Last month I put my life in the hands of Twitter. That may sound like a nonsensical, hollow boast spouted by some jumped-up, self-appointed “social meeja guru”, but in this particular case it happens to be entirely true. The first bit, obviously – not the rest of it.
The Twitchhiker project saw me travel as far as I could from Newcastle within 30 days, relying on nothing more than the kindness of strangers. To clarify – I couldn’t pay for any transport or accommodation, and instead had to rely on help offered by Twitter users. I couldn’t make any specific requests, and so had to hope that Twitter wouldn’t lead me up a dark alley and have away with my wallet and kidneys.
There were personal reasons for throwing myself into the project; once I’d had the idea, I didn’t want to regret doing nothing about it, because invariably somebody else would have a similar idea and the courage to act on it. But there was also the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity concerning Twitter, to see whether the virtual connections we make with individuals – so commonplace in our lives today – would support themselves when exposed to the physical world.
If you’d like to know what occurred on my month-long perambulation around the world, you can read more on the blog I kept throughout my travels; there’s also plenty of press coverage (which can be found, unsurprisingly, in the press section) to provide a summary of the project and its achievements (which include raising over £5,000 for Charity: water).
The Twitchhiker project also proved that with the right message and attitude, Twitter can be a very personable yet invasive and highly effective marketing tool. Anybody who saw the reaction to Air New Zealand’s involvement in the project will be in no doubt that it created significant product awareness and goodwill towards the brand, that will almost certainly see a tangible return by way of direct flight bookings.
There’s plenty to learn from this project and we’re happy to share the experience with you – if you’d like to know more, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Paul
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