Sara with Roxanne Darling after the session about Tourism 2.0
The amazing Roxanne Darling and many dedicated Hawaiian social media leaders have organized Podcamp and WordCamp Hawaii. The event is bringing together over 500 participants to the Hawaii Convention Center to meet some of the top podcasters, bloggers, videobloggers, social media experts, and web gurus. I attended yesterday very briefly in the morning (with my entire family!) and heard a session called "Using New Media To Capture Outbound Chinese Tourism" with Roxanne Darling and and Christine Lu. (Kids sat through the session because they feel asleep due to jet lag!)
Kids are not smiling because they are muttering
when are we going to the beach?
I usually attend conferences alone and the family stays behind. But when I told my family I had an opportunity to go to Hawaii, they insisted on coming along. So, decided to take an all too brief family vacation. This is a first for me - to have my family with me and to actually enjoy the location where I'm working.
Hanging with Neenz from All Top.
I probably wouldn't have gotten to the beach or enjoyed Island culture if my family wasn't here, I would have been blogging the whole time! We did get a chance to hang some social media geeks. My kids just loved Neenz from All Top, not only because she gave them all top stickers with the donkey word on them, but because she said to us "Go to the beach now!"
So, that's my excuse for leaving podcamp so early .... I just couldn't listen to sessions about Tourism 2.0 without experiencing Hawaii as a Social Media tourist. So, we headed off to the North Shore, and I tweeted, flickered, and streamed our fun.
My husband and I visited Hawaii 15 years ago before the Web was around. To prepare for that trip, we did months of research. We picked up some guide books from the library and wrote away to the Tourism boards for maps, brochures and suggestions. We didn't have a way to connect easily with other Tourists or know which of our friends could give us suggestions.
This trip was different. While we checked out the Hawaii Tourism web site, it didn't influence our final decisions -- many which were made by reaching out to my social media friends and network. I didn't do the amount of advanced planning either - making many decisions in the moment.
I posted a status alert on Facebook and asked for some suggestions on Twitter. Friends messaged me about where to eat, what to see, and what to do. That's how we made many of our choices.
Sara enjoys Shaved Ice at Waiola
I learned about Shaved Ice on Twitter from my friend Paul Henderson who has lived in Hawaii. While I was eating Shaved Ice, I tweeted it and shared the experience with some followers.
Our North Shore experience started with a visit to the Dole Plantation to ride the Pineapple Express, wander the world's largest maze, and eat Pineapple soft ice cream.
But what a great reaction from my twitter friends was the Coi Pig out
Next we headed up to Waimea Valley where there was a beautiful botanical garden and waterfall. I didn't have a signal, so I fulfilled my one Hawaii experience goal - do macro photography of exotic flowers and birds. Harry and Sara got to frolick in the falls.
Qiking the Hawaiian Sunset at Sunset Beach
We left just in time to catch sunset at Sunset Beach - I twittered the sunset at sunset beach with my toes in the ocean. Unfortunately, I dropped my treo in the sand and it touch screen no longer works - much to the glee of some followers who telling me how jealous they were! Sorry guys. Or sharing my fun with their friends by retweeting.
We found ourselves up on the North Shore and looking for the perfect place to eat. We wanted a place with great food, good wine by the glass list, and kid friendly. I tweeted this and luckily Michael Ni who does PR for Hawaii Tourism suggested Ola's where we had a superb meal (I had the garlic shrimp and a wonderful salad).
The kid's meals were great, but best of all were served on a frisbee. So, after they finished, they could play on the beach while my husband and I enjoyed the ocean view and breeze.
The waiter gave us the check and asked how we heard about the restaurant. I told him Twitter. He wasn't familiar, so I showed him how to Twitter and also about live streaming. He was excited and said he was going to tell the owner about Social Media -- I did an interview with him via Qik.
Then onto Polynesian Cultural Center - and the spooky zoo ride, Unfortunately, it was sold out because we got there too late. (Ah, an excuse to go back to Ola's!) We'll visit today, but earlier. Now, all we need is a hiking place and a beach suggestion nearby ... so @kanter me. Aloha!