What Twitter means to me

Another beautiful morning ~ life is good :-)

I joined Twitter on 22nd July 2008 ~ a late starter.  Twitter tweets are like Campbell’s soup – condensed!  It makes you focus on the important information you need to get across in just 140 characters.  Sometimes this can be a challenge but you can always paste a link.

I’ve found out so much since I have been on Twitter, it is an amazing tool for communicating.  Better than that, it is wonderful to broaden your circle of friends and business contacts.  It’s always a privilege to meet new people and the fabulous thing about Twitter is, you DO get to know people on-line.

I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the people I talk with and every single one has been as I thought they would be ~ warm and witty, interesting and intelligent, fun and friendly and, most importantly of all, there is already an established relationship there.  Twitter brings out the real person.  Oh, I suppose you can try to impress and be as someone else, but the truth will out.  You cannot maintain long term relationships without being yourself, and that is what Twitter is all about.

People are what make the world go round, people are who we choose to be our friends, people are who we work with, we play with, we confide in, we trust, support, mentor, share with and enjoy the company of.  I am really grateful for the friendships I have made ~ I feel privileged.

So thank you Twitter, for being the best news channel, a font of information, a source of inspiration, a medium to connect for collaboration & business and a wonderful place to make new friends.

A huge bouquet to the NHS

Yesterday I had an appointment at Milton Keynes Hospital to have a strange looking mark on my body checked. My appointment was at 10.50 and I came from my daughter’s home in Buckinghamshire.  What I hadn’t realised was, I had left my wallet at Kezia’s house ~ grrr!

I’d not been to the hospital before, my local one is in Bedford, but the map on the letter was a good one, so no problem there.  The challenge when I got there was what to do about parking when I had no money!  I stopped near the multi-storey car park by outpatients and asked a lady who was pushing a trolley (think it was tea rather than a body!) where I could ask someone about parking.  This lovely lady gave me the £2 needed to park for one hour and would not give me her name so that I could somehow reimburse her.  How absolutely wonderful was that?  Thank you so much mystery lady :-)

Next to the appointment.  The Doctor I saw was friendly, knowledgable and sympathetic, couldn’t ask for more and the nurse was just lovely.  And the result was wonderful, it was nothing sinister! Great news for a New Year.  I was given leaflets explaining everything and what to do in the future.  And, I got back to the car park 2 minutes before my time was up!  Happy days.

Thank you Milton Keynes Hospital for an enjoyable experience and for the lovely people I met there.  The NHS at its best :-)

(Originally posted on 06.01.10)

Sitting and waiting

Today is a waiting game! Waiting for one installation of telephone and broadband from Virgin (between 08.00 to 13.00 hours) and one iPhone to be delivered from Orange (between 09.00 to 18.00 hours).

It’s 11.30 and nothing’s happened so far.  Picture the travel, hospitality and tourism industry : can you imagine what people would say if they were told that the flight they wanted would be sometime between 09.00 – 18.00 or the room service they ordered would be between 08.00 – 13.00!

So how come we accept these very customer unfriendly terms?  Virgin and Orange are both communications companies, you would have thought they would be able to call or text to narrow down the time gap, rather than the customer worrying about going into the back garden for five minutes in case they don’t hear the doorbell or knocker.  To give Orange its due, it did text earlier to confirm, but all it said was that it was going to be today!

So first impressions of the brand are already forming.  It isn’t particularly professional to give a nine hour time span for a delivery or a five hour one for an installation; especially from communication companies.

You begin to wonder, as you sit and look out of the window (yes, I know it doesn’t make them arrive any quicker!), what the actual service you are going to get will be like.  Should you encounter a problem, will the customer care be there for you or will you have to take pot luck that someone will get back to you sometime?  Only time will tell, that’s if anything does happen today!

(Originally posted 17.11.09)

World Travel Market

It’s Thursday 12th November and this week was the week of the World Travel Market in London.  I went on Tuesday and Wednesday and it was definitely worth the effort!

The best thing that happened was meeting up with fellow travel tweeters on the Tuesday ~ so good to sit and chat for as long as we wanted rather than in just 140 characters!  I met with Andy Jarosz @501places, Keith Jenkins @velvetescape, Janice Waugh @solotraveler, Andy Hayes @andrewghayes, Karen Bryan @karenbryan, Tony Champion @HookedOnAsia and, later, Bruce Poon Tip @brucepoontip.  Every single one of them was a genuinely nice person, bubbling with personality, ideas, sound knowledge and fun!

Tuesday afternoon went to The World Tourism Awards and applauded the three winners, who were honoured for their contribution and dedication to sustainable tourism and preservation of cultural heritage. The winners were Tourism Cares, Gap Adventures and Cyrene, Libya.  Bruce Poon Tip is the CEO of Gap Adventures so he received my loudest applause!  Gap Adventures (launched 1990) created the Planeterra Foundation (a not for profit organisation which supports small communities around the world) to ‘give back’.

Wednesday was World Responsible Tourism Day, with a packed programme of seminars and events.  The official opening in the morning had Andrew Mitchell as the guest speaker.  A very eloquent and dedicated world authority on rainforests and founder & director of Global Canopies.

The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards followed and full details can be found on www.wtmlondon.com .

This year was the 30th World Travel Market and, to celebrate, there was a party at the end of the day with singers and dancers from the top West End Musicals to entertain us.  Chicago, Mama Mia and The Jersey Boys were amongst the featured shows.

I caught up with a lot of friends and achieved all my objectives, bar one, and that has subsequently been done ~ woo hoo!

I really do enjoy the World Travel Market, it’s a privilege to meet so many different people from so many different countries and cultures.  Most were so friendly and helpful but, amazingly, some were so caught up with chattering amongst themselves, that they paid no heed to any visitors going to their stands.  Such  wasted opportunities after all the effort and travel to get there.  And, as this for some visitors is the first experience of that country and brand, the impression is not good at all!  Huge mistake.

(originally posted 12.11.09)