure that your blog doesn’t completely stagnate while you’re on the move.

1. Go Old School

Remember paper? Get reacquainted with it. Even if you’re bringing a netbook or other device for writing blog entries, it won’t always be convenient to (a) have it with you, and (b) get it out to write on. Bring at least a pocket-sized paper notebook and a pen you like (if you hate the way it writes, you won’t use it – and if you aren’t using it, what’s the point?). Personally, I love pretty much everything Moleskine makes, but choose the notebook that works best for you. If you’ll be doing any longer-form writing by hand, bring a bigger notebook as well.

And then – here’s the critical part – use them. Take copious notes. Write down stuff you think you’ll remember (you won’t). Jot down quick messages to trigger your memory later, but elaborate on those quick messages before you get to the point when you can no longer read your own code. With all of these notes, you’ll have ample material for writing actual blog posts whenever you have the time to sit down and write them (most likely, for weeks or months to come).

2. Photograph Everything

You’re traveling, so it’s likely you’re already snapping photos here and there, but your camera can also be a note-taking tool. In fact, the best tool a lazy note-taker can carry is a digital camera. A plaque on the wall explaining why that cool building is important? Get a picture of the plaque after you’ve gotten your shot of the building. Planning to write a more travel guide-y piece on your favorite museum? Get a photo of the sign with the museum’s hours and ticket prices before you leave.

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