I discovered a fantastic new use for Twitter that I plan to use on many of my future travels—and again, I owe it all to my new friend Andy. When I emailed Andy with a question about Edinburgh Fringe Festival shows, we arranged to meet up for a drink and chat. Once he decided that I wasn’t psycho (I promise, although I am a spaz, I’m actually quite nice in person!) he invited me to attend the weekly Twitter coffee meet up in the city.
Apparently these “coffee mornings” happen all over the world and all you have to do is know the secret code. Okay, it’s not secret, but it’s also not entirely intuitive unless you’re searching for it. In this case, every Friday really great Twitter people get together at a local restaurant for breakfast, light networking, and general conversation.
The Edinburgh Coffee Morning
The Twitter tag #EdCM (Edinburgh Coffee Morning) unlocks the magic and within moments I discovered that Mari Smith, a social networking expert, planned to attend the meeting too—what fun! I may be crazy for wanting to do a little bit of business while on the road, but it also served as the perfect way to connect with new people, network a little, and learn more about how to use Twitter.
That’s the crux of the dilemma for so many other travelers I have met—they log onto Twitter, add a few friends, talk about what they ate for breakfast, and then quickly decide that Twitter is boring.
Yes, it is surely boring if you’re sharing breakfast details with total strangers. But for networking and building relationships within a specific community, well, that’s where Twitter’s strength lies.
I have to say, Mari was truly excellent at working the table. Basically, she flawlessly carried on interesting conversations with individuals while seamlessly integrating her social networking capabilities into the conversation. As you’re chatting, she may casually research more information about a conversation point on her phone, then jump over to Twitter to add you as a friend—all while carrying on the conversation—now that is skill.
Over the past several months, I’ve found Twitter a vital tool to develop relationships with other backpackers and travelers in the community. This new coffee meet up element is one that I had never considered previously but that has some very real potential. Though I may not seek out a business-y meet up in every town I visit, I certainly feel like these small Twitter communities have the power to unlock a whole new side to my travel experience.
I loved it thoroughly and appreciate all of the warmth from the #EdCM regulars who took me in for a day and welcomed me into their conversations. Cheers and many thanks and I’ll be back next time I’m in Edinburgh!
Travel Twitter Tips: Making Travel that Much Better:
- Follow the conversation taking place in the next city your visiting by searching Twitter using hashtags. Simply search #Edinburgh to find the most current Edinburgh tweets!
- Ask for tips by using the city name and a hashtag in your own tweet.
- Use the “#” in front of an upcoming event to find the beating pulse of the event on twitter. Fringe was the perfect example: #EdFringe and #Fringe contained an unfathomable number of Fringe related tweets giving reviews of the shows all month long. Posting a valid question to the #EdFringe would have definitely garnered many quick responses.
- At reply (@TwitterNameHere) to people you tweet with and meet up for a coffee in their local town…although social networking is fab, it’s a great way to facilitate face-to-face relationships too.