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Subscribe to the Travel Notes Blog Travel Notes: Travel Notes Blog: March 2009

Travel Notes 2.10

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

I've made another tweak to the Travel Notes design and should probably call it Travel Notes 2.10 - as we look forward to 2010.

Hopefully, I won't be tempted to change the look and feel again; at least until we have upgraded all the pages; some going back to version 0.97 - when Travel Notes™ was first launched.

I know, it's embarrassing.

Since our first release, in 1997, there have been many changes in web design and what people expect from their Internet experience.

There is also a lot more competition for viewer loyalty and a lot more noise to sift through; to find the real gems.

Some websites we used to like haven't kept pace, while others have exceeded all expectations.

There's also a lot more e-mail in our inbox and the spam has become ridiculous.

We've also dabbled with database driven content, travel forums and open mailing/discussion lists.

While there were some advantages, the moderation and verifying of all the different forms of user-submitted content just took up too much time. Some sites don't bother to use the power of editorial control, and seem to do quite well, but it's not something that I'm comfortable with.

It takes a keen eye to spot the 'fake reviews' and see through the tricks of cunning marketing hopefuls. Just look at how many 'Press Releases' are around.

Social Media on Travel Notes

Social media has really exploded lately, which is very exciting as I have always embraced the idea of travellers coming together in the form of an online network; having established the 'Network of Travellers' - in The Tropics of Geocities, way back in 1996.

That's why I've now created a Directory of Travel Tweeters on Twitter and will be adding Google's Friend Connect to the newly designed pages on Travel Notes™.

This is a great way for fellow travellers to come together across a large number of websites, so please join us to add your comments.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

This is really something I need to apply to myself more often, and have a new personal work plan to try and help me stay focussed.

Mondays - Africa & Middle East.
Tuesdays - Asia & Oceania.
Wednesdays - Europe.
Thursdays - Latin America & Caribbean.
Fridays - Canada and United States.
Saturdays - General Travel.
Sundays - Travel Articles and Videos.

Of course, 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy' so I will continue to travel and connect with friends online; as work can be fun too.

Follow Michel on Twitter - @TravelTweet.


F1 Grand Prix 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

With the Australian Grand Prix getting the new Formua 1 season underway, on Sunday, I've done the research for you all again; to preview the season ahead, and refreshed the Monaco GP article.

Ayrton Senna in Monaco
Ayrton Senna - © Michel (@TravelTweet)

Formula 1 Travel Article.

Google Street View - Where To Travel?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Google's Street View has been making the news in the United Kingdom more than Twitter lately, as some people were quick to complain about privacy issues.

Offically launched two years ago (25th May, 2007), with San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami, and New York City featured, 'Street View' finally rolled out across the UK; on March 18th, 2009.

The Tour de France route was trialed in July, 2008 and then the 'Google camera car' went driveabout Down Under; focusing the lens on Adelaide, Albany, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Broken Hill, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Geraldton, Hobart, Karratha, Melbourne, Mount Isa, Perth, Rockhampton, Sydney, and Tamworth.

Major French cities (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Lille, Toulouse) were added on October 14th; closely followed by Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Valencia) and Italy (Florence, Lake Como, Milan, and Rome).

You can even view the Valencia F1 street circuit.

New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Wellington) was then opened up to the eye of the world in December, 2008.

Although the Google Map now has plenty of blue markers, there's still nothing in Latin America, Africa, The Middle East or Asia; except for Japan (Chiba, Hakodate, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Saitama, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, and Yokohama).

With so many places to choose from, it's now getting difficult to decide where to travel to from the comfort of your own home.

I zoomed into Europe, moved the map away from the centred United States and zoomed in some more.

Then, instead of trying to peer into the windows of the coffeshops and Red Light District in Amsterdam, I decided to take a drive with Google..... away from London and the new releases..... and down to Lake Como.

If you haven't used the new street view before, view the Google Street View Video.

Street View on Twitter.

Street View Cures the Homesick Blues:
Announcing Street View's arrival in The Netherlands and United Kingdom.

UK A to Z on Google Maps.

Getting Thousands of Followers on Twitter

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Firstly, the disclaimer:
I don't claim to be a 'Twitter expert' (like many people do, and probably are); nor claim to be a 'travel expert' (like many people do, and probably are not); although I have been to more countries than most and use Twitter in a way that appeals to me.

There are quite possibly more 'marketing pros' and 'experts', according to some of the Twitter profiles I've seen, than there are things to market; unless they're all supposed to be pros at marketing themselves - which some people clearly are, while others fail miserably.


Having spent a lot of time on Twitter lately (probably too much) looking at travel-related Twitter profiles I have to ask: If you want - or already have - thousands of followers, is it really worth it?

To get thousands of followers - and keep them - (celebrities excluded) some people tend to follow, or follow back, thousands of people; presuming it's the 'done thing to do'.

This means you'll have more tweets pouring in than you can probably handle and may even miss the sweet tweets from the tweeps you're really interested in.

Credit to the Twitter masters who seem to cope with this, but even some of them admit that they aren't really reading the tweets of all the people they 'follow' but do check the @Replies.

I guess this could be a guage of who's really following and interested enough in what they're following - by the replies received.

The reply feature, however, can also be open to abuse; and with the thousands of people you're following, replying to the thousands of people they're following, it can soon seem like you're sitting in a communications centre with all lines open and plenty of wires crossed (unless you turn the @replies off in your settings).

To Some People, Twitter Seems To Be a Numbers Game

To keep up with the numbers, there are all sorts of tools available to help find people who are more likely to follow you back; to alert you of who isn't following you back; or - heaven forbid - decides to follow you no longer.

Then there are the people who get offended by others, who don't follow back all their followers, and are not afraid to make a tweet about it.

As Evan Williams, founder of Twitter (and Blogger) said, on Mar 12th; in reply to a concerned Natali Del Conte:

"Please ignore follow-ratio nazis. They're confused about what makes Twitter work. To each their own."

And that would be my advice: forget about the numbers; be true to (and about) yourself; use Twitter how you want to; and just be thankful that, beneath all the numbers, there are some people who really are interested about what you have to share online. Aren't there?

Personally, I like to see an interesing mix of tweets from the people I follow and hope to provide the same.

Do I really appeal to thousands of followers? Probably not, if they all expect me to follow them back and get offended if I don't.

To those who do follow me on Twitter, I thank you!

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