My blog has been running for almost a year now but it was initially a diary to document a year of living in Sweden so that my friends and family could keep up with what I was doing. Before long I found that I really enjoyed writing and that people were commenting on how much they enjoyed reading my posts. So I turned to other blogs to see what other people wrote about and how I could reach more readers. It didn’t take me long to realise that after experiences of teaching in Japan and Vietnam, as well as previous travels in SE Asia and Europe, I had a whole armoury of stories at my disposal. With so much going on with my blog I needed to widen my readership. And then I found Twitter!
I have always been into social networking but hadn’t really grasped the concept of Twitter so didn’t bother with it much at first. But all the blogs that I followed had links to Twitter pages and by following them I realised that I could access a large library of travel-related news, events and advice. Not only that, I could interact with people as travel-obsessed as myself by partaking in forums such as Travel Talk on Twitter (TTOT), NUTS (Not your Usual Therapy Session), TNI (Travellers’ Night In) and FriFotos. A few years ago I would have dismissed this kind of cyber-networking as ‘geeky’ and ‘sad’ (Brits in general still attach a stigma to meeting people on the internet for some reason) but I found that I was having fun. Everybody seemed so willing to chat and share ideas and none of them seemed even remotely like they could be harbouring homicidal tendencies or an axe. I even found that I spoke regularly to the same people and read their blogs frequently.
Imagine my excitement when I was sitting at my computer one lazy Sunday afternoon to see the following Tweet turn up in my newsfeed: Hello Twitterverse!! Finally I’m settled in @visit_stockholm (Stockholm). Day tripping to Västerås tomorrow. #travel #havingfun!! The post was by @BlkChickOnTour whose butterfly photo I had retweeted only days previously. I immediately replied Hey really? I live in Västerås, if you want to meet for Fika (swedish coffee and cake break!!) and so my first ‘TweetMeet’ was arranged. I have to admit that I was nervous, especially because although I had never met this person I already knew quite a lot about her from her blog and her tweets, it even occurred to me that I may spend the whole meeting calling her by her Twitter handle and blog name, ‘BlackChickOnTour’. Thankfully, this was averted when we emailed a few times before meeting up and I learned that her name is Terri. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity, somebody in the public domain whose work I have read and whose name I am familiar with.
The meeting went very well. It took place in a museum in the centre of town where Terri was involved in producing a music video (how glamorous?!!). As it was Terri’s first Tweet-Meet too, neither of us knew what to expect and Terri threw me into the deep-end by shaking my hand warmly and then pointing a video camera at me. I have never thought that I video particularly well but relaxed sooner than I thought I would. We conducted a mini interview and talked about travel. Then we turned the camera off and chatted for a few hours about our blogs, the travel community and how valuable Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (maybe) are for promoting young blogs in an already-established travel community. Terri was warm, friendly and funny. She gave me some great advice and inspired me to continue with my own blog (to all you established bloggers out there, it’s hard for us newbies to get going when we have so many amazing people to follow!!) as well as giving me advice on self-promotion, something which doesn’t come naturally to me.
I really enjoyed my first Tweet-Meet and really hope that I can arrange many more, maybe one day I’ll be able to attend a TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference and meet many more travel bloggers!
Terri made a short video of our meet. Check it out!
Head on over to Terri’s blog at BlackChickOnTour to check out her life and adventures in Saudi and beyond!