Archive for May, 2010

I’ve always said that if something needs explanation, don’t use it. And yet I’ve broken this rule with the seagull photo for this blog. So please let me explain why I chose this photo to represent Tourism Land.

First of all, a little background information: I wouldn’t say that I’m afraid of birds but I don’t like touching them or having them too close to me and yet, somehow, they fascinate me. I love coastlines so most of the birds that I photograph are seagulls and now I’ve developed a slight obsession with them. And by “slight” I mean that it’s pretty much out of hand. (more…)

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As some of you may know, I recently went on a Geekcation in Chicago with Betsy Decillis. One of our goals was to work on an Explore Chicago Foursquare badge. The Chicago Office of Tourism has three custom badges: Chicago Blues, Celery Salt and On Location. We walked around the city, checking in at various venues to earn the On Location (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) badge. Sure, I’ve used social media to help plan vacations before but this was my first trip that required a social media strategy. And yes, I do realize how geeky that sounds.

The great thing about the badges is that we were seeing more than the usual attractions. I had never seen Calder’s Flamingo sculpture before but since it was a badge location, it was on our list. We truly explored Chicago that weekend.

As we were finishing up our badge checkins, we realized how incredibly fun and satisfying it was to work on a badge. What could have made it even more fun? Perhaps a google map of the eligible venue locations. Or maybe a special Foursquare itinerary geared to people like us. Surely there are others like us, right? We started to think about possible destinations for the next Geekcation. Of course New York and San Francisco were at the top of the list. And now there is one more to add: Pennsylvania. (more…)

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Go beyond the basics of twitter by maintaining your twitter followers. This is especially important if you’re trying to increase your followers and you’re stuck around the 2,000 mark. (Twitter only allows you to follow 2,000 people until you have a similar amount of followers.)

FriendorFollow is a great tool to see
1. Follows: who you’re following that are not following you back
2. Fans: who is following you but you are not following back
3. Friends: mutual followings

This tool also allows you to export your follows, fans and friends and provides follower location data. (more…)

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Happy Birthday, Chip!

My little boy is growing up.

Even though he still acts like a puppy most of the time, Chip turned 4 today. Every dog loves their owner unconditionally but Chip has a very special bond with me. He is loyal, slightly overprotective and tries to do everything to please me. My family jokes about him being a mama’s boy but that is exactly what he is. He follows me around the house, craving for attention, and as soon as he gets it he becomes so content. (more…)

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Twitter rolled out the Lists feature last fall however many tourism organizations have not taken advantage of lists yet. Lists are an easy way to promote bureau membership and categorize twittering members. People can subscribe to your lists and view them as columns in TweetDeck or HootSuite. You can also embed twitter lists into websites and blogs.

Imagine a twitter list of all the hotels in your area. A visitor can then easily view this list to see if any of your hotels are offering special discounts. The same can be true for restaurants, attractions, etc. Visitors could also benefit from “Locals” lists containing local bloggers, news or weather. (more…)

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Millie on her 9th Gotcha Day

Nine years ago today I brought home a little furry bundle of brown freckles. I just finished grad school and had been searching for an English Springer Spaniel when saw an ad in an online newspaper from a home up in Germantown, WI. There were nine pups in the litter and all were spoken for except for one female. We decided to meet the next night for me to look at her. The 2.5-hour drive seemed to take forever but I finally got there and instantly fell in love with “Spinelli” (aka Millie). The family named her after a character in Disney’s Recess cartoon but her name was changed before we got to the Illinois state line. We finally got home around midnight that night and Millie quickly adapted to her surroundings. I didn’t know it at the time but I was extremely lucky that she was almost completely house trained. (Wait for the stories of Daisy and Chip.) (more…)

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I “like” a lot of CVBs on Facebook. Ok, that’s probably an understatement. The truth is that I’m a fan of hundreds of CVBs. As you can imagine, I see a fair share of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to CVB Facebook posts.

It takes very little effort to create a quality post. Sure it’s easier to link your Facebook updates to your twitter account or to use tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck to update your Facebook page but it’s well worth the extra minute to create an engaging posts that contains a link, image and quality copy. (more…)

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