Categories: Blog BusinessScotlandUnited Kingdom

A Little Technology…Harnessing the Power of Twitter

The gracious Andy Hayes, photo by Mike Coulter

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 Andy. When I popped Andy a question about the 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, but a google search will locate it easily. In this case, every Friday really great Twitter tweeps get together at a local restaurant for breakfast, light networking and just general conversation.

The Edinburgh Coffee Morning

Mari Smith at the EdCM, photo by Mike Coulter

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 people I meet – 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 surely is boring if you’re sharing your breakfast details with total strangers. But for networking and building up 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 iPhone and then jump over to Twitter to add you as a friend – all while carrying on the conversation – now that is skill.

Photo by Mike Coulter

Over the past several months I’ve found Twitter a vital tool to developing 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 gotten a quick response.
  • 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.

*****All photos courtesy of Mike Coulter, check out his photos on Flickr or his Web site *****