Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Bumping into the same folk on Twitter that I’ve seen on blogs

Having started to move more seriously onto Twitter a short while ago it’s interesting to see that using the keyword approach to find people is working rather unexpectedly well and I’m finding people that I’ve run across via their blogs already.

Which raises an issue… I really should change my Twitter name to match the blog but the problem is that “ForeignPerspectives” is 19 letters and Twitter only allows 15… more mulling over required as I don’t like any of the alternatives that I’ve come up with yet (suggestions welcome!).

I’d thought originally that this change would mess me up and it implies on the Twitter screen that it would but by coincidence somebody in Belfast I’m following has done just that and it seems not to make any difference in terms of the followers that you already have. That said, it seems best to make the change early on in my Twitter life before a whole heap of people need to start remembering a different name.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Adjusting to Twitter

Although I’ve had a Twitter account for ages, I hadn’t really done anything with it ’til last week.

Simple reason for that really: Twitter lets you type up to 140 characters in a message and I’m very much a long winded kind of person as y’all will know by now. Also, I knew diddly about promoting myself on Twitter so had next to no followers ie I was effectively talking to myself.

However, last week I took another look at it and found a neat way of bumping up the number of followers (Twollo)  and also found that I could add Twitter to sociable on the blog. The first gave me a way of gathering followers whilst the second meant that I could do a short tweet with a link to a more lengthy blog article and together these overcame my issues with not using Twitter.

Twollo is a slightly odd application to use. What it does is let you put in words and automatically follow those that are using them, the theory being that quite a lot of the people who you follow will follow you back thus building up your followers. It kicks in surprisingly quickly too and I picked up over 400 followers within a matter of days. It is a little odd though as you need to use words that people use within their tweets rather than actual subject so, for example, although there are lots of expats tweeting  few use the word “expat” in their tweets so they don’t appear a lot in my followers.

One other problem with it is that you quickly get to the point where you’re following 2000 people which is the initial limit. That’s solveable though Twitter Karma which lets you remove those who’ve not followed you back: all you need to do is to sit back ’til you hit 2000 then run it. You can follow more than 2000 but it needs to be balanced with followers eg with 2000 followers you can follow 2000 plus 10% ie 2200, once you hit the 2200 you can add another 10% and so on.

My initial experiments at reposting some blog posts via Twitter seem to be working in that they’re pulling a lot of new readers to the blog posts (click-through is around 5% at the moment). In theory I could repost the whole lot but in practice my current thinking is that I’ll repost the reference style ones from OurInns, some of which have already been picked up by other tweeters.

So a good start I think with a whole bunch of new readers.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Reworking the blog

As y’all may have noticed of late, this blog is in the midst of yet another change of focus.

Originally, it started life way back in February 2004 as a means of keeping in touch with the folks back home when we were getting going on our life in France as from April that year all under the tagline of “Life in France without a TV crew”. That went great ’til we found ourselves in the position of being pretty much settled into life here, or at least settled in terms of not having anything much new to say about it. Net effect was that the writing fizzled out by late 2005.

Then I figured that what was needed to get me going again was a change of focus to an expat blog with a tagline of “Travel, expat life and foreign politics. As featured on TV and seen on Reuters.” as from the summer of 2006. Featured on TV? Well, funnily enough, the blog was the lead headline all day following the announcement of Chirac’s resignation. Articles from it are picked up fairly regularly by Reuters too although I’ve yet to work out exactly why!

However, now that we find ourselves in the midst of a partial relocation back to the UK (more on that anon), the focus is changing yet again. This time around I’ll be talking of our re-integration into the UK administration along with the continuing saga of my education and no doubt a whole bunch of other stuff along the way.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Non-arrivals in the peak of the holiday season

Whilst we’re in the midst of the peak of the holiday season at the moment, as usual we’re also in the peak season for noshows and cancellations.

The cancellations are understandable. It’s very difficult to get booked in locally at the moment so people grab the first place they see even if it isn’t in the location they really want to be. Then they’ll cancel later if they get something closer to their ideal spot. For instance, earlier today out of the 66 hotels within 30km of Perpignan, just 2 had rooms available and we know that one of those only had rooms available because of cancellations earlier in the day (‘cos one of them is us). If we were braver, we’d delibrerately overbook the rooms as the larger hotels do to allow for the expected high level of cancellations.

However, the noshows are usually puzzling. Just last night we received an e-mail from a group that look like they’ll not be arriving now to confirm that they were coming and that they were looking forward to seeing the area. If they’d cancelled yesterday, it would have cost them nothing, now it’s going to cost them getting on for EUR 150 and we’re sitting with several empty rooms.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Odd booking habits

People have a whole range of different ways that they approach booking their holiday of course and this year I think we’ve run through all of them!

There are those who book everything months in advance and don’t allow for any changes in their plans. They certainly get more choice in their accommodation and transport options doing this and sometimes they even get better prices (almost always on discount flights of course). However, the downside is that some of those offers can work out quite expensive if you change your plans eg if you’ve booked a non-refundable rate to get a discount and your plans change. We’ve just had a family whose plans changed and that early booking cost them dear as they’d to make last minute changes of their flights (always expensive) and look certain to have lost hundreds of euros on the accommodation too.

Then there are those that get the urge to go on holiday and book things piecemeal not too much in advance of their trip. This can be quite expensive as the flights are almost always more expensive than the first groups prices. Sometimes the accommodation is more expensive too as hotels are increasingly following the discount airline pricing model ie last minute rooms are more expensive than those you book well in advance. The biggest problem though is that many of these people end up booking across holiday periods when availability of accommodation and transport is less than ideal. For example, we have a couple now who couldn’t book a straight week with us as a couple of days crossed a major holiday so they booked somewhere else to fill the gap. Neither did they book a car in advance as, because of that holiday, there wasn’t any online availability so they’re at the airport at the moment trying to get a car.

Finally, there is the last minute group. Well, actually two groups. One tries to book about a week in advance and that’s usually fine except at the peak of the peak season but sometimes it isn’t. However, at the peak of the peak there’s also a peak of last minute cancellations so if you call a week in advance and find nothing available, calling a day or two in advance can often find some rooms available.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.