twitter iconThe 2009 Comfort Food Tour is over.  Phew!

Just to recap, my 23-year old son, his buddy and I covered 1,800 miles, 7 cities, 18 restaurants in six days.  From Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC, Albany, Buffalo and back to Cincinnati, we experienced food and togetherness.  It was a blast.

Besides the obvious quality time with my son, and giving him and his friend the experience of seeing cities they had never visited, I decided to tweet ( the entire trip as a Twitter immersion experience. 

So, how’d that go and what did I learn?  

I tweeted about 60 times over the the course of the trip.  From restaurant updates and ratings to sightseeing pictures (twitpic) and smart-aleck remarks, I kept busy.  I viewed it all as keeping a new media journal. 

Halfway through our trip, tech support (23-year old son) connected my Twitter account to my Facebook account so my tweets posted automatically.  The increase in online chatter happened immediately.

Tweeting enabled Mom and other famly and friends to follow the trip.  I think they enjoyed the updates but, like me, became a bit tired of the volume.

As a professional communicator, I entered the experience with a clear bias.  I felt that Twitter was mostly a consumer-focused social media tool with limited applications for b2b companies. I clearly understood the value of Twitter for crisis communications (reputation management), especially for consumer brands.

The trip and the Twitter experience left me a bit more open to broader applications of Twitter, but I still feel it is primarily a “social” tool rather than a “business” tool (of course, I know Twitter is developing a business application for Twitter and I look forward to learning more about it).

We all have friends whose excessive use of social media becomes sadly anti-social.  Rather than interacting and enjoying the moment, they have their head down typing away on their hand-held.  I found myself doing this periodically.

Regardless, for me it was a learning and growing experience in the use social media.  The 23-year olds were much more comfortable than me.  I had fun.  I got some nice suggestions and comments. 

The trip was a success, as was my own immersion experience with Twitter.  I’ll continue to look for, and feel I am now better able to spot, business applications for the benefit of our clients.

Post by Nick Vehr – 8.24.09