March 2011 – The Scouting Report

Getting the lay of the land, at Gettysburg (courtesy fauxto_digit at Flickr CC)What’s our secret for keeping up with all of the rapid changes in technology and social media?

A combination of being immersed in the space (hey, we’re geeks, we think this stuff is FUN) and our personal network of mentors and scouts.

No one has a full grasp of every single communications channel or emerging technology, so each of us follow certain trust agents and people who are deep-dive experts in individual areas, to supplement our own research.

After a lot of sifting, we pull the golden nuggets from the pile of shiny new tech toys and think long and hard about how they might be useful for social media marketing in tourism, hospitality or economic development.

It’s never about the tools; it’s always about the application of those tools.

If we do a good job serving as your scouts here at Tourism Currents, you can then turn around and be a better scout and guide for your visitors.

Want to know some of the ways we peek over the horizon?


Who Are We Listening To?

It’s a combination of big-picture thinkers and experts in more narrow subject areas.  Here are just a few examples….

Big Picture and Blogging

Liz Strauss – really gets community and strategy, blogger since forever.

Chris Penn – geeky guy who can talk strategy, too.

Jason Falls – social-savvy marketing expert with a sense of humor.

Deb Ng – blogger since forever, finger on the media pulse as Conference Director for BlogWorld and New Media Expo.

Dwight Silverman – Interactive Journalism Editor at the Houston Chronicle; can speak from screwdriver/motherboard level up to international mobile.

Chris Brogan – blogger since forever, all about social communication in business, thoughtful analyst.

Brian Clark – his thoughts on Copyblogger always help to make our writing more compelling.


InsideFacebook (now part of Adweek) and AllFacebook (now part of Adweek) – not the official word, but very useful. Blog (Newsroom) – the official word, aka horse’s mouth.

Mari Smith – has an infectious love of the platform and offers good insights, too.

Shama (Hyder) Kabani – she does all sorts of digital marketing via Shama.TV

Erno Hannink, the Dutch Facebook Guy – he tracks the service closely, in Dutch and in English.


Lewis Howes – he knows what others too often forget; LinkedIn is incredibly powerful social networking.

Des Walsh – Australian social media and business expert. Blog – the official word, aka horse’s mouth.

Some other resources are in our newsletter about LinkedIn for tourism.


Jeff Pulver – creator and Godfather of the 140 Characters Conferences, about communications on Twitter and in the “State of Now.”

Laura Fitton – creator and Godmother of THE site about Twitter and Twitter applications:  the “social business hub” (update – her startup was bought out by Hubspot, where she now works)

What Else?

We’ve seen some real value recently from some of the smaller LinkedIn Groups and invite-only Facebook Groups that are industry-focused on tourism, hospitality or economic development.

The key to success for these groups is a moderator and/or Group membership that will not tolerate excessive self-promotion and constant link-dropping back to one’s own blog posts, website or products. A gentle private reminder, a public nudge and then a loud smack may be required, or people will leave the Group in droves and its value will plummet.

We’re also big believers in going where the geeks are, so we attend numerous conferences like South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi – March 11-15, 2011 followed by more international perspectives at SXSW Global Tech Summit March 16-17, 2011) plus the SOBCon business blogging conference in Chicago and BlogWorld and New Media Expo (there’s a new East Coast version in New York in May 2011, and we’ll run the Tourism track at BlogWorld West in Los Angeles November 3-5, 2011.)


In case you need it, a quick reminder that tech and the social Web are NOT just a “young person’s thing.” There are nearly 47 million Baby Boomers and the AARP would like to give you a gentle nudge about them….direct link here to the AARP video on YouTube.


Have you connected with us in your favorite places? If you arrived here directly from a link, here’s the email signup for this newsletter. Say hi to Tourism Currents on….

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Commenting area

  1. Thanks for the great resource list. You have packed a lot of punch in this one.

  2. Hi Jane,

    Thanks very much for the feedback; we’re always trying to balance plenty of info vs. a too-long newsletter that feels overwhelming.

    I will confess that one month, one guy said jokingly that he was “exhausted by the end of it.” I tried to take the hint after that. 🙂

  3. Fran Stephenson March 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm · ·

    Hi Sheila. Great newsletter. Thanks for sharing. Hope to see you in Austin….IRL or through Twitter and Foursquare!

  4. Belinda McElroy March 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm · ·

    I’m new to the whole social media stuff. This is hard to balance especilly since I am a one man band. I try to use the social media to promote what is going on in the area, specials, festivals, and my specials and alike. I don’t care that someone is now eating a hot dog from Hieds in Syracuse. I do have a great relationship with my county tourism director. Thank you for your informative newsletter though. This is my first and I’m glad I signed up. It’s news I can use and that’s what I am about. I’m sure there will be more great stuff. Would you speak at 2012 Mid-Atlantic Innkeepers Conference next year? Or maybe the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Conference? Or both?
    Yours truly

    • Hi Belinda,

      We can sure sympathize, since we’re a two-woman band! With admin/planning time and a rough editorial calendar, we can keep content chugging on most channels, but no doubt it’s a challenge. So glad you found the newsletter helpful!

      We haven’t been asked to speak at the conferences you mentioned, but Becky will be speaking at 140 Conference New York in June ) and I’m speaking in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania in October.

      • Perhaps in the future I will ask if you are available to speak at an upcoming conference. I’m glad I joined your newsletter distribution.

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