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Alasdair Farrimond, Travel 2
Posted by Debbie Hindle on 14 November 2011 | 0 Comments
World Travel Market this year had a fantastic focus on social media. Social Travel Market (@socialtrav) sessions were set up alongside the main event by The Sunday Times online travel editor Steve Keenan (@stevekeenan) and Mark Frary (@markfrary)
I sat on one of the panels to discuss the difference between bloggers and writers and my fellow panelists included Independent On Sunday Travel Editor and entrepreneur Kate Simon (@traveltapper), Guardian columnist and blogger Sally Shalam (@sallyshalam) and Inside The Travel Lab blogger Abigail King.
While the other panelists discussed writing, I decided to talk from a reader's perspective and to call for an appreciation of great writing in both print, online and blogs. This is a rough summary of what I said
I'd like to talk from a reader's perspective
I love beautiful writing.
I'm the literature graduate who got a job in a independent bookshop while I was studying and was like a child in a sweet shop, curling up in the corner to read when I should have been serving customers.
I love beautiful travel writing. When a writer puts words together that transport me somewhere else and makes me see the world in a different way. Rattling round in my head there's still an article that Peter Hughes wrote several years ago about the decline of tigers in India. Jostling against that there's a Telegraph Magazine article about the red rose dawn over Petra which made me drag my family around Jordan in a rickety minibus when my children were tiny.
Clipped to the board over my desk at home I've got a Guardian article about family camping in New Forest; the thought of 'soft light filtering through canvas and the sound of woodpeckers at work' means I will be going to the New Forest one day on the strength of that one article.
Great travel writing is an art. It's memorable.
Its beauty, the juxtaposition of words stays with me as much as an image of a great work of painting or sculpture.
Fifteen years ago a great piece of writing would make people pick up the telephone call the travel company quoted for more information.
We could all see the impact of great writing.
The same beautifully written article today may have the same impact but it's not so visible. I'm inspired. I keep the article. Later I go onto the company's website. That company has no idea why I went directly to their site.
That lack of obvious connection means budgets are shifting online. National newspapers travel editors are cutting freelance budgets. Some great writers I know are doing other things- training to be a Blue Badge Guide, a teacher, a nurse.
Great travel writing is still popular. Just go to any bookshop and you'll find reams of books, but I worry that great writers aren't finding the commissions in national newspapers and that great words are being lost.
Into this world comes the blogger. There's a liberating creative explosion of ideas, enthusiasm, exuberance and passion. Travel bloggers, foodie bloggers, mum bloggers -all bloggers, sharing ideas, views, images and words.
Steve Keenan, Sunday Times online travel editor and, indeed the UK's first national online travel editor, asked me if bloggers are filling the gaps left by the lack of space in national newspapers, are they replacing or complementing travel writers?
I wholeheartedly say blogs complement travel writing.
I now don't have to wait until the weekend for a dose of travel writing indulgence. A twitter link can take me to a series of beautiful images, or thoughts, at any time of day or night.
Blogs can fill the moments of travel writing that a print article doesn't - the anticipation, the visceral nature of travel - the exact moment you walk out of a plane into the heat of a tropical evening. The joy as you enounter something new. I've read travel blogs which have made me laugh, made me think and made me wonder. The nature and style of blogging means it's faster, shorter and more concise that print features. It's great for travel organisations which are launching new things, or festivals or events where live reporting can capture the excitement of the moment. It's image-heavy and often quirky and entertaining. You get to know the voice and style of the individual author rather than the publication its printed in.
There's a huge world of opportunity out there for both travel writers and bloggers, I do think they complement each other. Let's celebrate great writing in both.
I'm still the girl in the book shop curled up in the corner reading it all voraciously. Please give me more.
For a concise summary of other comments at Social Travel Market have a look at these snappy takeouts on the website Travellllll
adam hanmer advertising apd awards blog blogger bloggers blog blogs blogs social media brand branding broadcasting clients conde nast crisis crowd sourcing digital digital content dubai economy environment ethical event events exodus experian eyefortravel outsource facebook foursquare global sports industry congress gowalla green hospitality hotel clients hotels interviews ipad itb jo johnson link building luxury marketing media pack middle east natural search new clients news international online online trends outsourcing pangaea network paywalls photography pr reponsible representation responsible travel search engine optimisation seo social media social media mobile facebook speech statistics strategy sustainability sustainable swine flu tbu the sunday times the times tourism tourism awards tourist board trade training travelbloggers unite travel marketing travel media buying travel pr travel social media trends trust twitter usa viator video visit britain writer yougov youth