Greg Hubbs asks: How about monetization using Social Web tools? We all have to eat and have shelter over our heads. Examples of successes?

My response requires more than 140 characters! How about monetization using postcards or phone calls? They’re just tools! For $, it comes down to having a shared goal and considering the notion that we could be on the same team. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)? The social web is simply an extension of the communication toolbox.

What's in it for me? (WIIFM)

Creating an effective communication strategy using the social web is outlined in the Storytelling Now worksheet and it simply requires a bit of reflection.

Focus first on your message, your story, then on your allies and then on the communication tools in the box. If you have forgotten what your story is, ask your clients — why do they choose to work with you? What you learn might be positively surprising!

If in the case of Transitions Abroad, which Greg manages, it’s all about getting readers to the content-rich deep archive of features, then I’d recommend sharing links on Twitter (which Greg does) and creating some RSS feeds.

Beyond promoting what’s already there, we should consider new partnerships that are financially lucrative, and for that we need to open a call for new partners. This could take the form of workshops and conferences or new publications. It would be good to brainstorm about the type of aps that could engage local tourism pros and visitors alike.

What I admire so much about Transitions Abroad is its keen respect of local communities and the benefits of ethical travel. TA does not define itself as ‘responsible tourism’ choosing instead to walk it talk. From print pioneer to virtual venue, Transitions Abroad is one of the bright lights and it would fun to focus on $-making with such inspired friends and allies.

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1 Response to WIIFM

  1. Hello Ron,

    Many thanks for the kind words.

    What we were attempting to get at in < 140 characters is that many of us are all so often passionate about what we do that we lose sight of the fact that we do have the ethical right to eat and enjoy shelter for our hard work. In the Slow Food movement, for example, aesthetics and ethics are not considered antithetical. On the contrary.

    I agree with Ron that partnerships are key, especially since it is not yet apparent to me that the "green," "sustainable," and "responsible travel," etc. movements have produced websites or blogs that pay for themselves.

    Sites like http://www.ResponsibleTravel.com, which does offer good content and intent, seems to make its money via selling packages and such, many of which are of the ethical variety. But many of the small responsible travel and green sites likely have a much harder time making enough money to subsist and keep going.

    We agree that if we could forge partnerships in which we link to like-minded sites–be they tour operators or providers of information–that they could produce valuable traffic which would be good for all. The owners of the blogs or smaller websites would be helped, and the native people who live on often subsistence wages in their homes would be helped by money coming into their community (hopefully in a sensitive way which does not disrupt their traditional mode of living).

    If we could form a "web" of like-minded sites and blogs, link to each other from each other's sites, market our ideas and information on social media sites in tandem, that would certainly be a wonderful outcome.

    Yes, this is not a new idea at all. I just see a need for someone with the organizational and inexhaustible talents of Ron Mader to help up all get on the same page, and he certainly has provided the overview of the tools.

    We are willing to provide a page(s) of links, articles, announcements, to supplement those we do at http://transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/responsible/resources.shtml and implicitly throughout the site. Obviously our Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 sites–insofar as they are developed (and there we am a bit behind)–presences provide a plethora of modes by which to get the word out.

    Many of the terms are being co-opted and used by sites which are not really committed to responsible or ethical travel at all, and therein lies the danger. Just as travel writing on the web has become watered down by "top ten lists," so the pervasive use of "green" and the like (which even oil companies once used) risks becoming meaningless unless those most passionate and knowledgeable about the subject do not collaborate.

    Thank you Ron.

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