A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Let’s Get Social

A story that I hope doesn’t turn into a metaphor for a couple of aging boomers blogging their way around the world:

Recently a friend was bar-hopping in Georgetown, a trendy neighborhood in Washington, D.C. It’s the kind of place you could find yourself in a restaurant or bar sitting next to a second-tier actor, a reality TV star, a cable news pundit or a Congressman who should be home with his wife and kids.

On the night in question my friend was in and out of bars filled with young people. Though nearly 50, he felt younger as the night wore on. I’m sure it was the atmosphere, the company, the drinks. Okay, maybe it was the drinks.

It was getting late, people were pairing off and heading home, and soon my friend found himself chatting with a very attractive bartender. He was on his game. And though the bartender was considerably younger, he could feel the connection.

When closing time came he decided to make his move. The beautiful bartender brought his bill. He started to speak; he wasn’t slurring his words too badly.

Before he could finish his illicit thought, the bartender took his hand, looked him in the eye, and said very directly: “You old guys never know when to go home.”

Sometimes, when I’m exploring a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter, I feel like my friend must have felt that night. There’s this great party going on, and people at the party will let you hang around, but really, you’re too old to be there and shouldn’t you be home anyway?

So what is this “social web,” “social networking,” and “social media” – and what does it have to do with a travel blog?

Quite a lot, I’m finding. A significant percentage of The Wide Wide World’s traffic now comes from communities on the web where we have a presence.

Here’s a quick roundup.


In theory, Facebook is a place where you could track all your friends thoughts, activities, hopes and dreams on a minute-by-minute basis. But to do that, all your friends need to be on Facebook.

This is where I feel a little bit like my friend in the Georgetown bar, where I’m talking to a lot of young people who are thinking: “The old guy always stays too late.”

But if you are on Facebook, you’ve got a friend in me.


People think of Flickr as a place where you can share your pictures – but it’s much more than that. It’s a thriving community of photographers where you can join an almost unlimited number interest groups, share your work and get feedback.

We’ve joined several travel photography groups and plan to submit trip pictures to their “pools.”

You can find a picture of almost anything on Flickr nowadays, and the quality of the photography is often amazing. In the past, so much good work went unnoticed because a range of gatekeepers stood in the way. Through the Internet – and sites like Flickr – talent can find an audience. (Monetizing it may be another matter, though).

If you are a Flickr user, we’d love to have you as a contact.


New video sharing/hosting sites are cropping up everywhere – every day, it seems, I learn of a new video hosting site touting a particular advantage.

We set up The Wide Wide World “channel” on YouTube because nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM (at least, not until the late 1990s.)

Dani and I both have experience in film and video production, though we’ve been out of that business for many years. It’s been fun to re-activate that part of our brains – and think through how to document our trip with video.

We’ve got big plans to bring The Wide Wide World to the small screen. (The 2 x 2 inch YouTube “screen” that is).


I never really understood the utility of Twitter till I started using it. Now let me see if I can explain it.

Twitter allows users to share 140-character “micro-blog” posts in real time. Users can easily create and share these short posts, called “tweets” through the Twitter web site, with their cell phone or PDA or by email.

Our postings to Twitter appear in the right hand sidebar under the heading “Right Now.” These what-are-we-doing-right-now micro-posts are likely to be the most reliable gauge of where we are and what we are doing on a day-to-day basis.

If you are already using Twitter, we’d love to follow you and we hope you’ll follow us.

Del.icio.us Bookmarks

If you’re wondering what social bookmarking is, take a look at this short video – it makes the concept understandable.

As I’ve surfed the web late at night, I’ve built a pretty good set of bookmarks. I’ve identified cheap hotels in Tokyo, tour providers in Vietnam, cave hotels in Turkey and the best travel guide to Southeast Asia.

There’s strength in numbers, so if you’re not a del.icio.us user, sign up today and start sharing your bookmarks.


With so many people using so many different types of social networking web sites, how do you keep track of what your friends are doing? FriendFeed helps.

It pulls together a person’s activities across a wide range of different sites and distributes a single feed of online activity. Here’s an example of the feed I created and set to publish on my Facebook page.


Lastly, I wanted to mention this powerful little tool that you will find at the bottom of each of our blog posts. The ShareThis widget lets you do just that – share a blog post you like across a dozen different social media platforms (e.g., digg, stumbleupon, reddit, mixx, technorati etc.) or forward the post to a friend.

When you “share” a post using this tool, it can have a dramatic effect on site traffic. We’ve had the most visitors to The Wide Wide World on days when someone rated or reviewed the site or shared a post using the ShareThis tool.

So, if you read something you like, by all means, share it.



1 Will { 06.10.08 at 3:50 am }

Way to make me feel like an old guy…
Really, I think I’m pretty tech savvy…maybe that’s why I loathe myspace…or maybe I just simply don’t get the appeal. I really think it’s the cesspool of the internet…

There is definite value in social networking…I’ve had especially good luck with some of the bookmarking/sharing sites. maybe I’ll try twitter…I’ve got a couple of articles I’d really like to promote because I think they have great entertainment and information value…

Anyhow, good to hear what you’re having luck with

2 Christine Gilbert { 06.11.08 at 4:39 pm }

Great post. I think the key to any of these social networking sites is that you have to honestly use them. The best way to be the “old man” at the bar is to just jump in, start linking all your stuff, give up and let your profiles gather dust. (Not that you’re doing this, just want I’ve seen other folks do).

I spend at least 90 to 10 ratio…. 90% of the time making friends, promoting other people’s work and 10% I might mention something I have done. The people who don’t “get it” fade out pretty quick. But I’m a strong believer that the best self promotion is selfless promotion.

Off to stumble your site now… 🙂

3 Cris { 07.12.08 at 9:23 pm }

Hi Craig, have you heard about Flock?
I found it when I saw the Webby Awards Winners… it won the category of “social networking”.
Instead of being a website, it’s a browser, like Firefox, it’s part of Mozilla’s group.
If you’re participating several different communities, feeds, etc.. it is worth having a look: flock.com.

See you around.. in this crazy virtual-but-real worldwide community! 🙂

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