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November 09, 2009

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Candice

Thanks for the summary of what's been going on, Leigh. I was a little confused by the whole ordeal. Drama, drama! It's nice to hear two sides of an argument, but my gawd at least refrain from acting like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum.

Leigh Shulman

I think we were all confused. I will say, though Pam from @nerdseyeview had some really level-headed things to say about the whole thing -- as she so often does when these debates rage on Twitter.

GotPassport

as a rookie to twitter and blogging, at first, I could not believe my eyes.... I too thought it was extremely childish, and unprofessional, on display for the world to see no less. It accomplished NOTHING- these things never do!! It turned me off! Felt like I was back at the office, which is one of the reasons why I left because of crap like that!! I've not been on the followers list for some time now-- my gut told me something just didn't sit well with me-- that was a couple of months ago. I also agree with the comment hogging tactics. And I've only started reading posts AND comments avidly in the past few months. Leigh, let me just say that your post is an intelligent one and I appreciate seeing it as a newbie! Thank you!

Nancy

I was also a bit taken aback - figured there was some kind of bad blood between them. I'm not convinced the whole thing was about publicity though - I think they just feel very strongly about it!

Nancy
www.familyonbikes.org

Leigh Shulman

I hear you!

I also hear and completely understand your upset and perhaps even anger about this. I found myself angry about it as well, although I'm not entirely sure why.

Maybe it's frustrating to have so much time and Twitter real estate taken up by this. Not sure.

I'd be interested to hear how those involved feel about it all now. Maybe. I suppose it can be a learning experience.

Leigh Shulman

Hey Nancy!

It did seem that there could be previous history to all of this. Definitely possible.

I suppose I felt that if they truly felt strongly about the issues, they would have handled it differently. But there certainly were strong feelings involved. They just seemed more personal than anything else.

I'd also like to say that my post wasn't entirely based on the specific people involved in this weekend's Twitter-deathmatch. It is meant to also be a general comment on how bloggers interact with each other through the various social media resources in order to garner publicity both for themselves and their causes.

Still looking forward to seeing you in Argentina whenever that may be.

Kim@Galavanting

Thanks for your perspective and re-cap of what was really a terrible episode. Since you asked for how we on the trip felt about it...honestly, I had a stomach ache all weekend. But not the seasick kind -- I always carry stress in my stomach. And it was really stressing me out that this silly debate was raging publicly. I'd never had a problem with the main person leaving so many antagonistic posts on the hashtag, so was pretty shocked to be so personally attacked for days on end. It made me sad. Especially sad since I did not disagree with her concerns, but I'm just a stickler for the facts.

I always think it's an amazing opportunity we have as travel writers/bloggers to have direct access to first-hand information and was excited to report my findings. I like to research things myself, and after conducting multiple interviews with extremely credible sources, planned to report on all her concerns (and had planned it before the topic was even brought up on Twitter) after touring the ship's bowels and asking tough questions to the environmental officer and company representatives.

Unfortunately, this weekend was an example of exactly how not to do things. I'm encouraged that everyone seems to have settled down now and is willing to be more reasonable and civil. We still have most of our trip left to go and I'm looking forward to giving honest reviews and as many useful details as possible for our readers, and for Twitter users who can stomach looking at the hashtag...

Speaking of, I need to leave the cabin now and go do that! :)

Marc@4suitcases

Very insightful article. Though I've been trying my hand at travel blogging for awhile, I'm still pretty new to things like Twitter, and before this weekend hadn't even heard of "twethics"! Thanks for giving me food for thought!

I've been watching #followmeatsea closely, because I know some of the participants and have always been interested in the cruise industry. Now I'm wondering if my own limited participation in the discussion could be considered a "naked grab for attention". (yikes! maybe I'm doing it again by commenting here - delete this if you think so)

For me, this whole thing has been kinda interesting - repulsive, sometimes - but interesting. I'm actually surprised at the magnitude of the reactions to it - I guess I always assumed "that's just how it is on Twitter".

So perhaps some good will come of all this. Maybe as a result of thoughtful commentary like yours (and Pam's & others), the medium will eventually mature. And at the very least, it turned me on to some great new blogs to follow - including this one!

Anil

There's been attention grabbing for sure, yet I think they feel strongly about it as well, in addition to the holier than thou uptakes. If nothing else it focussed attention on the issue even if that was not the way to go about it, about which no one disagrees.

As for audience for travel blogs, there's very little choice travel bloggers have in making their presence known. More so if the few travel and travel-related travel blog aggregators do not go beyond the same set of travel bloggers to feature and list each time. All you need to do is look at the umpteen lists of "best travel bloggers" that get washed ashore every few weeks, and they merely rehash the same list someone once created sometime ago.

Few, if any, travel bloggers can afford media spend to draw newer audience to their works. So, what else remains (as options)?

Melanie

I was thankfully away all weekend so missed most of the debate until today. When I looked into it a little (kind of like rubber necking on the highway during an accident) I was truly shocked to see who was involved. I admire most of the participants of the debate.

To be honest I was really discouraged by some of the negativity and to be honest "crap" that was flinging around. It actually made me want to stop following some of the participants. I thought to myself - if they are going to flame others why would I want to hear what they have to say.

Success comes from postivity. There is still a way to get your point across without being mean about it.

My 2 cents.

Nancy D. Brown

Hi Leigh,
I'm flattered that you refer to me as a top travel Twitterer. Since you asked how those involved feel, I will speak for myself, as I type this comment from the Crown Princess.

I see myself as a travel blogger who is open to discussion and debate. In case any of you missed it, I did write a post asking your thoughts regarding Cruise Ship Environmental Impact, http://bit.ly/r6MQk before I boarded the Crown Princess.

While I agree that our trip has been lively. Please don't paint all #FollowMeAtSea bloggers with the same brush.

Leigh Shulman

Kim, I'm sorry to hear it had this affect on you or anyone for that matter. And yes, I did ask for people's reactions. I appreciate the insight from someone who was there and involved to whatever degree.

I would be very interested in hearing what you and others on the cruise have to say about the environmental impact. I also know that many of the islands often visited by cruises have plenty of their own environmental issues, usually based on the sharp rise in tourism. On the other side, the tourism supports the economy.

At least that was my experience when living in Bocas del Toro. When there were no tourists -- which generally coincided with some sort of storm or flooding -- many people didn't have enough money for food.

Leigh Shulman

You make a good point. Twitter and much of social media is about an open platform for your thoughts. And finding the line between what works and what doesn't is very delicate.

I don't know that i would be even be possible to make hard rules about governing what's ok and what's not, because each comment or tweet is governed by who says it, how it's said, how often it's been said before and so many other factors.

I will say, tho, when someone takes a moment and thinks "Is this just for attention" -- JUST being the operative word -- chances are, that person is not at all out for attention.

I thank you for your comment and for visiting my blog. I'm off to visit yours now.

Leigh Shulman

Hi Anil,

Yes, I agree that it is very necessary for travel bloggers to read and comment on other travel blog sites in order to draw readers to their own sites. I am not disputing that, nor am I saying it's the wrong thing to do.

I'm saying it's wrong when someone comments ONLY to draw attention to themselves without adding any value to the website visited.

If everyone who visited my site listed a link for additional information on their own, I'd be ecstatic! What a great pool of resources.

Or when you add insight to an ongoing discussion, you both bring attention to yourself but also give others a reason to visit and continue commenting on the site where you leave your comment. It's win-win.

But when you simply say "Nice post, you should see what I'm doing." You draw people away with no benefit or thanks to the referring site.

Leigh Shulman

Hi Nancy.

When writing this post, I intentionally left out names because I didn't want to focus on the people involved but instead on the nature of finding publicity through comments, discussion and Twitter. Something I have found to be a source of frustration prior to this past weekend.

To be honest, I didn't even see you as part of the debate. I had only limited time online this weekend, so even had I included names, yours would not have been one of them.

I also believe that one event or set of Tweets does not paint the entire picture for anyone. Some people above mentioned they are considering no longer following some of the people involved. Personally, I will continue to follow and read all the people I currently do.

I can't even say that this past weekend's events changed my views of anyone. If anything, some people went to far or made mistakes. Some were defending themselves. Some were trying for honest discussion. And I'd say all acted as an extension of the way they've generally portrayed themselves online -- some with honesty and integrity, some not.

Leigh Shulman

Hey Melanie,

I share your feelings of frustration (obviously or I wouldn't have written this post), but I intend to continue following all the people I currently follow.

I don't know what exactly lead to this particular thing getting out of hand, but even so, many of the people involved have and will continue to add much value in the world of travel.

One weekend won't change that. Nor will one weekend suddenly add value to those who are the attention grabbing sort of which I speak.

Anil

Point taken. Your reply is my sentiments exactly. I'm in agreement. Thank you.

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