2009 was my best year ever, and I owe most of it to the incredible relationships I’ve made on the Social Media platform Twitter.
2009 started with me winning a Shorty Award for providing the best travel content on Twitter with the Twitter ID @CruiseSource. On February 11th, 2009, I accepted the award in NYC, and in my 140 character acceptance speech I announced that we would be planning the premier cruise for social media professionals — the Social Fresh Cruise (hashtag #SoCruise). The Wall Street Journal got a real kick out of me using my acceptance speech to promote the Social Fresh Cruise.
At the Shorty Awards Gala in NYC I got to meet and connect with tons of amazing people including @MCHammer, @GaryVee, @WaltRibeiro, @AlohaArleen, @KitMueller, @girlwithnoname, @pawluxury, @danzarrella, my NYC Tour Guide @misskatiemo and many more. Vote now for 2010 Shorty Awards.
A couple of weeks before my trip to NYC, I volunteered to be the lead planner for Charlotte Twestival, the local event of the Global Charity event organized and promoted via Twitter scheduled for February 12th, 2009. Thanks to Twitter we were able to quickly assemble a team of amazing volunteers who organized a very successful event in barely 2 weeks. It was a powerful display of the power of Twitter and the strength of the Charlotte, NC, Twitter community. The awesome team included some of the earliest adopters of Twitter in Charlotte who’ve helped the local social media community flourish. The team included @jakrose, @NathanRichie, @jruckman, @kateydietz, @jarodhillerman, @CLTNightLife, @crystaldempsey, @DavidKyle, @mtyndal and others.
In July, I live-tweeted and videoed 4 different Carnival cruise ships including the Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Liberty.
In August I live-tweeted during a 7 night Hawaii cruise aboard NCL’s Pride of America. This was an incredible cruise vacation that I was able to share with my wife — a great chance for us to reconnect as she was beginning to feel like a “Social Media Widow.”
As soon as I announced plans for the Social Fresh Cruise at the Shorty Awards, I teamed up with @ChrisBrogan, @93octane, @jakrose, @CruiseDeals, and @GregCangialosi to plan and promote this unprecendented conference. It was an invitation-only social media conference at sea for leaders and influencers in the industry who wanted to get away, unplug and focus on creating some of their strongest relationship with their peers. So the 1st Annual Social Fresh Cruise departed Miami November 12th, 2009, with 50+ Twitter Rockstars on board, was a huge success and plans for a 2010 repeat about to be released.
But what would a social media cruise be without a huge Bon Voyage Tweetup the night before? I co-hosted the largest tweetup in Miami history with help from the local social media luminaries including @yvetteferry, @miamiandbeaches, @alexdc, @refreshmiami, @smcsf and many more! While at the tweetup I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with online friends @CouchSurfingOri, @ViceQueenMaria, @steph_rose and so many more.
I was also fortunate to be invited on the inaugural cruise of the Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship. Prior to the inaugural the Miami Herald wrote an article about the cruise industry’s use of social media, and in the article the Miami Herald instructed their readers to follow @CruiseSource for live tweets from the Oasis during the inaugural. My quote from earlier in the year that “Social Media and Cruising are like Chocolate and Peanut Butter, two tastes that taste great together” made it into the article.
I also live-tweeted from the Celebrity Century that sailed to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I was on board to teach other travel agents “Social Media 101,” which of course included a heavy dose of Twitter training.
Of course throughout the year on Twitter I posted the best cruise deals on the Internets! — and we were recognized by AARP Magazine, CRM Magazine and other publications for providing the Best Travel Deal Tweets.
2009 was a success because I was able to use Twitter to team up with smart, energetic people to accomplish BIG goals. @93octane was the only friend mentioned above that I knew prior to Twitter…he was the evangelist who introduced me to Twitter… Thanks, Lyell!
2010 is looking like it will be bigger and better, and none of it would be possible without my friends, my community of readers, Twitter, my followers and the CruiseSource.us blog. The Best part is that I have a ever growing list of online friends who I can’t wait to meet Face to Face. Traveling with online friends, sharing a once in a lifetime experience creates life long friendships and I hope to share that gift with many more people in 2010!
You can nominate @CruiseSource for this year’s Shorty Award in the Travel Category by Tweeting the following message (click on it for a quick two click process):