Travel Bloggers Unite: United we Stand, Divided we Fall

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An interesting exchange occurred on Twitter yesterday which inspired this post. An “established” travel blogger tweeted how Klout scores and “top … travel blog” lists are not very accurate, then they proceeded to name a less “established” travel blogger as essential proof.

Now, I am not about to go into the “she said, she said” of this Twitter exchange. However, I would like to use it as an opportunity to inspire the travel blogging community to unite more cohesively.

Here are 5 reasons why travel blogging is really not a competition, why travel bloggers should unite and why there is room for us all:

1. Travel Bloggers = More Credibility than Commercial Websites

I am more apt to trust a blog post than I am a commercial website. Why? I can see pics, the nitty gritty, the good, the bad and more. And, if the travel blogger has any dignity, they will be upfront about their affiliate relationships. With that said, I can determine accordingly what weight to give their post/information which is generally more weight than I’d ever give a commercial site (If they are upfront about affiliate relationships)

I find myself inspired after reading a good travel blog. Can you say the same for most commercial travel sites?

2. The Travel Blogging Niche has Many Sub-Niches

There is so much diversity in the travel blogging niche, that we really aren’t competing with each other. We aren’t traveling to the same destinations, carrying the same gear, staying in the same types of establishments, coming from the same backgrounds, or traveling with the same budgets.

Challenge: Name me two travel bloggers that have exactly the same to offer and I will delete this entire post, call it a day, and I will never blog again (this challenge does not count sites that have stolen content and mimicked other sites)

Personal Example: I started Nomad Courier about two months ago and there are no other sites like it that I am aware of (if you know of a micro-team-photo blog that makes digital postcards that flip, please let me know). Similarly, I am a techie and my posts here at Hello, Meet World tend to focus on travel gear and soon will focus on the nitty gritty of Shoe-string travel. Although my posts at Hello, Meet World may be similar to some travel bloggers, I am definitely not the same.

3. Reminder: The launch of a New Travel Blog does not Always = Newbie

Never assume a new launch/re-launch of a blog = a new blogger or a new traveler. You know what they say about assuming…

Personal example: I have been blogging since 2004 (bet you didn’t know that) and I have been traveling to remote destinations since 2007 (bet you didn’t know that either).

This year, I decided to take my blogging to a different level and switched from personal blogging to travel blogging because, ultimately, I want to be location independent and travel blog beyond this short-lived 6 month trip. And, just because I didn’t start a travel blog in 2000, does not mean I have nothing to offer my fellow travelers.

4. The More the Merrier

I don’t know about you, but I regularly follow around 20 travel blogs (regularly follow = read 2-3 times a week, but I follow nearly 100 each month). And, I can honestly say, none of them are alike. Since each has their own writing style, destination, and topical focus, I gain something from each one of them. And, none of them are “competing” for my traffic.

Here are just a few of the 20+ travel blogs I follow regularly (keep in mind some are loosely related to travel). I doubt you will find much in common:

Skool of Life
Where is Jenny
Mars Dorian
Never Ending Voyage
Trail of Ants
Storytelling from an Independent Traveler

5. My Success = Your Success (and visa versa)

If I do well on my site, such success may very well drive traffic to your site. How? Because I link to posts, articles, people, and things I find interesting. So, if my site gets a lot of traffic, your site might just benefit when some of that traffic gets funneled your way. And, I will tell you right now, I am less likely to link to a cocky/arrogant “established” travel blogger than I am to a down to earth “newbie.”

Why has Chris Guillebeau succeeded? In my opinion, it is not because he is trying to visit every country in the world before he turns 35. It is, however, because he is a good guy! His posts emanate that, his tweets steam with genuineness, and his interviews only reiterate all of the above!

Over the past two years, I have followed travel blogging almost obsessively. And, in that time, I have seen some very petty behaviors. Overall, however, I am impressed with the sense of community I feel amongst most travel bloggers. And, I find it telling when some of the “best” interact more with the “newbies” than the middle-fish who think they are “all that and a bag of chips.”

With all that said, I would like to take this opportunity to remind each and every one of us that today’s “pink” could be tomorrow’s “fuchsia.” And, just because you are “established” today does not mean it will be that way in 1, 2, or 3 years.

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses! Let’s help each other by emphasizing each other’s strengths and filling the void in each other’s weaknesses.

Do I really have to remind you: “United we stand, divided we fall” ~Aesop

Let’s not allow unwarranted “competition” to divide and conquer the travel blog community. And, let’s never forget what WWW stands for: the World Wide Web. The web is huge people!

23 thoughts on “Travel Bloggers Unite: United we Stand, Divided we Fall

  1. +1. We’ve been blogging for just over a month and have interacted with both experienced and new travel bloggers and the majority have been awesome to chat with and have been nothing but supportive of us! We love being a part of the travel blogging community and look forward to meeting some of the amazing bloggers in the next 12 months.

    Unfortunately we learned yesterday that there are a very small minority of travel bloggers who have been around for a while and think they’re better than us “newbies”. Sure us new bloggers have to earn respect, but there’s no reason that any blogger should be singled out, essentially ridiculed and used as an example to prove a point. We were disgusted by it, let’s just hope a lesson has been learnt from it.

  2. Nice post Jenneil! Totally agree..the Internet is a large place! Can’t we all just get along?

    A couple additional great travel bloggers that come to mind — Foxnomad, Wandering Earl.

    Jason

  3. Thanks Jason. And, I agree both Foxnomad & Wandering Earl are great examples of travel bloggers who bridge the gap.

    Most travel bloggers seem to support each other, whether new or old. I guess that’s why I was amazed by the Twitter comments.

    Hopefully, some good will come from all of this.

  4. Hey Amy and Kieron, thanks for stopping by. I saw your blog a few weeks back and wanted to give you some kudos on both your blog and upcoming trip.

    We, like you, have had mostly positive experiences interacting with our fellow travel bloggers. And, I hope it stays that way.

    The internet is a random place and things can be unpredictable. I look forward to seeing where the travel blog community is in 1, 2 and 3 years from now.

  5. Very nicely put Jenneil. Everything you said is so true, we are one big community and we should stand united. I seriously LOVE being a part of this and thanks to twitter have virtually met so many awesome people. I enjoy everyones uniqueness there really is no reason what so ever to be ugly and hate on someone else’s success.

    I find it funny that this is the 2nd time I see that person get into it with another travel blogger, I immediately un-followed her cus I don’t need that in my feed…lol!!!

    PS: You rock~

  6. Thanks Jaime

    The thing I love most about the travel blog community is the real sense of community I feel. I think we are different than most blogging niches in the sense that most of us make (or want to make) traveling a lifestyle.

    I look forward to meeting up with fellow travel bloggers around the world. I don’t think the same can be said of tech bloggers, fashion bloggers, etc…

    PS: you rock too~

  7. Thanks for writing this post! The whole interaction was really upsetting and it feels great to see the community come togeather and support each other even when shit hits the fan.

    What I love about the community is for the most part people don’t care how successful you are, if you’re writing good stuff, they’ll link to you, chat about travel, give you tips, whatever. I’ve made so many new relationships with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have through twitter and the travel community. I hope that it continues and I can continue to meet like-minded people and build relationships!

  8. Good post. I’ve definitely been one to hate on the success of the “well-established” travel bloggers (only because I think we all should get a chance to shine) but you’re definitely right. We are all on the same team here.

  9. Building relationships is the key here… if bloggers aren’t interested in building relationships, then what’s the purpose?

  10. Thanks for the kick in the ass to remind us whats it’s all about. I have had nothing but great experiences interacting with all levels of travel bloggers and bloggers in general.

    Like any organization or community there will be people that’ll rise to the top. I say, hell yeah, good for you. As any blogger knows, this game isn’t easy, there is this 4 letter word called WORK involved.

    Success has nothing to do with experience, maybe to some extent. Regardless if you’re a “newbie” or seasoned veteran, it comes down to who is willing to learn and get shit done.

    In my World, anyone who takes action, is a rockstar… even if they’re not be the big dog.

  11. Awesome job on this…you made many excellent points! My travel blog/site has been up for several months, and I have met many great people (doing the same type of thing) on Twitter, etc. But, as you point out, we’re all different…in terms of niches, sub-niches, etc. I like how you see and approach this topic and thank you for raising my awareness/sharing this perspective!

  12. This is such a great post. I saw part of the Twitter exchange you’re talking about happen, and it bothered me, too. For the most part, I’ve had a great experiences with the travel blogging community. The vast majority of travel bloggers — whether established, or just starting out — have been helpful, friendly, and so supportive (I wrote a couple posts on this not too long ago). But of course there are always going to be exceptions. I just try to surround myself with the people I enjoy interacting with, and to hell with the rest of them!

    But you’re so right — in the end, we all share a passion for travel. We’re all on the same team.

  13. Awesome post. Love it! Everything in here is true… I didn’t see the twitter exchange but it angers me anyway. What’s the point? Grr *angry face*

  14. Thanks Nick!

    I actually wanted to include some of that in my rant above, but decided to keep it shorter.
    I completely agree that some people will rise to the top quicker than others for various reasons: effort, charisma, writing style, etc. Instead of becoming a bitter blogger, use it as a learning experience.

  15. Thanks Lisa, I am glad you took something positive away from my post.

    In my opinion, there are not enough travel bloggers out there. I am always looking for information that does not yet exist on the web (or is extremely difficult to find). There is so much room for all of us.

    And, what I found most ironic about the Twitter exchange is that the two travelers have quite literally nothing in common.

  16. Thanks for stopping by Amanda.

    I think you will see from some of the best bloggers on the web that they truly “get” the team concept. A few great examples come to mind (Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, etc)

  17. I didn’t actually see that exchange, but I can sort of figure it out from what everyone has said here. Anyway, it’s a shame that it occurred….glad that’s it over now.

  18. I didn’t see the Twitter exchange and not sure that I would want to. I had a look at the Klout scores and tested my own site. To tell the truth, I didn’t get it 100% but I am not measuring my success by a Klout score.

    I have set my own goals that will tell me whether I am successful or not. Re established bloggers that stand for the word united. Wow there is quite a few. Fox Nomad And Wandering Earl definitely, Criag and Caz makepeace, Emily from Travelated. There is tons more I would name but it would take up the whole page.

  19. I agree that success for a blogger is personal and cannot be judged from the outside. Just like the traditional 9-5 world, it really isn’t about how many cars you own and how big your house is. Rather, it is about the goals you have set for yourself and whether or not you have achieved them.

  20. It’s really interesting to read this article from the perspective of a still-very-much-outta-the-clique noobie. I’ve found myself frustrated from time to time at how tough it can be to break into the blogging world which can at times feel over-saturated. That said, there have been some lovely established bloggers who have prompted me to keep writing, trying and learning about the way this world works. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one to feel disgruntled from time to time!

  21. I also think bloggers hold more credibility than commercial sites…it’s all about the connection! Thanks for finding me on Twitter…looking forward to reading about your adventures!!

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