Thursday, September 6, 2012

Has Social Media Changed How You Travel?

In my line of work (sales), I'm on the road -- a lot. Strike that; I'm up in the air -- a lot. And because of that, it can be really hard to keep up with family and friends, and really what's happening around you.

But social media has provided a great help to me for dealing with that. Sites like Twitter and Facebook allow me to keep up with what everyone's doing, where they're going, and the like. It's made being away from everyone for extended periods of time, a lot easier (not that being away is ever easy).

But there are a couple of key things that I think social media has really done to make traveling easier:

1. The obvious one -- If I can't be there with you, let me at least stay updated what you're doing
As alluded to above, being able to connect with people via social media sites like Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter, allow me to keep up with what's happening, even if I'm not there physically.

2. If you can't see me, let me show you what I'm doing
Sites like FourSquare and Instagram provide great avenues to share what I'm doing (as well as the aforementioned sites). Most of my travel is not glamorous (Jackson, MI anyone?), but sometimes there are cool sights that I want to share with my friends and family, and these tools allow me to do just that.
Not a bad view, no?

3. Man, I've been here forever...
Probably the best thing social media has done for travel is to help pass the time. Whether it's sitting on the tarmac, in the lounge or at a restaurant in the airport, social media sites provide a great way to pass the time, without just browsing random articles. Whether that's true for everyone or not, I don't know, but I do think it's better to spend time interacting with your friends than reading random news articles and whatnot.

4. Influencing where to go/stay
When I book travel, I'm not only interested in being close to where my meeting is, but also staying somewhere that others have recommended. Reading comments and ratings not just for the hotel, but for local restaurants and attractions is really an important factor. Without social media, that's not happening.

So, has social media changed how you travel? And if so, how?

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