The micro-blgging site Twitter has seen a big increase in traffic including yours truly. I have already showcased Twitter sports reporting, now the same journalist is using it for his day-job as travel writer for The Guardian.
Benji Lanyado used Twitter on a trip to Paris, taking tips from fellow-Tweeters to uncover hidden gems in the French capital. Results are mixed:
“At first there were a number of, ahem, Tweething problems. My first two tips sounded good, but both were closed. By the time I’d arrived at these, the other suggestions I’d received were miles away. But with the ability to take pictures and post them live, I kept myself amused snapping riverside table-tennis, the Quai de Jemappes and a very dreary-looking carousel. The sky matched my mood. This wasn’t going well.”
But once he gets into his stride and onto his phone Twitter undoubtably works:
“Just before I went to bed, I asked for a tip for breakfast. I woke up with 13. Intrigued by her promise of “huge 19th-century room, cheap food, rude waiters” at Chartier, I went with MsMarmiteLover, despite her inauspicious taste in breakfast condiments. Chartier was truly magnificent, dripping in Belle Epoque grandeur. And as foretold, the waitress was magnificently rude. Superb. But I kept on going, and opted for Pick-clops in the Marais, thanks to alicektg, and ordered a Norvegienne tartine, thanks to snooman.”
“I could have found lots of good tips had I used a Time Out Guide or planned furiously in advance, but I certainly wouldn’t have had as much fun. The biggest overall impression? I’ve never felt so accompanied while travelling alone. And with the Ateliers d’Artistes in Menilmontant, the Hotel Eldorado and the one-room gallery in St Germain, Twitter yielded true travel gold.”
My favourite aspect of this type of travel technology, apart from the serendipity and sharing, is the reporting. The clever maps and photos turns it into a really enjoyable and useful bit of networked journalism.