[Written in the eyes of Shannon O’Donnell]
For travel bloggers in particular, there’s a lot of functionality packed into the platform that makes our lives a bit easier, particularly as more bloggers join and the community grows. First let’s look at a summary of the major functions travel bloggers will enjoy, then we’ll break down each component.
Biggest Benefits for Travel Bloggers
- Check into a location and update the major social platforms in one click, as well as text and email—all one seamless check-in and update process.
- Connect with any other travelers or friends who checked in somewhere nearby—the system shows you Oh Hey World users and Facebook friends who are close to you.
- See the real-time locations of any other bloggers or those with shared passions—basically anyone with matching tags.
- Auto update your location on your travel blog via a WordPress plugin—your location changes every time you publicly check in somewhere new.
What does this mean?
One-click check-in updates:
With the myriad of social media sites we’re all a part of, as well as the family wondering if we’ve safely arrived (I know my parents are always keen to know where I am!) it can be a chore to individually update each platform. So, by connecting your social accounts, saving the email addresses of your parents or family, and the phone numbers of important friends, you can update them all with one single click.
Practically, that means when you hit “check in” with your location you are geo-taged to an entire city (just like Facebook’s city location most of us have on our profiles) and you are then prompted (though not required) to update and share your safe arrival with those who matter:
- Send an email to your parents.
- Text your best friend or significant other.
- Update your Facebook page.
- Update the “where I am” widget on your travel blog (public check-ins only).
- Send a tweet with your safe arrival.
And for the privacy concerns, look, I’m a female traveler and I get the whole “I don’t want a stalker” argument, but at the same time, OHW is a lot safer than sites like FourSquare because you can 1) check in privately, which still lets you find other travelers nearby and only message the ones you want to know that you’re in town, and 2) it’s a broad-level check-in to a city, so your exact location in that city is still unknown. I liken it to updating your Facebook page with the “current city” or telling people on Twitter that you just landed in Sydney—same thing.
Find other bloggers and travelers nearby
One of the neatest parts of Oh Hey World is the ability to see which friends and bloggers are nearby where you just checked—or in the city you plan to visit next. Once you log into the system and formally check into a city (which you can do publicly or privately), a list pops up showing you all your Facebook friends and connections in the Oh Hey World Network who are nearby—you can then message anyone you may want to meetup with for coffee, drinks, and whatnot.
See locations of other travelers and friends/family
Using the lists and tags functionality, anyone who has tagged themselves as “travel bloggers” will show up in a search (check here popular tags), and you can real-time follow anyone on the lists you create. Same goes with people you are following, and many other niche tags as the base of travelers in the OHW system grows. That means that down the line you can quickly find where other bloggers are in one glance (instead of slogging through their blog archives, Facebook updates, and Twitter feeds hoping for an update), but you’ll also be able to find people with similar niche interests who tag themselves with interests like “food” “coffee” “microfinance” etc. In short, connect with people with shared interests via their location and proximity to you.
Update your travel blog the easy way
I cannot be the only person who has spent ages updating my homepage widget and tweaking my location data on my blog to keep it up to date with my current location. In fact, it was such a hassle that I stopped. But, the OHW plugin uses your public check in information to update your blog—this widget can be used on your about page, or sidebar, or really anywhere you want it.
How to get started
The site is very simple and intuitive to use, but there are a few tweaks and sections of your profile that will give you the most value if you fill them out fully. Follow the steps below to get started, and email us if you encounter any issues since we’re still in beta testing and want to make this super valuable for travelers and bloggers alike.
- Sign in.
- Edit your profile and connect to Facebook for the best experience.
- Add your interests, passions, and experiences to your profile. Ensure one of them is “travel bloggers”. My profile is here if you’d like to see an example!
- Check into your current city and look through all your friends and OHW users nearby (public or private check-in—totally your call).
- Search by tags to find other like minded folk. (popular tags are here)
- Follow any friends and other travel bloggers you see in the OHW system, create a list for them, and then you can easily track their public check-ins.
- Update your location each time you move on to a new city and connect with nearby bloggers.
- If you’re using WordPress.org, install the Oh Hey World WordPress plugin so your current location is instantly updated on your site’s sidebar or about page.
We’re shaping this site to become the most useful tool the moment you set foot in a new city (and as bloggers we step foot in a lot of them!) and will be tweaking and expanding in the coming months to better fit the needs of the travel blogging community.
And now, let’s part with a question—what other goals do you as a travel bloggers have that we can help you with?
This is a controlled launch with a limited number of people, so as to ensure we catch any bugs we missed in our private beta and optimize the user experience before we open it to the general public.
The link below is good for 50 registrations, so act quickly …