12+ Gems of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Plus: 200 Tweets – My Thoughts on Practical Twitter Use)

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The unbelievable Oregon coastline. (Photo: liquidskyarts)

Six weeks ago I conducted my first social media travel experiment. I posed a simple question and let your responses to me on Twitter and this blog dictate exactly what I did on a 12-day roadtrip with my brother from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada.

No packing or planning was done before jumping in the car (the best proof of this: I needed a friend to FedEx my passport to Seattle so I could get into Canada).

I’d done the trip from SF to Mexico several times, often meticulously planned, and this trip — my first up through the northwest coast — was both more fun and less stressful. Here is the progression of my “tweets” (Twitter entries), beginning with the first question…

Off Wed. on a road trip with my bro from SF to Portland, Seattle, then Vancouver. What are your top B&B and must-see picks? B&B rec’s pls! 02:26 AM June 17, 2008

Day 1: SF to Eureka. 101N to lunch at Ukiah Brewing Co., then Avenue of Giants, to Eureka, dinner at Lost Coast Brewery, bed @ dalyinn.com 11:25 AM June 19, 2008

Day 2: to Eugene. Samoa Cookhouse snipurl.com/2ltjq , 500 ft dunes that inspired ‘Dune’ snipurl.com/2ltkx, and sleep @ The Campbell House 10:12 AM June 20, 2008

Day 3-Portland: Powell’s Books, btl of Pinot @ Vino Paradiso (1/2 off @ happy hr), dinner @ Jake’s Famous Crawfish (top-10 seafood in US). 12:55 PM June 21, 2008

Day 4-Portland: woke @ 12, Voodoo Doughnut feast, Saturday Market, rose garden @ Forest Park, movie @ Kennedy School, finish w/ Vault Martini. 02:08 AM June 22, 2008


Voodoo Doughnut’s delicious Maple Bacon doughnut and meth-high-inducing Grape Ape doughnut.

Day 5-to/in Seattle: stop @ bridge of glass http://snipurl.com/2o8ub, amazing espresso @ vivace (espressovivace.com), and dinner at Kells. 01:03 PM June 24, 2008

Day 6-Seattle: lunch @ Cutters, ‘Mongol’ @ the Egyptian Theater, KICK-ASS Remedy Tea (200+ teas) for night cap. Get the ginger/matcha shot. 09:08 PM June 24, 2008

Day 7-Seattle: presented to CIA (no joke), Underground Tour (undergroundtour.com), amazing crab cakes at Etta’s, reading Zorba The Greek… 07:44 PM June 25, 2008

Day 8-to Vancouver: Zoka coffee testing, Seattle (zokacoffee.com); drive up I-5/99 to Vancouver; sushi & sashimi at ‘Asahi-ya’ 1230 Robson. 11:00 AM June 26, 2008

Any recs for vancouver meetup spots and sleeping? Must do’s? 04:36 PM June 26, 2008

Day 9-Vancouver: Stanley Park (incl. totems), best comic/anime exhibit ever (http://snipurl.com/2pps8), amazing Malaysian @ The Banana Leaf 11:21 PM June 26, 2008

Day 10-Whistler BC: excellent hiking to Joffrey Lakes, saw black bear on hillside, incredible pizza in Pemberton at http://ponyespresso.ca/ 10:54 AM June 29, 2008


(Photo: ucumari)

Day 11-Vancouver: Lamb popsicles @ Vij’s, Sauv Blanc fr Alsace, hanging w/ Cameron Herold (http://snipurl.com/2r5gd), + Wall-E… AWESOME. 02:16 PM June 29, 2008

Day 12-Fly Seattle to SF for $98 on Alaskan; ship car from Seattle to SF for $640 www.ableautotransport.com = $ than hotels and gas 09:44 PM June 30, 2008

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Links above, when not written out using shorthand from SnipURL, were added for this blog post.

200 Tweets – My Thoughts on Practical (vs. Addictive) Uses of Twitter

I don’t follow anyone on Twitter. To some, this is sacrilege.

Let me explain the main reason of several that I don’t follow people:

Imagine that you send an email to 10 people inviting them to a party, but you BCC 100 more casual friends who are uninvited. How will those 100 feel? Offended and somewhat resentful, just as I would.

Twitter is like this: all followers and followees are transparent. I can’t follow a single person without risking irritating hundreds. This problem is the same for someone who has 40 followers as it is for someone with 40,000. I avoid the drama and politics by following no one. I do this because I don’t care to be a hypocrite (low-information diet, etc.) and do care about my followers, not because I’m uninterested in them. I track some of my followers regularly but don’t “follow” in the formal sense.

I “follow” my close friends via food, wine, texting, and — for old classmates — Facebook.

Here are several quotes about Twitter relevant to my 3 personal rules of Twitter use:

“Twitter is a community. It’s not all about you. Engage your peers by asking them questions”
-Micki Krimmel, video blogger and host of Mickipedia

“Don’t try to impress–just be yourself. But go a little beyond your comfort zone; share something you’re hesitant about sharing.”
-Evan Williams, co-founder of Obvious, which created Twitter

[my panel interview with Evan here]

Here are my 3 basic “Twittiquette” rules of using Twitter:

1. Add value if you consume attention.

I use Twitter as a “micro-blogging” platform, exactly how it’s most often described. Just as I wouldn’t put up a blog post that reads “just ate a burrito. Mmmm… good,” as it consumes readers valuable attention without adding value, I wouldn’t put up such a post on Twitter. On the other hand, “Just had an incredible mahi-mahi burrito at [best unknown taco stand] in San Diego. Must-eat: http://www.website.com In NYC, try: http://www.website2.com”; adds value with actionable details. Mundane perhaps, but still a cool “to-do” that ethnic food lovers can tuck in the back of their heads.

Some self-indulgent tweets are fine, but make sure 90%+ help or entertain your readers somehow. Information empty calories are parasitic.

2. Use the tool for its best purposes and ignore the rest.

Use a tool for what its best suited to do. Don’t make a Swiss army knife out of every social media tool or you’ll end up with nothing but overwhelm, passive-aggressive “friends,” and a dozen separate inboxes.

I use the blog for testing ideas/campaigns/memes, catalyzing social change, and introducing more developed concepts so I can watch and track their impact and evolution in the blogosphere.

I use Twitter to broadcast time-sensitive suggestions, questions, events, random facts, and happenings, and other ideas that don’t justify an independent blog post. I don’t want another IM program.

I hate page view-driven sites that force features on users in the quest for more clicks. 500+ unread messages on Facebook? 600+ unread requests on LinkedIn? That’s what e-mail is for.

3. Linking is fundamental to adding value.

Twitter is perfect for honing your word economy and value-to-attention contribution: offer a brief takeaway and quicks links to more resources for those interested. Minimal attention impact for the uninterested with gateways to more goodies. Here are a few recent examples.

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Thanks to all for the killer suggestions for my trip! Much crazier stuff coming if you want to follow me here.

Posted on: July 30, 2008.

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122 comments on “12+ Gems of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Plus: 200 Tweets – My Thoughts on Practical Twitter Use)

  1. As you yourself alluded in point #1, there’s value in entertaining. At least as much value, sometimes more, than straight information.
    Love your blogTim !!!!!
    Thanks

    Like

  2. Hi Tim,

    Any particular reasons why you’d changed your no-following policy on Twitter?

    You appear to be following just under 300 people at the moment, so I assume you must have either changed your mind about people being offended by not being followed or simply stopped caring about that anymore?

    Thanks!
    Matt

    Like