Sunday, July 18, 2010

Man on the Go Listens With Big Ears

Chris Brogan - Social Media TalkImage by Michael Mistretta via Flickr
This past May Chris Brogan launched a new travel blog: Man on the Go. Have you seen it?  If you follow Chris on Twitter or read Chris Brogan, then you know Chris travels a lot: long trips, short trips, by plane, by train, by auto, regionally, national, internationally, with business associates, on his own or with family and friends. Chris will stay in touch, via twitter, with his followers, so one can get drawn into the drama of the travel day. This can include delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost phones, noisy children, noisy adults, rain, heat, etc. At some point Chris decided to share via a blog (really more a video blog) travel tips about hotels, restaurants, airlines, travel gear, etc. He also recruited some of his friends, business associates, and travel industry employees to be guest bloggers on Man on the Go.

Here is what I like about Man on the Go: none of the bloggers (including Chris) claim to be experts, but they've logged a lot of hours in their particular field (hotelier, restaurateur, health practitioner, business traveler or pleasure traveler) and can address the subject in an engaging way. PLUS: if you write a comment, make a suggestion or ask an additional question THEY LISTEN with Big Ears and RESPOND.

Let me give you an example. Recently Chris wrote a post about First Moves When Getting to a Hotel. You might be interested, I was. I wrote a comment that was based on my personal experience and my resume as a former owner/innkeeper.  Chris seemed genuinely pleased to read my tip, writing: "Oh, that's a good tip, Judy. Thank you!"
But wait, this week I had a different experience with another TRAVEL BLOG (with slightly smaller ears). I visited this blog because someone that I follow on Twitter is a travel writer. She tweeted about another blog and I thought I would take a few minutes to visit a travel blog that deals with traveling with children. In my mind I said to myself..."I have traveled with children of all ages and by many let's see what is new!" Imagine my surprise when I got to this blog post and it dealt with a weekend trip to the Mount Washington Valley in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Yes, the same valley where for 11 years I had owned and operated a country inn that slept 120 guests. So here is what I wrote in a comment to this travel writer/blogger:

"I happened by here today because XXXXXX RT your tweet and I was curious to see your blog. Much to my surprise you were writing about traveling with teens and tweens to the Mount Washington Valley. From late 1986-late 1997 I was an owner/operator of a country Inn/Bed & Breakfast in the Village of Kearsarge, Town of Conway, Carroll County, New Hampshire. Kearsarge is a lovely village northeast of the Village of North Conway, so to speak. It is so wonderful to read your various posts of all the adventures you were able to enjoy with your children. I remember as an innkeeper we would hope that the Boston Globe travel editor or Yankee Magazine would visit the valley…and then wait for printed publications. OMG…if you were lucky enough to be mentioned you had to hope it was good and accurate information."
"I am familiar with the XXXXX XXXX Resort. I remember when it first opened in the late 80s. I know it is a nice setting and they have continued to enhance the property, but I really think if I were traveling with teens and tweens I would want to be staying closer to the center of North Conway Village. The reason I say this is that to be five miles south of North Conway Village when traffic is an issue (or at least it used to be) can be a nightmare with children. If you stay in the center or nearby, the children can enjoy shopping, movies, Conway Scenic Railroad, live summer stock theatre, Arts Jubilee, Mt. Cranmore, Saco River …all within easy walking distance or a quick bike ride."
"Last year I wrote a blog about Mt. Washington. You might enjoy reading it."
I want to be very clear here. Normally when I comment on a blog post I use my full name, my business email address and business website to identify myself. But out of respect for this travel writer, who was clear to point out that her trip had been "arranged" by the Chamber of Commerce, I chose not to use my business email address or website and never mentioned which property I had owned. I didn't insert links to all of the venues I referenced, I simply gave my opinion from YEARS of experience and I offered the link to my post about the one and only Mount Washington.

Imagine my surprise when my comment was "moderated", "edited" AND "published" on a post that I did not comment on. Do you understand what I am saying here?  I wrote a comment on POST A and the travel writer moved it to POST D! Here is the edited version of my comment:

"I really think if I were traveling with teens and tweens I would want to be staying closer to the center of North Conway Village. The reason I say this is that to be five miles south of North Conway Village when traffic is an issue (or at least it used to be) can be a nightmare with children. If you stay in the center or nearby, the children can enjoy shopping, movies, Conway Scenic Railroad, live summer stock theatre, Arts Jubilee, Mt. Cranmore, Saco River …all within easy walking distance or a quick bike ride."
The travel writer sent me an explanatory email that said: "Just FYI, I moved your comment to the XXXXXXXXXXX (resort) page and shortened it up a bit. You have a valid point although if you are doing things like shopping and monkey trunks or thinking about canoeing then the south end of the strip is better. We took West Side Road and never had traffic problems if we wanted to get to the center of North Conway during rush hours. I think we only hit one minor traffic jam in 3 days and that was up at the junction to 302 heading south.  Thanks for stopping by."

Now here is my question to you: Am I being over sensitive regarding this matter? Have you ever encountered something like this? I understand not approving a comment for spamming (with or without links) or questionable language...reject it. But edit? Please, let me know what you think?

By the way, here is a link to a really provocative article Travel (and Writing) Free and Easy.

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Freddie said...

Hi Judy. I actually read that post and I don't think you are being over sensitive about this. Editing and moving a post from someone reading your blog is totally wrong. And I think your comments are just right too! I hope you answered back to the writer what you really think about this (or just give him/her the link to this post?).

Judy Helfand said...

Hi Freddie,
I am so happy that you stopped by to read this post. I appreciate that you agree with my sentiments. I am anxious to see what other readers have to say about this subject. My feeling about traveling with families is that it is or can be very expensive when all is said and done. For many, a family destination vacation can be a once in a lifetime event, so I feel travel writers need to be very candid about their observations and be willing to listen to other's ideas. Then everyone can win!

Anonymous said...

Judy, I can't comment much about travelling with family for although I've traveled a number of times with my parents in the last 15 years and it's worked really well, I've certainly not travelled with kids. Even as a child, my own family packed up and spent two months on Hornby Island.

As for moving the post, how utterly strange of them to do that. It's kind of like you are just content for them to flip around wherever they like. At the base of it, it's not very "authentic."

BTW, I live how you post avatars through the years on your site. I may steal that idea and do it on mine. :-)

Anonymous said...

ouch! hell yeah you should have been offended! i am grateful to have your comments! and edit! that is the whole freakin' point of commenting...go give your input! oh well, i am happy to have you come my way!

Judy Helfand said...

I think traveling can be so entertaining...we traveled by Amtrak round-trip from NYC to LA. husband, my 13 year old son, 10 year old son, my then 81 year old mother-in-law, and a former chef from our country inn. She decided to come along at the last minute. She was a life saver with the kids. This trip has all the makings of a good movie!
I still have such vivid memories of family vacations with my parents and siblings.
I don't understand the thinking of this travel writer, that is why I wrote this post to see if I am missing something.
Glad you like the avatars.

Judy Helfand said...

I am grateful to have you read my blog. You always put a smile on my face. The travel industry is interesting...and this incident really startled me.

Chris Brogan said...

I'm not a fan of comment editing, beyond removing questionable links. I let mine stand.

Ah, the ways people learn, however. Magazine editors, for instance, edit all the correspondence, right?

Judy Helfand said...

I came to understand that you are not a fan of comment editing the first time I commented on one of your posts. I was anxious to see what other readers had to say, so I elected (as I often do) to receive follow-up email notifications of new comments. Whoa!! I remember the day it dawned on me that your last name, Brogan, means "heavy, sturdy shoe" (Irish-Gaelic origin), which explained why you receive so many funny "spam" comments advertising shoes! But, like you say, you let them stand!
Yes, people learn in different ways. However, I expect Magazine editors have a more valid excuse--they are managing with their printing costs in mind, but I also think they are professional enough to say they edited something or they will say they received XX number of letters pro and XX number of letters con;they then offer a sample. I don't know maybe I am wrong on this point.

I remember, as a young person, I loved to read the letters to the editor in TIME, NEWSWEEK, the local newspaper or to hear the 60 Minutes gang read the weekly letters to editor.

These sources teach us a lot about our do blog comments.

Mack Collier said...

Chris is right, other than removing questionable links or maybe profanity or personal attacks (these comments are normally just deleted), then I can see no reason why a site would edit your comment and to publish it on ANOTHER post is unforgivable.

If it were me, I'd look at it as a lesson learned and never comment on or read the site again.

Judy Helfand said...

Thank you for weighing in on this topic. Hearing from you and others has helped confirm that I am not going crazy...yet!
Most likely I will never go back to that blog, let alone comment. My oldest son told me to send an email and ask that my "edited and moved" comment be "removed"!


ridgely johnson said...

I tend to be a bit melodramatic- comes with the 'southern thang'- but I agree with your son. I would write and tell them to remove the edited and moved comment (do not ask).
Can you tell I am fired up- I thought they added a little arrogance in there as well... better not head over my way ;-)

Judy Helfand said...

Reading your comment is a good way to start the day. By the way, my son that you are agreeing visiting Corolla, NC this week. His fiance's family is there for a little summer reunion.
I think you are correct, arrogance in tone and action.

Thanks for stopping by.

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