Thursday, 16 April 2009

Are you a social netsetter?

Are you a social netsetter? Travellers spending time social networking while away: it's a subject that's been hotly debated in recent weeks.

First came a survey from TNT magazine that used the buzzword "netsetter" in reference to travellers who upload pictures of their trip while they are on holiday, as "bragging rights".
(The Daily Mail then took this one step further and declared that "social netsetters are holidaymakers who travel abroad so they can get images on to websites to show off to their friends". As if that's the sole reason to travel. A slight exaggeration, I think.)

Since then travel writer Rolf Potts has caused a stir by telling travellers to steer clear of Twitter.

Rolf highlighted his criticism with an anecdote about an old university friend who, in the 1990s, got a bit too enthusiastic about his new answerphone.

Whenever he left his dorm room, Doug would change his outgoing machine message to fit his current status. “Hey, I’m off in accounting class right now,” he’d say, “but leave a message and I’ll call you back.” “I’m going out to see a movie and maybe go to a bar, but leave a message and I’ll call you back.” Whatever Doug was going to do next — eat lunch in the cafeteria, travel to Portland, study in the library — invariably made it into a freshly updated answering machine message.

An amusing story, however Rolf doesn't seem to grasp Twitter. He thinks - just as I once did - that all people do is post about what they are doing right now. (It's funny how avid users leap up to Twitter's defence at this point, but the site itself - with a slogan "What are you doing?" - does little to dispel the myths.)

There was a good retort to Rolf yesterday on BootsNAll, explaining why he shouldn't be so quick to judge.

The key is not to overuse these sites. The best social media users can see the pros and the cons, and occasionally laugh at the whole damn thing. (See this excellent parody above. If the link doesn't work, find it here)

Would you class yourself as a netsetter? Do you Tweet when away? And when you upload your holiday pictures, is it to brag or to share?