Are the Travel Twitterati fooling ourselves?

I like Twitter – mainly because it allows me to take part in social media without all the hassle of Facebook. I don’t have to sit around for hours on end updating my status, sorting through all the latest messages, walls and pokes and uploading my latest private photos so they can be seen by all my work contacts.

There’s a host of people like myself who work in the UK travel industry as either scribes, PRs, travel editors or tour operators on Twitter too and, in the main, most of us follow each other.

What I do wonder though, is how much of what we all say is ever noticed by other people in cyberspace or whether we are keeping the social media equivalent of a closed shop.

How things tend to work is one of the many active Travel Twitterati, say @101holidays or @matthewteller, puts something out there and, because the travel fraternity is quite small, we all for different reasons re-tweet their tweet.

Further down the line, as we are by and large a nice bunch, the favour is returned when they RT links to stories and blogs by the rest of us who Tweet. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the people involved in PR and sales will also RT, possibly because… well it’s a good PR move to let a journo know you respect what they write.

The really canny Tweeters will also send thank yous for all the RTs out there, mentioning all the kind people who did so and usually with the link from the original tweet attached… just in case anyone missed it the first time or they didn’t read all the RTs that have been pinging around.

In the process of this circular backslapping, we might pick up the odd follower from our colleagues’ followers, making our common sphere of influence increasingly the same but with little outreach beyond that…

I’m not a canny enough social media expert yet to know whether this can be changed, or even if it needs to be… after all, a little mutual tummy tickling is nothing to get too riled about. But I do wonder if the Travel Twitterati aren’t fooling ourselves a little in the new world of Twitter that we are all trying to explore.