Is the social network revolution ruining our travel experience?

6

June 15, 2012 by farbolino

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve noticed it’s more common to travel with a computer. For the younger generation, I feel it’s almost a necessity to bring a computer with them. Gone are the days when we leave for a trip and tell everyone back home about the trip when we get back home. These days with Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Blogs, and honestly I don’t even know what else, we are constantly informing our friends and family about what’s going on in our lives.

While I think it’s amazing to be able to keep in touch with people back home, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic for the days of going to an internet cafe after a day of exploring Alexandria and sending a mass email and getting back individual replies. The really weird thing is those days weren’t so long ago. 5 years back, Facebook was reserved for the college elite, and although I was in school, I hadn’t actually joined yet. I had just learned what Skype was, but hadn’t used it yet, and Twitter hadn’t even been thought of yet.

There are no shortage of travelers these days. Tourism is an unstoppable force that is only getting stronger with time and I think it has something to do with the social network revolution. You may not know anyone personally who’s been to a country like Ukraine, or hitchhiked through French Guiana, but if you’re reading this then you at least virtually know someone. As you read about others exploring new countries, telling stories about them and seeing pictures, doesn’t that make you want to travel too? Of course it does, and I think that’s why tourism has exploded alongside the social network revolution.

Ironically the need to interact with actual people while we travel decreases. I can’t even count the number of hostels I’ve been to over the last year where there are 4 or more travelers in a common space, yet no one interacts because they are too busy checking Facebook comments, writing a clever status update, Skyping someone back home, or even watching the latest episode of their favorite TV show. I personally have been guilty of all of the above.

Don’t we travel to experience new cultures? Don’t we do it to meet new people? I advocate making the most of your trip. Get out there and meet some new friends. Maybe after you get aquatinted you can watch the lasted episode of How I Met Your Mother together…

Why do you travel?

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6 thoughts on “Is the social network revolution ruining our travel experience?

  1. Mike says:

    Here’s a funny thing … I totally agree! I’ve noticed the same behavior and I’ve found a trick to get pass that. It’s all about cooking. Once I heat it up in the common kitchen at any given hostel, People come by to talk – I guess they’re tricked my the delicious smell my cooking provides. And I always invite people to join me in for sharing a meal. It’s amazes me every time how simple it is to get in contact with each other. For me it always ends up with a bunch of people sitting down together and sharing their food and beverage.

    That’s why I’m traveling … To meet other people and hear their stories and tell them mine.

    Thanks for the great thoughts

    Ciao

    /Mike

  2. Michel says:

    When I was backpacking we’d talk to each other about our experiences and share travel tips. Nowadays, it seems some people just want to get an extra reader to their blog and say: “I did a blog post on that”.

  3. Kelly says:

    Hey dude. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I hope you publish some (but not all) of those old journal entries! 🙂

  4. dakota85 says:

    And what’s your take in iPhones? I travel with a computer, but that still requires a bit of effort to take out, or plug in, you need a place to sit, a table top maybe…but the iPhone? Doesn’t matter; my boyfriend brought one along, merely for games to stay entertained- but we’re totally guilty of spending 6 hours on a bus trip through Palawan playing scrabble, instead of admiring scenery or chatting with the old, toothless man next to us.

    Maybe its’ all about perspective? If you let technology aid your trip, brilliant- but you must remember it’s merely that, an aid- not a crutch…

    • farbolino says:

      You’re absolutely right about iPhones. In fact that is how I’m responding to you. An iPhone provides me with a light way (vs. a computer) to keep in touch with people back home through Skype, Facebook and email. It also helps me out with the google maps app to ping my location in a new city, update currency exchange, take photos, and even play games if I want.
      The games were becoming a problem. I was playing Monopoly and Risk (board games) WAY too much. So…I deleted them. Problem solved. Now I spend my free time downloading a new language app to practice the basic phrases of the new country I’ve just entered.
      Long story short, I think iPhones can be a blessing or a curse; the decision is yours though. Thanks for reading the article, and leaving a comment. I hope to hear from you again.

      Francesco

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