Last week I had two wonderful days of skiing powder up at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe —fresh “POW” as it is called by the hip “in-crowd,” thus never by me.
I was struggling to come up with my typically humorous and entertaining banter about this recent uneventful trip that would give me an excuse to post a few evocative pictures.
Minus a real—or even made up—near-death experience, the story could simply be yet another boring wannabe travel writing blog that reads like a personal online diary, barely able to capture the interest of the writer, let alone the reader.
While I may still have the potential to dredge up something slightly amusing, thanks to Alert Reader, and regular political adversary, Tom, I now have a new slant on the story—one that might even interest the millions of other wannabe travel writers who wait with baited breath for the latest Words of Wisdom from the bowels of the Sand Dollar Adventures person-cave.
(And we all know what comes from the bowels.)
Tom sent me a link to a wannabe travel writer story from that bastion of liberal thinking, MSNBC.com, regarding the use of social networking to advance our travel acumen. (What Tom—a died-in-the-wool Fox Network fan and Bill O’Reilly soldier was doing on MSNBC.com, only Dick Cheney knows.)
The story by travel columnist Christopher Elliott provided “7 Secrets” for boosting my online power. (I thought that is what Red Bull was for.) Using my Professional Wannabe Travel Writing skills, I just might be able to meld my Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe tale of perfect, fresh powder ski days into the suggestions garnered from the MSNBC story.
The Elliott story begins with the wisdom that,
“Travel companies pick and choose who to respond to in social media,” says social media expert Ryan Goff of the advertising firm MGH, Inc. “You better believe that a Web celebrity with 100,000 Twitter followers is going to catch a company’s attention over the casual Tweeter with only 10 friends.”
WTF. 100,00 Twitter followers?!?!?!
I just checked mine (franksSDA…since you asked) and I have a grand total of 16 followers. That’s sixteen! One-six.
(Any chance that the fact I only Tweet once a month, or so, has anything to do with it?)
So that means that it is more than likely that Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, or any other online travel-oriented company, does not even know I exist.
O.K. Mr. Christopher Elliott, what’s next?
Chris (may I call you Chris?) asks the rhetorical question,
“How to become a somebody?”
(I have been asking that since high school when the girls would look right through me like I had a magical power of invisibility. If only, eh?!?)
Chris speaks of the use of Twitter and Facebook (yes, I ‘m there, too: frank.goddard@ since you asked) to get us noticed.
So, here are the “7 Secrets” as told through my two days of perfect alpine downhill adventure at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe.
1. Be interesting.
While I will regale you with one short story, my level of interestability to my readers is fairly obvious, n’est-ce pas.
Note: A good wannabe travel writer always throws in a little French to impress the readers with his world beat, street-cred.(And piss off the Tea Party faithful.)
Heavenly uses a scanner gun aimed at an RFID chip in the lift pass to confirm I am who I am. I wear my pass hung from my neck, and under my ski parka. As I approached the bottom of the Stagecoach chairlift on the Nevada side, I mentioned to Patti, who was packing the scanner gun, to “just aim it towards my center of mass,” which is a shooting term, meaning the middle of my chest.
She mistook my comment for, “just check the center of my ass,” which is a face slapping-inducing term, meaning “get away from me, you perve.”
Next, Chris suggests we,
2. Get a blog.
Well, I think I got that one covered. Wait, Chris mentions having a “credible blog".”
Oh well, one out of two ain’t bad, right?
Which leads to,
3. Join the conversation.
Apparently by posting and tweeting frequently I will become relevant and authoritative.
Is he saying that all I have to do is talk a lot and it will make me believable and sought after?
Hell, I have been trying that for years and all it gets is people avoiding me, asking me to shut-the-eff up, and sometimes even obtaining a personal restraining order against me.
But, we are getting to the meat of the subject in,
4. Offer good information.
Where we are told that,
“Negative comments can hurt the traveler’s social capital as much or more than the company in question,” he adds. That way, when you go negative — when something happens to you while you’re traveling that you need resolved — your followers will pay attention.”
To be honest, I am not really sure what that means, except maybe the part that says “something happens to you while you’re traveling.” I think that means, if I say something bad about my skiing experience at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe the broken leg I go home with may happen in the semi-dark motel hallway, rather than on the ski slopes.
But, now Chris tells us it is time to,
5. Check your motives.
While I will not come out and say that if Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe offers me a free season pass for next year, along with “private lessons” from that cute ski instructor from South America, I will continue to post online stories about the fantastic conditions and friendly staff at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe…
…but, it sure wouldn’t hurt.
And, assuming that Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe might somehow have been tipped to this only slightly slanted blog post, Chris says we should,
6. Speak up.
Where we are told to use the “proper shout-out etiquette” to a travel venue…maybe like Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe, and to get their attention, by linking to their own blogsite, such as the one at Heavenly Mountain Resort Blog.
I think this is where I am supposed to tell you that the tree skiing through the fresh powder was semi-epic and you might make some of your own freshies if you go up this coming weekend, following the predicted snow storm.
And, the final secret to obtaining these powerful social networking skills for travelers, according to msnbc.com is,
7. Make a personal connection.
“People trust contents from somebody they can identify with personally.”
We are told that the challenge is,
“People are likely to read your tweets and posts when they feel they know you than when you’re a faceless, anonymous voice on the Internet.”
Wait…aren’t we ALL faceless and anonymous when it comes to the internet?
You just think I am a overly hirsute, slightly pudgy, yet surprisingly cute—in a benevolent way of thinking—50-something wannabe travel writer with a highly entertaining and informative travel blogsite that is published worldwide (remember, it’s called the World Wide Web).
After contemplating this complicated process of gaining identity and recognition, I am just not sure to what end, when the author submits,
“Along the way, I’ve made some terrific friends – people I’ve never actually met.”
I am just not convinced you really can have “terrific friends” who you have never met.
I mean, if they can’t buy a round, what kind of terrific friends are they, anyway?