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Social media technology can help traveler keep in touch

One of the current buzzes in the business and personal world is social media (SM). You need to be here or have presence there.

Even in education we are being encouraged to interact where our students are. Education has gone so far as to create Second life imaginary communities to engage learners in a simulation based world.

Not completely understanding the ins and outs, the how’s and why’s of this phenomenon I took a leap of faith and plunged gung ho into Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TW). I now have a much more robust on-line presence which means I’ve finally arrived.

The travel industry is starting to utilize this technology as a marketing and sales tool. Companies are now posting special discounted offerings on their Twitter and Facebook

pages. There does not appear to be any rhyme or reason as to what companies have an aggressive social media presence so for the time being I’m following firms with products that really interest me.

I am not your constantly in contact sort of guy. Days may pass between tweets, posts and visits to the social media sites. You will not find any apps (software applications) on my cell phone. It is just a phone, an electronic calendar and basic communication device.

However I have found that the social media sites can be very beneficial. Personally they have been rewarding but I’m still not sure about the business and educational aspects of these tools.

Through social media sites I’ve linked up (played on the golf course) with a few old high school classmates, college chums and Army buddies.

These were great opportunities that modern technology enabled and my old school casual guy approach prevented. Guys do not exchange Christmas cards just to keep in touch.

I am not out there actively searching for old pals and lost loves. I’m more of the passive ‘let you find me’ social user.

There’s one interesting reconnection with an old friend that I’d like to share during this religious period. It deals with travel expertise and destination specialization.

I got a Facebook hit asking to add me as his friend.

Good grief I sent this guy on his honeymoon cruise and helped sort out the customs/immigration nightmarish mess with his Swedish in-laws so they could sail with them.

Via FB my buddy asked me to help plan a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Lands for his synagogue. He was the man in charge and needed a plan.

Initially I thought not a problem as I been there, done that. But then the light went off-he’s looking for a Jewish tour and all I’ve done is Christian-based touring.

I could have crafted a trip for them but then it would have been like a wine aficionado organizing a Czech beer tour. I was out of my comfort zone. It was time to hand this assignment off to someone who specializes in Jewish faith-based tours. I discussed my concerns with my friend and he totally agreed.

A search of my very old Rolodex file provided the contact data for an agent that specialized in exactly what Robbie was looking for.

It was a lost sales opportunity for me but the right thing to do for the travelers. Instead of providing an inferior product I would rather have someone else provide the proper one.

Robbie thanked me and added that he’s on his high school reunion committee and that he will get back with me to help plan a class reunion cruise.

Tweet me at twitter.com/TheTravelProf or post on my wall at www.facebook.com/TheTravelProfessor. Happy holidays!