Tnooz and Ryanair

I really like Kevin May’s Tnooz and recommend it to anyone in the travel or hospitality industry. Kevin has his finger on the button and tends to just tell it, minus clouding things with too much of his own opinion – on Tnooz anyway, though on Twitter @kevinlukemay he’s pretty vocal! Here’s a piece he posted about Ryanair. I’ve never flown with them, but personally I think they’ve got it wrong. Interaction on social media sites has gone right up our list of priorities in the past year and it’s starting to pay dividends in terms of real business.

“Low-cost carrier Ryanair has put a halt to suggestions it will start reaching out to customers through social media. The airline has had a love-hate (but mostly hate) relationship with the concept of social media for years but expectations were raised earlier this week when it announced it is adding reviews to its website. It was initially thought that Ryanair would also be making tentative forays into social media through the usual networking sites – a suggestion since dismissed emphatically.

What is expected to happen in the coming months is the launch of a series of destination pages hosted on the main Ryanair website where users can post reviews of restaurants, bars and hotels. Ryanair’s often outspoken director of communications Stephen McNamara says: “This will be one way communication – passenger reviews of local hot spots etc, but [we] will not be ‘engaged’ in social media.”

Ryanair has steadfastly refused to be drawn into the online social bubble with its marketing, unlike its European rival EasyJet (which has the @easyjetcare handle for customer relations) or US counterparts such as SouthWest. Allowing almost every piece of customer criticism in the social channels to go unanswered, Ryanair has only once dropped its veil when it infamously told this author that bloggers were “lunatics” – an outburst which was picked up by news organisations around the world.

The interest comes as Ryanair also confirms it is considering some kind of “price comparison” website – a confusing concept for a single carrier to implement unless it is significantly looking to change its web proposition. McNamara says the idea is only in the planning stage and refuses to give any indication what such a site would be used for or its model.”

What do you think? Is interaction important between company and client?


Embrace Africa

We’ve always much admired Peace Corps volunteers and I was therefore delighted to come across this blog from ‘Sarah’ a volunteer somewhere near Lusaka who on her blog ‘EmbraceAfrica‘ says this: ‘My name is Sarah and I was born and raised in Michigan. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2008 with Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and a Minor in Graphic Communication. During my time at EMU I was actively involved in His House Christian Fellowship, American Society of Interior Designers, and I balanced a few jobs as well.’

Actually I found Sarah through Twitter and you can follow her at @pcjzambia – I loved this particular story! So different to what might happen in other countries!

“One day a few weeks ago, my tire got a flat on my bike ride home. I had a repair kit, but the glue was finished, so someone helped me do a temporary zam-patch. Well, it turns out that the nozzle was “completely buggard” and a few kilometers later I couldn’t even add tire pressure. As daylight was escaping me I was praying that a car would pass by and pick me up since I was about halfway home, but this was a Saturday afternoon and not as many vehicles travel.

Within less than five minutes of me contemplating my dilemma, a gentleman stops to help me. He knew who I was and lives in a village about 6k past my site. While he was helping me one of the girls in my extended family in the village and another person from my village passed by. Together they coordinated that I would ride home on the back of one bike, my bike on another, and my bag on the third bike. No vehicles did pass for the rest of the day, and I don’t think I would have been able to walk the 7k home before dark, so my needs were met by some gracious friends.”

Big up Sara! Keep up the good work!


Twitter Types

I like Twitter for lots of different reasons, not least of which is #MusicMonday! This what Guy Kawasaki has to say about Twitter user types!

“1. The Newbie. “What am I doing?” The Newbie signed up for Twitter less than three months ago and thinks it’s all about lifestreaming: “Watching my cat roll over.” These people quickly progress to a different type of use or abandon Twitter when no one pays attention to them. Motivation: curiosity about Twitter. Recommended approach: understand.

2. The Brand. “What can I get away with?” The Brand balances the tension between using Twitter as a marketing tool and socially engaging people so as not to appear to be using Twitter as a marketing tool. Motivation: greater brand awareness. Recommended approach: observe.

3. The Smore. “What’s in it for me?” The Smore (social media whore) sees Twitter primarily as a self-promotion tool to get something from people although a transparent Smore (“Bubbles”) is often a delightful person. The delusional ones are the pains. Motivations: making a buck off and gaining followers. Recommended approach: tolerate.

4. The Bitch. “What can I complain about?” Despite deriving this name from female dogs, this is usually an angry man who envies people who generate content. They can be briefly amusing in a “shock jock” kind of way, but their bark is greater than their bite, and their bite is greater than their insight. Motivation: generating angry reactions. Recommended approach: block.

5. The Maven. “What’s interesting in my niche?” The Maven is an expert in a field such as recruiting, marketing, or web design. If you’re interested in their field, following them is a rich, rewarding, and time-saving experience. Motivation: getting retweeted and recognized as an expert. Recommended approach: follow.

6. The Mensch. “How can I help?” Mensches are few and far between. They lurk in the background until people need help and then they either know, or know how to find, the answer. They are seldom well-known or highly followed, but they save you tons of time and effort when you want to know something like the ideal dimensions of a profile background. Motivation: helping others. Recommended approach: adore.

Now comes the hard part: What kind of Twitter user are you? To make Twitter an effective tool, you need to be a Brand, Maven, or Mensch. To go even further, you need to be able to adopt the roles of Brand, Maven, Mensch, and a touch of the Smore, and that is truly an art.

Truly brilliant. Me? Probably a mix of Maven and Brand! I’d also like to add

7. The Luvvy Swooning and gushing over followers or tweets, perhaps for a #followfriday or a #traveltuesday they often pour out or retweet swooning pieces of advice about love and life. Often have more followers than you’d imagine. Recommended approach: love them back, they’re doing it for a reason!

The photo – one of Kerry de Bruyn’s from her Botswana trip – she’s @AfricanPhoto on Twitter


Live The Charmed Life

I first came across DeeAnne White on Twitter @LiveCharmed. What! An American Tweeting about cricket? Enough to make anyone sit up and take notice! I subscribe to her blog Live The Charmed Life too which, like her input on Twitter is a touch of class. There are few blogs to which I subscribe but this one is always fun! I couldn’t find a really good picture of DeeAnne so there’s Watergate Bay in Cornwall which she features on one of her recent blog posts! This is what she says about herself:

“My name is DeeAnne White, and I’m a girl adventurer, traveller, aspiring expatriate, and lover of cricket, golf, wine, Jimmy Choos and life. I began Live the Charmed Life to share the ways I’ve built a life I love, because somehow I’ve become the person others come to with those sorts of questions. I’m the girl many call if they want to plan a trip to London, get the name of a fantastic restaurant in NYC or Las Vegas, pick the perfect bottle of wine, find out the score of the Laker game, throw a memorable backyard party, or get a perspective from behind rose colored glasses.

In all honesty, I’m an ordinary girl who thoroughly enjoys the brilliance I find in others, who is ridiculously curious, and who’s never once thought anything was impossible. I’ve had many, MANY, bumps in the road, but my strength has been in finding the fun regardless of circumstance, taking leaps of faith even when I was terrified, and rebuilding after the inevitable storms roll past.

I’ll be writing about my current adventure in which I travel the world in high heels, redesign my career, follow the sport of cricket and possibly break 90 on the golf course. Heck, I may even write about the misadventure called my love life.

I hope you’re entertained. I hope you’re engaged. Most importantly, I hope you’re inspired to begin your own adventure!”

Ordinary girl? Mmmm – I think not!


I came across @zazo on Twitter and am pleased to be able to point you to his blog, there’s his picture up there! He was kind enough to mention me on the blog the other day!

Started on 23rd March 2008 writes about exceptionally ultimate user created online communities and groups formed inside various social networking websites, reviews budding blogs, message boards and open social applications.

They also interview some interesting and passionate personalities who have been credited of making extra ordinary, useful and friendly online communities and blogs, which have changed the perspective of millions of online users, and helped them with useful and informative content, vast and detailed subjects and loads of entertainment. The aim of this blog is to promote affirmative and constructive use of social networking and internet.

Zaheer Abbas known as zazo is an online media entrepreneur a social networker and a writer who also writes on social networking and internet trends is based in beautiful city of Udaipur India. 27 year old zazo is an internet freak, a famished reader and a news junkie. Father of a son, zazo keeps his family above his work. Cooking and eating rich food is his passion. Besides exploring online groups and people zazo also do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and blog consultancy.

Many articles and interviews published on orkutheroes enjoyed media attention and covered by India’s respected print and online news, magazines and many blogs. is also recognized as a “pulse of” by Orkut’s official blog.


Fort Hood

I follow @TravelSavvyKayt on Twitter. She writes hilariously about her travels with her son Chet – that’s them in the picture. Yesterday she twittered that she’d been asked to write a piece for the Washington Post about the awful shootings at Fort Hood, Texas and I found it particularly poignant. Here’s what she wrote.


Freelance writer and military spouse living in Bedesbach, Germany

As details about the shootings streamed across the Web, I noticed how the nature of the messages changed over time. Initially, some military friends lamented that they no longer felt safe on Army posts. But once Maj. Nidal Hasan was identified as the lone gunman, many focused on his name, rank and faith. The fear that had been so palpable diminished. Few of the messages were explicit — one simply said, “A single shooter and a Muslim?!” But their meaning was clear — that Hasan’s Islamic faith explained what had previously been an unfathomable act of violence. No longer could his actions be attributed to his experiences in the military or some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t believe most of my fellow military spouses are bigots or hate-mongers. On the contrary, most are the biggest-hearted people I’ve ever known. But I think some need to believe that an incident like this has to be about something Muslim, Jordanian, terrorist — pick your label — something foreign to touch us where we are supposed to feel most safe. The alternative — that this war, or even the idea of this war, might make our cherished ones desperate and nearly unrecognizable, that the Army that vows to protect us while our soldiers are away may not be able to keep that promise, that we need to worry about our soldiers even when they are not deployed to combat zones — is too much to bear. The ideas are disheartening, yet as a military spouse, I can’t deny that I understand it.


Twitter The Gadget

This from FreshInc

Get ready for Twitter, the gadget. One of the reasons for Twitter’s breakneck growth has been the company’s decision to make its data available to anyone interested in building applications on top of its messaging system. (This approach has worked pretty well for two other companies you may have heard of.) Until now, all of the Twitter upstarts–such as the iPhone app Tweetie and the link-shortener–have focused on making software. But now, one company is trying to turn Twitter into a profitable gadget. Peek, a New York start-up that makes a cell-phone like device for email, just introduced a $199 hand-held gadget “built exclusively for sending tweets,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s venture capital blog. According to the article, Peek “expects the TwitterPeek to be popular among those who use Twitter to promote their business, likely equipping an employee with a dedicated device.”

Can’t wait!


Travel On Twitter

A lot of my 250 odd contacts on Twitter are in the travel trade – not unexpectedly – so I was interested in this article by Michael Gray on Search Engine Land

“When working with different clients on social media related projects, one of the interesting aspects to look at is whether or not their industry embraced Twitter, and how well are the industry as a whole is using it. In some cases there is little to no engagement, in other cases the industry has embraced the medium, from large brand name corporations all the way down to local providers.

As I’ve stated in the past, there isn’t a right or wrong way to use Twitter, only a way that helps you meet your goals. However, when most companies use Twitter they fall into three general categories:

* Community engagement and customer service
* Broadcast channels for news, articles, and information
* Dedicated sales channel

It’s not surprising that the accounts with some of the highest follower counts, in some cases over a million followers, are those that fall into the “community and customer service” category, examples of these would be @jetblue, @southwestair, and @alaskaair. Traditional publishers such as @LATimestravel, @nytimestravel and @TravelMagazine use Twitter as a broadcast channel for their articles. An interesting variation of this method is used by @EmiratesAir, who tweets links to publications and articles about Emirates Airlines. Examples of sales channels include @Expedia and @SpiritAirlines.

It’s worth noting that very few people use it purely for community engagement, broadcasting or sales; instead, most use a hybrid strategy, with the majority of tweets falling into one category, but having some tweets of each type. In some cases, it makes sense to create a separate dedicated channel. An example of multiple channels comes from @jetblue who recently introduced @JetBlueCheeps specifically for discounted fares. Some companies also use Twitter to extend their real world marketing efforts and specialty campaigns such as the Travelocity Traveling Gnome @roaminggnome and Priceline’s William Shatner Price Negotiator @TheNegotiator.

As Twitter becomes a “breaking” news channel for many, the importance of having a presence on Twitter can’t be understated. For a small but vocal part of the population, Twitter is a primary news source, a prime example of this occurred during the US Airways Flight 1549 emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York City. Some of the earliest reports and photographs from the incident appeared first on Twitter. US Airways scrambled during a crisis to get an account working to push out official information @USAirways. The account has become dormant now, but the key point is if your customers are looking information here, you should be there too. The use of Twitter isn’t limited just to commercial and private organizations, for example the US State Department issues travel information via @TravelGov, as does the US Forest Service @forestservice.

While the majority of the organizations that get most attention on Twitter are larger national groups, there is a growing and active local travel component as well. Local but well known tourist destinations such as the Queen Mary in Long Beach have a presence on Twitter, @QueenMary. However smaller travel groups and companies such as Ohio Travel Association @OhioTravel, St. Louis Hilton @HiltonSTL, Tuscon Radisson @RaddisonTuscon, Alcatraz Cruises @AlcatrazCruises, and Air Ship Ventures @AirShipVentures are also on Twitter.

One of the biggest resistance points I get when I talk with clients about using Twitter or social media in general, is the fear of negative press and negative communication. However, hiding from negative feedback isn’t going to make it go away, remaining mute only makes you a bystander in the communication. One of the most disliked organizations in the world- the TSA, has a blog and presence on twitter @TSABlogteam, and should be case study for anyone concerned about negative feedback. For companies who still decide not to participate, the problem of fans or someone else developing a presence in their absence still exists. Case in point, the @AmtrakNews is an unofficial news feed for Amtrack. The @Amtrack profile is a non-malicious brand squat, it appears she’s securing “AM Track” and not trying to pretend to be the company. Sometimes a brand advocate or fan can also start up a profile, such as this fan from KLM Airlines @klmfan. The worst case scenario is if one of your detractors sets up a profile such as the @IHateEasyJet profile.

For companies who decide to participate but aren’t sure how and when to engage, the best suggestion is proceed slowly and with caution until you feel comfortable. Larger companies may find benefit in having more than one person doing the actual tweeting. In most cases, it’s best to let people know there are multiple people responding and to identify who is responding with initials or some other easily identifiable abbreviations. Some profiles such as @FrommersTravel link their twitter profile to a page with information about who is tweeting. If your organization is uncomfortable about how and when to engage others directly, you should review the US Airforce Social Media Response Chart (PDF) for guidance.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that participating in social media can amplify the voice and exposure of people or organizations who would normally have a very small reach. One social media advocate, @AdventureGirl has in excess of 1 million followers. There are a handful of travel bloggers @everywheretrip, @ecointeractive, @kathika, and @WeBlogTheWorld who each have between 50,000 to 100,000 followers, and yet, aren’t well known brands.”

If you are on Twitter check out #traveltuesday. The picture? Victoria Falls of course!



I found this through Happy Hotelier. Ron Callari, Society and Trends Writer at writes:

The difficult thing about traveling is finding the right hotel in the right city at the right price! But equally important is securing a hotel you can trust – one that has been recommended by others. Hotel booking sites like can locate a number of hotels any where in the world and if you are diligent enough to cross-reference with TripAdvisor you can most likely obtain a review on that hotel’s performance. But until now, there was no one site that could surface hotel recommendations for you firsthand, without a lot of searching and cross-referencing. Twihotels is filling that void nicely with a new app they just rolled out in August. is a Twitter application that allows you to tweet your hotel queries to your followers. Once you tweet your hotel request, the followers that respond will be providing you with recommendations based on their experience in that particular destination. User-generated responses like this are worth their weight in gold since they are based on helping others make the best travel choice. And yes, even hoteliers can respond to your tweet if they feel their accommodations meet all of your criteria. They may also be inclined to offer you discounts and bargains as a result of finding them on Twitter. In interviewing Ajit Narayan, Promotion Manager for Twihotels, he asserts ” that an application such as can facilitate the interaction between all parties.”

Details for submissions include country, city, hotel category, check-in date, check-out date, rooms required, number of adults and children accompanying you.Once you submit a request, your tweet will immediately be added to your time-line for all of your followers to see and respond to. Twihotels also includes a search feature on the site. To discover relevant hotel queries, you can do a specific keyword search or you can also opt for advanced search that provides drop down results based on country and city names. You can also search on Twitter as well or by visiting Twihotels’ Twitter account page.

Social Media sites on Twitter are another means of obtaining non-commercialized information and updates about hotels, travel and destinations. For other Twitter accounts that specialize in social media in the travel industry, check out INN Social Media and AllTravelSites. Both of these sites include blogs, directories and up-to-date commentary about hotels doing the best job on Twitter. is another innovative Twitter application created by MapXL Inc, a division of Compare Infobase Limited that has incubated other successful web projects such as,, and

There you are then Tweet your hotel requirement now! The picture? I couldn’t find a nice one of Twihotels but I liked this!


Caitlin Papier

Our beautiful, talented and thoroughly Zambian violinist Caitlin Papier has a new website. Go to this link. You’ll find her on Twitter too @electricandlive Become her fan on Fb as well!

“Roaming between tables or sliding across table tops, performing mellow-mood-setters or rocking electrifying showstoppers. Whether she’s performing on a moving train, on top of a front-end loader, during a sunset cruise down the Zambezi or the Vaal, strutting down a catwalk, entertaining government officials or perhaps Royalty – Caitlin is an electric violinist that does things her way – with unstoppable energy and pure, uninhibited passion.

Born in Chingola and raised in Kitwe, Zambia – Caitlin is strikingly patriotic and devotedly African. She has represented Zambia at an International level, been commended by the Zambian President himself for ‘holding the Zambian flag high beyond Zambia’s borders’, she enjoys the constant and invaluable support of countless fellow Zambians, an ever increasing number of South Africans and a surprising International following.

Inspired by electric violin trail blazer, Vanessa Mae, Caitlin aims for rock star status in the meantime, she’s slowly pushing boundaries and stepping beyond the classical-crossover genre which has become so firmly associated with the electric violin – experimenting in the fields of ska, psy-trance, hip-hop, rock, pop and electro all in a quest to find her own sound – but don’t worry, she’ll play you some Vivaldi if you need her to.

Caitlin has been on stage since the age of 5 and discovered the violin at the age of 9. She has never been seriously classically trained but her place is undoubtedly on the stage with her electric violin, she lives for the spotlight and her love of performing is obvious to all.”

Page 3 of 4 1234