One of the things that crossed my mind numerous times on my most recent trip was how much of a role social media updates play in our travels. Full disclosure: I often had this thought while getting ready to post travel pictures to Twitter or Facebook. It got me thinking about travel now (when you can basically share every aspect of your journey no matter where you are) to travel before you could tweet every bus ride taken, meal ordered and beer enjoyed.
So, if you didn't tweet it, were you really there?
Of course you were there, in a literal sense, but what do the constant updates do for the traveler? We say they're just to ensure friends and family back home are kept up to date on what we're doing (and yes this is a huge bonus of being able to be online where you are), but are all those shots of the beach, lovely meals, interesting sights and remote jungles really necessary to let people know I'm doing OK? No, an email would suffice for that, or a quick "landed in Singapore" update on Facebook.
Comments, re-tweets and "likes"
Let's face it, photos of your great street food snack (along with the 35 comments it gets), or the re-tweets of your tweet about something everyone else wishes they were doing somehow boost the experience itself. You can relive that amazing bite, or unforgettable moment every time someone comments, "likes", re-tweets, etc.
I thought about whether I could go a whole trip (whether for two weeks or two months) without updating to Facebook or Twitter - I thought that if I could manage it, that might somehow be a worthy travel challenge to undertake. But in reality, I want to share what I'm doing because I'm thrilled that I'm doing it and proud of myself for making my travel dreams happen. I'd also like to think that someone might be inspired to travel or seek out something I've seen or done based on an update I've posted.
What about you? How much of a role does social media play in your travels?