Do you tweet when you travel? We bet you do, that you post your photos and observations as you visit new places — if not on Twitter, then on Facebook, Instagram, tumblr, etc. That’s great, but what’s to become of more conventional forms or writing, especially travel writing? And even if there are some wonderful authors out there, will they find readers with attention spans stretching longer than 140 characters?
Our View From 22 special is about how social media is changing the nature of travel and travel writing. We caught up with Gary Arndt, who’s amassed 125,000 Twitter followers on @EverywhereTrip, as he travels around the world. It was hard to get hold of globe-trotting Gary, but we finally found him in an exotic high-rise location.
We also gathered three travel writers — Mark Mason, Joanna Kavenna and John Gimlette — to discuss the topic. Mark is at @walkthelinesLDN, John at @JohnGimlette — and Joanna was on Twitter for five days before quitting.
Joanna is worried that social media is yet another thing that writers must do for free. Mark accuses her of being a Socialist. Joanna says being a Socialist is no bad thing. John, who was trapped in Argentina when the Falklands War broke out, says he wishes he had Twitter then. Finally, they compare the internet revolution to Britain’s manufacturing sector (or lack thereof).
Don’t forget, the Spectator’s Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing closes at midnight this Friday. It’s one of the few prizes in the world that values the non-fiction, observational essay. We want writing that’s new, bold, incisive, witty, funny or sad — or all of those things. Our judges this year include Robert Macfarlane, author of Mountains of the Mind and The Old Ways. For more details, click here.
Write up to 3,000 words and you could win £2,000. The winner will get published in the Spectator, and that includes in print, online, Kindle, iphones and iPads, and Adroid devices. And yes — we’ll tweet your name too.
You can subscribe to the View from 22 through iTunes and have it delivered to your computer every week, or you can use the embedded player below: