Social Media and its impact on the way we communicate when we travel – by Andrei Milosevich
We’re constantly connected. There are internet connections everywhere. Plug into a wall or get it over the air, we’re never far from our online lives. We share, over share, and watch others share. These connections, propelled by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, among a great many others, have not only changed the way we engage with one another, but they’ve changed the way we travel.
This connection means we’re never far from home. You may be 2174 miles away, but your friends and family know what you’re up to. You’ve uploaded pictures and video within hours of taking them (if not instantly). While those back home may not get the “full experience,” they’ll get a significant amount, more than they ever would have otherwise and in the past.
It’s not just these networks making it so easy to communicate and share. It’s our devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and ultraportable laptops. We can be anywhere and do anything, and it’s making travel easier, whether it’s for work, pleasure, or education. But, there is also concern that this connection is having a questionable impact on travel.
What does questionable mean? It’s related to the concepts of over sharing and information overload. Communication over distances may be easier than ever, but so is overexposing oneself. Some consider it a distraction. Regardless, sharing the travel experience is by no means a bad thing, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are countless well-written travel blogs packed with insightful information, stories, and images that give other travelers and potential travelers inspiration. It’s about finding a balance. Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend any extended period on a device when they could be experiencing the world around them? Unless, of course, you find yourself in the Midwestern U.S.
In any case, social media has turned travel on its head. Going back to the idea that technology has made travel easier many aspects of traveling have been streamlined and made incredibly easy. I am NOT talking about the experience at the airport. While there are many things on this wonderful planet worse than working through airport security, it can be lumped into the overarching category of “Hell on Earth,” albeit a self-imposed hell that could be easily rectified with the removal of brainless and incompetent bureaucrats. It’s the integration in the form of apps and direct communication on social networks. Travelers can access literally any aspect of their trip directly from their phone, removing mystery and anxiety completely.
Does that removal of mystery and this streamlining take away from the experience? That’s a good question and the answer depends on what your travel goals are. For the business/work traveler, the answer is “no.” Social and app integration into business travel has proven incredibly beneficial from both a productivity and a financial perspective.
For the adventure traveler, the answer is much more variable, though arguably not a straight up “yes.” If there isn’t any mystery and you know precisely and in real time, where is the adventure? While plenty of travelers exist who eschew this type of travel and choose to experience things for themselves, they seem to be increasingly in the minority as social media becomes a constant in our lives.
How do you use social media in your travels? Has it been useful? A burden? Let us know in the comments below!
Andrei Milosevic is an international student, traveler, and writer. Over the past few years, he has been studying international business and providing advice and insight into making international calls. In his free time he kayaks and Skypes with his best friend back home in Serbia.