Sheila Guides You to the Good Stuff

May 24, 2009

So Much More Hawaii – talking travel story with blogs

Beach Office (courtesy Scott Ableman on Flickr CC)Next week, my 9-year-old son and I are heading west from Texas to spend 10 full days in the Hawaiian islands, all because of blogging and Twitter.

Through my tweets, writing and particularly my travel blogs, I’ve gotten to know Christine Lu of Cilantro Media and several people who work in tourism for the state of Hawaii.  They’ve gotten to know me and my enthusiasm for social media in tourism.

To connect digital creatives with a beautiful place, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is bringing a group of prominent bloggers to Hawaii to “talk story” about what we find on Kauai, Maui, the Big Island and Oahu. I’ll be the blogger who mostly covers family travel.

The tour is called So Much More Hawaii (full Web site up in the next day or so. Meantime, add your best pics to our Flickr pool.)  (Update – here is the So Much More Hawaii blog/microsite that includes our content plus that of local bloggers.)

I was on Christine Lu’s China 2.0 tour in November 2008,  and social media is a common theme in her life for creating those connections.  She writes:

“The upcoming ‘So Much More Hawaii’ tour is meant as a proof of concept that through social media, first-hand insight of Hawaii can create content and outreach that influences those to understand Hawaii better and want to visit the islands…key bloggers in different vertical niche markets [will] experience the islands as a group, with separate sector focuses. Each one has a sector they are known for covering and their visit to Hawaii is meant to share this with their audience.”

Other bloggers on the tour include:

As we all know, the economy is down around the world. The Hawaii tourism industry is in crisis right now and the outlook is grim.  I applaud Christine and others for seeking new, more effective ways to use social media to showcase the islands for potential visitors.

Here are some of the blog posts already online about So Much More Hawaii:

Keep an eye not only on this blog but also on the Perceptive Travel Blog, my Twitter stream and the @HawaiiHTA stream (we’re using hashtag #HawaiiHTA.)

Just So You Know Disclaimer:  The Hawaii Tourism Authority through Cilantro Media is paying my way to Hawaii, and also paying most of my expenses while I am there including lodging.  I am contributing to my son’s expenses. The point of the trip is to bring experienced bloggers and communicators to the islands to talk about what we see; my primary focus will be on travel with kids. No one has told me that I cannot post negative information. No one has told me that I must say positive things.  I will be as objective as I can possibly be.

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May 14, 2009

Share your virtual cookies with your imaginary Internet friends

Sheila shares a social media cookie in Hutchinson, Kansas (courtesy Becky McCray on Facebook)As soon as our gaggle settled in for the first meeting on the blogger’s tour in Hutchinson, Kansas, we started whipping out the laptops, cameras and other geek accoutrements.

That’s what those who are wired into the social web do – we start connecting immediately.

Bloggers are natural connectors, but we do it differently than some, and we use Web tools in ways that seem strange to the unplugged.

Sitting around the table, we introduced ourselves and ate box lunches while we yakked, tweeted and photographed everything.

At one point, I pulled this enormous cookie from my lunch and made some joke about it, and small business whiz Becky McCray pulled out her camera to take a photo.

You could sense that our Hutchinson hosts thought we were a bit silly, photographing everything, but I said, “Just you wait, this cookie can get around, and we’ll use it to talk about your town.”

  • The “Hutch cookie” lives on Becky McCray’s Facebook profile under Photos. More importantly, it’s in the Hutch Blogger Tour set. That set shows people some of the neat stuff we saw in Hutchinson (and every time she uploaded something to it, everyone in her Facebook network saw it.)
  • I tweeted about the cookie after the “Share your cookies with your imaginary Internet friends” was posted.  Because the post was hashtagged with #Hutch (the Hutchinson-related hashtag) it also shows up in Twitter Search.

Yes, it’s only a cookie. It’s a seemingly pointless photo; but, it will live on forever, and so will our words about Hutchinson, Kansas.

THAT’S why the Web is powerful as hell.

April 29, 2009

How to respond to a negative blog review

crayola-state-crayon-collection-courtesy-acidcookie-at-flickr-ccThis morning I Stumbled a post on the Travels with Children blog; it’s a fairly negative review of the Crayola Factory in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Author Linda didn’t feel that the place met her expectations for a creative experience for her kids. There was no “wild blogger” ranting or digital spittle – she was simply disappointed in what visitors get there for their money and time.

Since she linked to the Crayola establishment (they should see that by monitoring inbound links/backlinks) and wrote about them as “Crayola Factory in Easton, Pennsylvania” (which any decent Google Alert should catch) I would expect a sharp PR/marketing person from the company to check out the post and leave a comment.

You know, at least something along the lines of “We’re sorry you were disappointed, we’ll take your ideas into consideration, we have a facility redesign in the works, blah blah.”

Figure the odds that anyone actually does that.

A quick glance would show anyone that Linda’s blog isn’t the home of some pajama’d nutcase. She has active and engaged readers who are interested in her family travel topic.

The business communications world often still doesn’t get it, so the review will probably sit there, unanswered.

To me, that’s a lost opportunity for Crayola to reach out to customers and possibly turn a negative impression into a positive one.

Your thoughts?

Social Media Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

April 27, 2009

The Web is made for the tourism Little Guy

The Little Guy frog (courtesy snappybex on Flickr CC)So I’m invited on a blogger’s tour of a small town in Kansas.

I’d never heard of Hutchinson, and maybe neither have you.

Sure, I reacted with a skeptical, “Um, uh, what the heck is there?!”

So I went, and there’s a LOT there.

All of us on the trip blogged about it, photographed it, talked about it on Twitter and shot video, because that’s what wired writers do.

Here, look at what the WhatsUpHutch blog compiled, a mere snapshot in time….

My stuff (here)(here)(some Twitpics)(Video)(blogpost )(photos)(blogpost)
Bill Genereux’s (here ) (here )(photos here )
Deb Brown’s (here here)(pics)(Twitpics )
Becky McCray’s (here )(here )(here)(here )(some Twitpics )
Patsy Terrell’s (here)(blogpost )
Jeanne Cole’s (Twitpics)(blog)
Naomi Shapiro’s (blogpost)
Todd Vogts’ (blogpost)
Kim’s (Kim didn’t even make it to Hutch, but was excited about the idea and wrote a quick post) (blogpost)

If you’re at all involved in tourism and you don’t represent, you know, freakin’ Paris or New York, you might want to think about how your town, property or destination could benefit from Long Tail coverage by a bunch of blabby bloggers.

Or, keep doing lots of those billboard buys and putting stacks of brochures in the Hampton Inn lobby.

Jussayin’….

April 26, 2009

What’s in it for me?

Filed under: Why Am I Here? Philosophy of this Blog — Sheila Scarborough @ 11:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Wistful Thinking (courtesy qbird! at Flickr CC)When should you continue to be part of a team, and when should you strike out on your own?

At what point do you start to question whether your individual efforts for the benefit of a team are not worth the benefit to you, personally?

When should you take a gimlet-eyed view of your output vs input and ask, “What’s in it for me?”

Confidence in your own talents and abilities is critical.

When you’re less confident in your abilities, you’ll do anything for a team because you figure it’s not possible to make it on your own.  It’s learning time.

As you gain confidence, it’s normal to begin (even almost unconsciously) measuring the value of what you’re providing and comparing it to the value of what your team brings to you.

I am at that point.

I’m not sure that I like being here.

I’m thinking about it.

I’m grateful for mentors and friends like Liz and Becky and events like SOBCon, so I don’t have to think alone.

September 17, 2008

I guide you to the good stuff, online and off

I’ve blogged (and still blog) for lots of other sites, using several different platforms and themes, but ironically, I’ve never started a blog of my own from the ground up.

Today, it’s time to do that.

I want a space to write about the topics that I don’t already cover in my family travel, cultural travel, motorsports or on other Web 2.0/social media sites.

I want to write about helping people find “the good stuff.”  I’m your guide to quality information, destinations and thoughts, wherever I find them.  If I’m going to be a know-it-all, I might as well be a helpful one. 🙂

Thanks for listening.

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