How Asian Social Media Transformed a Quiet U.K. Walking Spot

Excerpt from this article:

“When we search for London on social media, it’s the first thing we see,” Hyeon Hui Shin, a 28-year-old tourist from South Korea, said of the East Sussex cliffs, known as the Seven Sisters. “I didn’t know it was so far from London!”

The Seven Sisters — stark, white chalk cliffs facing the English Channel — have long been popular among hikers, a hardy, “walking type,” said Fran Downton, a marketing manager at Tourism South East, the region’s tourist board.

But over the past two years, visitors from China have been increasingly hopping on trains to make day trips here from London. Travelers from South Korea have now started joining them. And they are largely inspired by the cliffs’ appearances in social media, films — especially the “Harry Potter” series — and by recommendations from celebrities.

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Sweden to End Twitter Experiment Letting Ordinary People Be Nation’s Voice

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Since 2011, control of the Twitter account @sweden has been handed to a different person each week, allowing the curators to tweet about almost anything they please. At the end of September, after 356 curators and more than 200,000 tweets, the experiment will end.

She said @sweden is being shut down because its creators wanted to broaden their scope. Most of the account’s followers come from Sweden, Britain and the United States.

“The geographical reach is too limited,” she said. “Now we want to find the new thing, that will reach more people.”

Instravel – A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience

Instravel – A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience from Oliver KMIA on Vimeo.

 

From the video description:

I came up with this idea last year while traveling in Roma. I wanted to take a look at the popular Trevi Fountain but I never managed to get close to it. The place was assaulted by hundreds of tourists, some of them formed a huge line to get a spot in front of the Fountain. Needless to say that I was very pissed by this sight and left for the not less crowded Pantheon.

I was shocked by the mass of people walking all around the city, yet I was one of them, not better or worst. Like all these tourists, I burned hundred of gallons of fuel to get there, rushed to visit the city in a few days and stayed in a hotel downtown… I decided to make this kind of sarcastic video but with the focus on travel and mass tourism…

While the era of mass world tourism and global world travel opened up in the 60s and 70s with the development of Jumbo Jets and low cost airlines, there is a new trend that consists of taking pictures everywhere you go to share it on social networks. During my trip, I felt that many people didn’t really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.

Turning Instagram Into a Radically Unfiltered Travel Guide

Photo illustration by Adam Ferriss

Excerpt from this article:

When people talk about how the internet has changed the way we travel, they typically lament the way our compulsion to document removes us, somehow, from the actual experience…

But that same urge to share has created what is, for me, the best travel resource on the web: using location-based searches on social-media apps, especially Insta­gram, to drop in, like Dr. Beckett, to different destinations. Looking at the raw feed of geotagged posts offers a graphic map in real time, which you can comb through to make your own guidebook. I like to think of it as akin to a surf cam. But instead of tuning in to see if the waves are too mushy, feeds give a feel for a place that you can use to decide if a place feels fun and seems safe — whatever that means to you. And this has become my compass, my way of navigating the world. Rather than obsessing over travel sites or print guides or bothering friends for recommendations, I check a new city or town’s location tag right before I get there and see which recent posts are most popular. What I see there is wildly unfiltered, refracted through multiple perspectives — and much more revealing than any other guide.

 

 

Australia launches giant selfie service for tourists

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Tourism Australia recently launched the oversized selfie service as part of a campaign to attract Japanese tourists to the country. To participate in what the agency is calling “GIGA Selfie” events, tourists will stand on a dedicated spot and use an app to set off a distant camera. They can then download a short video clip that starts as a closeup, but pulls away to reveal the surrounding landscape.

Opinion: don’t cast an evil spell with your selfie stick

People taking a selfie in front of the Colosseum, Rome.

Excerpt from this article:

There is a video on YouTube of a fight between a pair of tourists on a sightseeing cruise in Sydney Harbour. The two men brawl on deck after encroaching on each other’s selfies.

The video is a fake, apparently, but like most good parodies it feels uncomfortably close to the truth, and I’d bet that a similar scene has played out somewhere in the real world.

… Everyone wants to record their experiences on holiday. Nothing wrong with that. But taken to an extreme, this behaviour reduces the travel experience to a box-ticking exercise – and the compulsive quest for a self-mythologising shot in service of social media has spread the disease.

… If warning signs aren’t enough, what else can be done to curb the excesses of this moronic minority of travellers? The Chinese have a radical solution: their National Tourism Administration is compiling a blacklist of people who damage cultural relics and ignore social customs, among other misdemeanours. It sounds more than a trifle sinister – an Orwellian agency monitoring your downtime – but perhaps they don’t have any faith in a hearts-and-minds approach.

The Age of the Tragic Selfie

Man takes a selfie at Erawan shrine

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When daily life resumes at a scene of death and destruction it’s usually a hopeful sign. At the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, the site of Thailand’s most deadly bomb attack, it didn’t take long for Hindu worshippers to return – and with them came other people taking selfies. Is this now a natural response to tragedy?

It’s hard to know exactly what ritual is played out when we stand in front of a scene of tragedy and take a picture of ourselves. There is a debate among some Jewish groups, for example, about taking selfies at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, of all places – some say it’s an act of utter insensitivity and others that at least these selfie-takers have visited the place and may reflect on its horrors.

In Bangkok, I watched a few people at the shrine angling themselves so that the scene of mass-murder would appear in the shot behind them.

There is a global tourism industry and I suppose that participating in its rituals doesn’t mean that your brain or your heart has switched off. And who are we as journalists with our cameras to condemn citizens with their cameras?