My cruise friends know what that parenthetical is all about
It’s been a year and a half and I’ve been shamefully negligent when it comes to this travel blog. It’s not because I haven’t been traveling; on the contrary – I’ve been on more cruises, flights and road trips in the last 18 months than I can remember off the top of my head. It’s seemed at times as if I’m always either packing or unpacking.
And it’s not because I haven’t had time to record the details of those journeys and share them with others. I admit it: It’s just faster and easier to post that information to Facebook, and the reason I do it is similar to the explanation Willie Sutton was alleged to have given for robbing banks: I do it because that’s where the readers are.
Many of my friends spend large portions of their lives scrolling through timelines on social media. Social sites make it simple to connect; you can reach hundreds or thousands of people with little effort. It’s an invaluable tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, for sharing your joys and frustrations, your glad or sad news, the photos and videos of your kids, pets and vacations, or those funny memes that so aptly illustrate the absurdity of the times in which we live (and for some people, your political rants and raves or your volatile emotional outbursts and dirty relationship laundry – although I would argue that’s a tactic that’s more effective for alienating than for making friends).
Social sites showcase the “quick and dirty.” Twitter is an excellent way to push out a couple of insightful (or asinine) lines of text or blast the URL of that excellent article you just read (or wrote) to a large audience. Facebook and its clones are fantastic places to share somewhat longer or more complex thoughts and get to know people better (sometimes more so that you wanted to) through what they choose to share. Instagram is great for exchanging photos and videos, a modern day substitute for the antiquated practice of whipping out a wallet full of 2 x 3 inch prints or inviting people over so you can drag out the slide projector and spend an evening entertaining (or boring) them.
Each of these has a useful and specialized purpose – but they also fall short, in comparison to a blog, in a few areas. Some of them limit the size of your potential audience; Facebook, for example, caps your number of friends at 5000. If you want to reach more, you have to create a “page” (as opposed to a “profile”), which is designed for public figures, companies, and causes.
A public figure page allows you to have tens or even hundreds of thousands of “followers,” and has some advantages over a regular Facebook timeline for those who primarily want to disseminate information (i.e., writers). You can schedule or back date the posts, which is nice, but it still suffers from Facebook’s biggest flaw (or design feature, depending on your perspective): What you write still tends to get lost in the flow of posts. You can search a page (something you can’t do with a friend’s timeline), but there’s no organized table of contents. And unlike with a blog, you can’t insert photos at strategic places within a post; they’re all lumped together underneath the post.
I seriously considered doing this as a page, primarily because I know human nature. Facebook is “home” to many less-techie Internet users, and they don’t like to venture too far out of that comfort zone. But after considering the pros and cons, I decided to reactivate the blog. I can still create a Facebook page for it, post my long photo-laden articles here, and put the URLs to them on FB. Best of both worlds.
And so … here I am, again. And my next post will be a quick synopsis of the trips I’ve taken and the ships I’ve sailed since my last post in February 2015, as well as those I already have planned for the next year. After that, my mission is to post here at least once a week (making my blog posts back-to-back-to … you get the idea), about my travels themselves and about my thoughts and tips and tricks and insights I’ve gained from my experiences regarding planning, booking, packing, going, and getting the most enjoyment out of going places.