My other half is a true believer of the power of technology and the freedom of information sharing. I am more like the in-betweener: a modern technology adopter (spending a considerable amount of time on Four Square/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Weibo), but a cultural dinosaur at heart (I love to collect beautifully designed books and I even still do magazine article cuttings!). But somehow we find our compromise during our trip.
Here are two examples of how social media has changed our travel experience.
Travel tips – Four Square check-in
With free wifi in most places in the Scandinavian cities, we were tempted to ‘check-in’ online everywhere we go. Lots of people thought the Four Square check-in is more like a vanity game – you get different sorts of virtual badges as a recognition of how many places you have been to, and so did I. However, when we checked in this time around, be it a museum, restaurant/cafe or a tourist attraction, Four Square showed us a list of recommended places near by, some of which have even been visited by our friends!
Those tips and location maps come handy when you walk around like a headless chicken in a strange place. It is also more personal comparing to travel guide as some of them are written by your friends. That’s probably why Tripadvisor has now encouraged more and more people to sign in with their Facebook account so that you can see your friends’ comments on the places you are going to visit.
You can find our travel tips on the Four Square list HERE.
Weibo Strangers = Followers
The day we stayed in Copenhagen was Sankt Hans Night (the Danish Midsummer’s Eve) – the longest day of the year. When I posted a picture of our blue sky night in Copenhagen on the Chinese social media Weibo, instantly I got a comment from a stranger – another Chinese traveller in Copenhagen!! Later on we exchanged some tips on interesting places to visit in the city.
You probably have heard of the Chinese word Guan Xi (which means networks or connections), often in the analysis on Chinese Business Culture, because it’s interpreted as one of the major dynamics in the Chinese society. By obtaining the right Guan Xi, you are more likely to minimise the risks, frustrations and disappointment when doing business in China. Perhaps the Chinese concept can be equally applied for the tourism sector. We are constantly looking for the right connections when we search in an alien place. Thanks to the active social network we are connected through the social media, which has revolutionised the way we consume information, built our network, and ultimately formed a surprisingly pleasant travel experience.