Travel social networking sites have been around for some time now (some might say the marketâ€™s saturated), helping people to plan and write about their trips. The key element of many of these sites is helping people to meet up and make friends, as you would expect.
A couple of brave souls have gone further than this and actually put their travels in the hands of their networks. In 2008, blogger and journalist Vicky Baker wrote a weekly column in the Guardian about her travel-networking experiment across Central and South America. She based the entire three-month trip around meetings with, and recommendations from, locals she met online.
Then this week, I read about freelance journalist Paul Smithâ€™s plan to hitchhike around the world in 30 days, raising money for charity:water. Hereâ€™s the catch: heâ€™s going to rely on the Twitter community for offers of travel and accommodation, turning it into a â€˜Twitchhikeâ€™ (his pun, not mine). He can choose from all the offers he gets, but if he canâ€™t move on from a particular place within 48 hours, â€˜the challenge is over and I go homeâ€™.
This got me thinking; what other parts of our daily lives could we throw to the social-networking wolves? Here are a few of my ideas.
- Live for a week as instructed by your network: what time to get up, what to wear, what to eat and how to behave. Probably best to book a week off work first; rolling in the door at 11am in orange spandex leggings and purple eyeshadow might not go down too well. Especially if youâ€™re a guy (although it would entertain your colleagues).
- Let your friends choose your job: apply only for roles sent to you via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so on. This is a good one if you donâ€™t know what you want to do or lack the confidence to apply. Of course, this relies on people who actually know you to make suggestions. Or not. Hell, go crazy.
- Everyoneâ€™s an agony aunt: this is a bit like the problem page in the newspaper, but with a twist. Post your latest emotional conundrum on your blog; see what your community suggests you do. Choose the best three responses (or get someone else to) and use the one that gets the most votes.
Do you have any ideas? Have you heard of anyone else doing similar things?