Travel seems like a subject that was custom-made for social media, even though of course it predates it. Travel enthusiasts love talking about travel and bond easily over sharing stories and advice. So it’s not surprising that that the travel community has flourished on Facebook, StumbleUpon and Twitter, where it has developed an extensive list of travel hashtags.
For the past two days, a certain hashtag has flooded my Twitter newsfeed: #Blog4NZ. Launched by four bloggers Jim McIntosh from Holes in My Soles, John Reese from the French Way Travel Blog, Craig Martin from the Indie Travel Podcast and Dan Roberts from Travel Generation, Blog4NZ is three-day grassroots blogging and social media effort to support New Zealand travel in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake. And where did I first learn about Blog4NZ? Facebook, of course!
The participation has been enormous. It’s felt like it’s been all New Zealand, all the time — at least for my social media experience. The goal was to get people thinking about New Zealand, and I can personally attest to the fact that it’s been working. I can even spell Rotorua now, even if I’m not quite sure how to pronounce it.
And, yes, there are prizes donated by the New Zealand tourism board and independent companies, but the vast majority of us are not in it to win it. Social Media works best when people — total strangers — behave generously. Zenaida des Aubris, who runs the blog Travels With Zen-Aida, saw my post on the Global Bloggers Network group on Facebook and sent me six beautiful photos she had taken on the North Island of New Zealand. We had never even connected before. And I in turn have to share these gorgeous representations of Rotorua and the surrounding area with you. (By the way, Zenaida wasn’t the only generous blogger who helped me out in my quest to help out New Zealand — check out yesterday’s Blog4NZ post, The Best of New Zealand: From Paradise to Mt. Doom, in which five fantastic bloggers described their favorite places.)