The best part of today’s World Travel Market adventure actually had nothing to do with the WTM. It was the Travel Blog Camp I attended tonight hosted by Darren Cronian of Travel Rants fame. I was one of the lucky few who attended the inaugural event last year and it was one of my first posts on the fledgling Joobili blog. What I liked about the 2008 event was the open discussion – even heated debate – that is common at startup conferences but unfortunately missing from most travel industry events. The 2009 edition Travel Blog Camp came with corporate sponsors and free food, the first signs that a cool event has sold-out and lost its vibe. Then the four sponsors were invited to address the audience. Here it comes, the deluge of corporate-speak. Didn’t happen. Congrats to Kevin May and Darren for keeping to the script that made the previous event such a success. Present some ideas, challenge those ideas, rinse and repeat. Below are a few of the topics we discussed, but here is the more detailed account if you enjoy piecing together fragments of a conversation.
Twitter: Early discussions seemed to focus on Twitter rather than blogs or other forms of social media. Actually Facebook dwarfs Twitter in both total consumer reach and in tools for interacting with your audience. But who cares about utility, Facebook was so 2008, right? What will it be in 2010?
Paid Content: Is content a commodity (nearly free) or is Rupert Murdoch maybe not as senile as we all think? The room seemed to be split on the issue. It’s hard to define which content is worth paying for, but clearly the status quo of free content is not sustainable either. You might enjoyed reading Mark Cuban’s take on this debate here.
Libel: Simply stated, you are responsible for the content appearing on your blog. The ability to create a (free) blog that can potentially reach thousands of people is truly a revolutionary shift in communication. But with power comes responsibility and you can’t have one without the other. Some bloggers are learning the hard way. The basic advice was to understand what is considered libel, pre-moderate comments on your blog and create a comments policy. The discussion got me thinking about Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. Are you responsible for libel that appears on these platforms?