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February 04, 2009

On the Road, with Twitter Your Only Guide

The Guardian's Benji Lanyado TwitterTripping through Paris.

by Wendy Perrin

Check out what's unfolding over at the online water cooler known as Twitter: U.K. Guardian travel writer Benji Lanyado is in Paris with no advance plans, basing all his travel decisions--where to stay, what to see, where to eat--on tips sent to him, in real time, by the people following him on Twitter. Yes, folks, it's the latest, greatest, most cutting-edge form of travel: the TwiTrip. Click here to follow Benji's progress and here to read the Paris recs he's been receiving.

Twitter is not just changing people's trips. It's changing people's lives. But I don't need to tell you what a big deal Twitter is because people like The New York Times' Clive Thompson and MSNBC's Chris Elliott already have. And I don't need to tell you who the travel twitterati are -- the people you should be following on Twitter if you want to know what's going on in the world of travel -- because several lists have already been published, including this one and this one.

So instead I'm going to list some of the non-travel-world people who make Twitter such a fascinating destination. Following their Twitter updates ("tweets") allows me to see inside the brains of some of today's most influential thinkers and find out what's going on in the world almost before it happens. Here are just a few of the "tweeple" every smart twitterer should know about:

John A. Byrne, editor-in-chief of You can follow him on Twitter here.

Chris Brogan, social-media educator. He's on Twitter here.

Andy Carvin, N.P.R.'s social media strategist. You can find him on Twitter here.

Ana Marie Cox, Washington editor for She's on Twitter here.

John Dickerson, political correspondent for Slate. You can follow him on Twitter here. And don't miss his great explanation of Twitter here.

Laura Fitton, social-media consultant. You can find her here.

Jim Long, an NBC cameraman who twitters from behind the scenes at important news events. He's on Twitter here.

Jeff Jarvis, journalism professor and new-media observer. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Guy Kawasaki, tech wizard and founder of Alltop. Follow him on Twitter here.

Jay Rosen, journalism professor and press critic. Follow him here.

Rick Sanchez, CNN anchor. You can find him here.

Robert Scoble, tech evangelist. He's on Twitter here.

Tim Siedell, who wins the award for most hilarious twitterer I've come across yet. Follow him here.

Rachel Sklar, formerly of The Huffington Post and now with The Daily Beast. You can follow her here.

Brian Stelter, New York Times media reporter, who cleverly uses Twitter for article inspiration and research. You can find him here.

What terrific twitterers have I left off this list? Please click on "Comments" and let me know.

By the way, Conde Nast Traveler is on Twitter here. As for yours truly, you can follow me here.


Wendy, I know a lot of people read your blog, so perhaps it says most about the power of Twitter that nobody has commented yet.

As a fellow travel biz tweeter, here are a few of my non-travel faves :

@stephenfry - Since he got stuck in a lift (elevator to some) he is the god of the twittersphere... one mention of a website from his tweets and sites crash (happened today!)

@badbanana - no idea who this Tim Siedell is that you mentioned, but badbanana is the king of twitter humour... methinks Twitter will be the rebirth of the one liner, if only the legend that was Tommy Cooper was still alive.

@lancearmstrong - I'm a big fan, and SO good to hear from him without the filtration of celebrity media hounds.

@theonion - more wondrous one liners in the form of satirical news headlines.

@darthvader - dark sith lord humour

Hi Wendy,
I am amazed to see that U.K. Guardian travel writer Benji Lanyado is venturing on a TwiTrip. He is, indeed, cutting edge.

Thanks for your non-travel-world twitter list. So much for getting an writing done.

Wendy, thanks for turning me on to Twitter a few months ago. Tim Siedell @badbanana is hilarious! So much info on Twitter. I'm addicted. Not enough time in the day to keep up with my tweets!

Yes, indeed, Twitter is the story of the day, isn't? You will see in the comments on the TwiTrip story that I mentioned how we met on twitter and how that led to a fantastic meeting in person on Halloween ( which you wrote about here).

Such a small world! Twitter has been phenomenal in helping us with our open ended world tour, so the twitrip story caught my eye & made me want to help.

I couldn't believe how many "cool,cheap" places we came up with for him in Paris on such short notice & I was thrilled he picked one that I gave him. So great too, that we have the list ready for everyone!

There are so many great people on twitter that no one can name them all, but here are a few of my favorite non-travel related twitteri:

@mayhemstudios @pistachio @rosasay @joannayoung @nadinetouzet @typeamom @lizstrauss @danzarrella @geekmommy @copyblogger @jowyang @murcha @sandrafoyt @coolcatteacher



@Traveln This validates twitter as a useful travel tool. Good to see a lot of my twitter family/followers listed here.

Travel'n On Radio Show

Do you think real people use Twitter to plan trips? Or just journalists looking for a story? Because most of what is posted on Twitter is utter rubbish, I'm not sure I would trust what a Twit says! LOL

Sounds like you're following the wrong people on Twitter! One of these days I'll try to post a list of the best travel twitterers. Yet another item for my To Do List!

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