I didn't manage to write a Christmas letter each year but didn't want to let 2010 pass though without saying “hello” and wishing you health and happiness in 2011.
In 2010, Facebook emerged as the platform of choice for business and individuals. For professionals like me, the ability to separate personal and professional material is a boon and in 2011, I'll stop boring family with my observations on social media and having to share personal experiences with relative strangers!
The inspiring aspect of Facebook is its complete disregard for borders - a whole new geography is emerging with individuals, as points of light, almost, being joined up in new ways. Just look at this inspiring graph of Facebook traffic that, in one image obtained from here illustrates the global brain emerging. Theilhard de Chardin's "noosphere" on steroids, no less.
The most important thing is that we don’t listen to the propaganda of the tens of thousands of social media gurus that are popping up everywhere obsessed with “traffic” and making money selling on the internet. Our self worth and “importance” are never related to the number of followers we have on Twitter; the number of fan pages on Facebook; our Google Page Ranking; or the number of Direct Mentions or blog visits but simply the number of random acts of kindness we create and receive. In 2010 I was the recipient of many random and not so random acts of kindness that I feel really, really blessed. Thank you my dear friends.
In 2010 the universe was asking me to re-define what wealth and prosperity mean and has shown me how very rich I am. I made some wonderful new friends in parts of the world I had never visited before; re-kindled old friendships that never die; and experienced many manifestations of amazing generosity of spirit that got me through hard times.
In return, I urge you to subscribe to one web site that will ensure each day is filled with wonder and gratitude: Daily Good. Started by an anonymous college student in 1998, it could have as transformative effect as Facebook if it attracted just 5% of the latter’s user base.
In 2011, I anticipate being lighter, more creative, more adventurous and more true to my curious, gypsy spirit. Right now, I am living in a state of “expectant possibility” and allowing ideas to crystallize. I remain focused on figuring out how we can develop a sustainable alternative to the industrial, volume-dependent industrial model of tourism that still dominates the landscape and am excited by the research that shows the rise of The Conscious Traveler. My sympathies have always been with the small independent suppliers of "things to see and do" as they provide the flavour of a destination; are often pioneers; and lack support ie the people that Stephen Joyce ( ReZGo and The Savvy Operator), Alex Bainbridge (Tour CMS), Joanne Steele (Rural Tourism Marketing Blog), Dan Taylor (Creative Rural Economy) and Todd Lucier (Tourism Keys Blog), among others try to help. As mentioned in a previous post, the exciting fronteir in tourism is rural, small town, grassroots tourism. I sense a huge hunger to learn and a need to integrate a conceptual understanding with practical applications. This is the community that needs to be embracing all the mobile and location-based technologies and services that will dominate conversations in 2011.
I will be leaving UK in February and heading south to warmer, sunnier climes and the chance to be really productive (hopefully, helpful too) in a part of the world where the beauty of its people almost outshines the stunning scenery; and where the potential of small operators, with commitment & curiosity, to leapfrog over their established counterparts is huge.
As a digital addict, I won’t be far from a wifi connection (well I hope not!) so I’ll be blogging, facebooking and, every so often, tweeting. I hope you will continue to visit me in a virtual sense and that you too will have a bountiful, healthy, happy year in 2011.
With love and blessings