My parents recently moved to Germany for a second time for my father’s job. My mother, being of a generation that didn’t grow up with the technology we have today, has always wanted to figure it out and enjoys being ‘in the know’ on new things. Both of my parents were quick to join Facebook and use it daily to reconnect with friends, keep in touch, and now that they are thousands of miles away, stay involved with the family happenings. My mother decided that she was going to start a blog and wanted my advice on it. She said that she was impressed with TripAdvisor.com (if you haven’t used it, I highly recommend taking a look before traveling somewhere new), but that the site was missing a large amount of information about the places she was visiting. She had started her blog as a resource for other expats*, but was now focusing more on travel. She wanted to help and give guidance to so many others, like her, who had been relocated, spoke little of the language, and wanted more information. She realized that she had knowledge on topics that wasn’t already out there and that others were interested in it. Her question to me: how do I share it?
We’re getting to a place in technology where people expect to have all the answers readily available. What’s the first thing we do when we want to try a new restaurant, visit a new place, or can’t remember the name of that movie we saw a week ago? We turn to the internet. But what do you do when you’re in the position my mom was in, and you don’t find what you’re looking for? You have the rare opportunity to create that content yourself, and almost a sense of responsibility to share it! Imagine the impact we could have if everyone shared what they knew best. We could have content that is relevant to all! It is the sole responsibility of many marketers to go out and find content, what they’re looking for you may already know!
In some cases you may not think what you know or experience is that relevant or that others will even want to hear it, but believe me, if someone had written about the things my mom is writing about, it may have saved us from a lot of interesting experiences – like how it took us over a week to realize that we had been using fabric softener instead of laundry soap to clean our clothes. Technology no longer holds us back from sharing, so we should stop holding ourselves back.
My mother’s blog has become more than just a place where she can write about her funny encounters with cultural differences; it’s a place I can go to see what’s she’s been doing, others can see her photos and connect with her experiences, and people can see what it’s really like to step into someone else’s shoes. My advice to my mother about sharing her content was to start a Twitter account. Facebook gives her friends and family access to her experiences, but Twitter allows her to connect with others she doesn’t know and groups or organizations that focus on expats and travel. My task in the next month is to help her set this up and show her a window to the world that we all have available. We all have knowledge that we can share with others, and somewhere out there are people who want that knowledge. It’s never been easier to get your thoughts, experiences, and ideas out there and we should all take advantage of it.
Interested in travel and expat experiences in Germany? Or just want to “see what trouble my [mother] can get into” as she says? Click here!
*Expat: short for expatriate and a definition I never knew until I became one – According to Wikipedia (probably the greatest example of knowledge sharing): A person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing.