Some might argue that it is better to take a complete break from social media while on vacation. I am not one of them. Social media is important enough to me to at least spend a little of my downtime keeping up on what is going on. I don’t user Twitter the same on vacation as I do on a regular day, so I found a couple services that were helpful on my recent trip to New Orleans.
Summify’s name is very accurate. They provide a summary of the most important stories that are shared by those you follow on Twitter. They have an online interface, but I largely just read the daily email they send. On vacation it is great way to see what stories resonated when you only have a little bit of time. Summify does a remarkably good job pointing out the four or five articles or tweets that most reflect my interests. I rarely find something included in this summary that isn’t interesting or meaningful.
For a more comprehensive look at what was shared in the previous day, I use Paper.li. I wrote a blog post on this service several months back, and I continue to find it useful. I particularly like the ability to quickly scroll through all the images that were shared in the last day.
Beyond just keeping up, Twitter and related service actually improved my vacation.
Schmap helps you find out what is happening in the places you visit or even live. I lived in Southern Mississippi for several years, spending many a day in New Orleans, so I have some feel for the city. I also had a great host and friend who lives in the city and helped shape our plans. But I found that using Schmap was a good way to see what was happening in New Orleans. They cover over 30 cities, and use Twitter data to highlight tweets that best meet the criteria of “what is cool happening today locally” (my version of what they do).
Though this aggregator, I was able to find out about a couple of special exhibits at a local art museum as well as some concerts that weren’t mention on traditional event calendars.
Another basic, but useful source of information is Twitter Lists. Food is a big part of many people’s New Orleans experience, myself included, and so while in NOLA I followed a couple of foodie lists that highlighted food happenings and one that included only local food trucks. Being New Orleans, these trucks often keep weird hours and change locations, but by following this list, I was able to see when they were open and what special offers they were providing.
While food truck lists aren’t universal, it does make sense to do a little research before a trip and find some Twitter lists that give a good overview of the city you are visiting and even researching particular interests. You can follow these lists and quickly be able to bring them up on your phone or computer to get more of a local feel for what people are doing.
Do you use Twitter differently or at all when on vacation? Do you have any tips? I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments.