Blogging and Social Media

The Blogpacker Review #4

Useful Resources & Articles about Travel Blogging and Social Media.

By the time this post goes live we will be back in the UK. There I will be able to eat lots of cheese and watch YouTube clips of my favourite comedians Bill Hicks and Eddie Izzard. Some of you won’t be familiar with Bill Hicks. He died aged 32 in 1994. I could link to him on YouTube except I am writing this in Turkey and YouTube is banned here.

A link to Wikipedia will have to suffice instead. They must not be carrying anything offensive about Ataturk or Turkishness because I can still access that website.

Just over a month ago Vimeo joined the list of websites banned by the Turkish courts (Vimeo is also banned in Thailand, China and Vietnam). No more HappyTimeBlog or Friday 5 for me then.

(Actually, not all of the above is true. It was true but now it’s not. Four days later Vimeo was unbanned. Whatever it was that caused offence must have been removed. The court changed it mind and stopped blocking Vimeo but I’ll be damned if I’m going to waste a perfectly good opener to this month’s Blogpacker just because they can’t make their bloody minds up).

After whinging on Twitter, Melanie Renzulli got in touch to share her own past frustrations living in Ankara. She described it as maddening to live in Turkey as a blogger especially when WordPress was banned and updating MissAdventures became more difficult.

She recommended installing a proxy and I remembered a recent article on Foxnomad. Like the President of Turkey (who doesn’t support the banning of YouTube), Anil has figured out how to get around local internet censorship when travelling abroad.

I’m glad he has. Not being able to write new posts, respond to comments or even be able to tell you all why I am not doing these things isn’t on the list of 10 things I wish I knew when I started blogging but it should be.

Similar problems exist for bloggers behind the great firewall of China. This Lonely Planet tip from Shawn Low suggests blogging by email as a way around China’s censorship. It works for Facebook and Twitter too.

On a side note, in helping out bloggers in this way Lonely Planet might be cutting their own throat if travel blogs take over guide books. Benji Lanyado, who takes Twitter trips for the Guardian also wonders are guidebooks facing extinction?

Pamela MacNaughtan weighed up another battle in her piece Freelance vs Blogging. Caz Makepeace also references the Huffington Post debate but has already made up her mind and decided she doesn’t want to be a freelance writer.

Caz’s decision is grounded in the realities of writing for a living and clearly she hasn’t believed any of the seven myths of being a travel writer.

Dave of The Longest Way Home takes the argument away from what we want to be and discusses the increasingly blurring lines between travel blogging, citizen journalism and journalism.

If writers can be in doubt what their present roles are or will evolve into it is perhaps no surprise that readers can get a little confused. Jeremy Head, himself a travel writer who has been exploring blogging, has written a short guide to the difference between a blog post and a feature.

However we define ourselves, and whatever obstacles we have to overcome, here are two useful pieces of advice that I’ve seen recently that will help to reach our writing goals. Both are simple and reject a magic bullet solution. The first, from Allison Tait says if you don’t start, you simply don’t. The second is Naomi Dunford’s story of the power of not giving up.

Image courtesy of Webtreats

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