One of my friends/co-workers who follows along here at baldheretic.com and read about the grand scheme suggested I take a look at Facebook for information on the upcoming trip. Turns out there are several groups dedicated to Valencia and Las Fallas.
Another resource! I have joined some groups and posted to the public forums.
On a related note, I’ve had some very good dialogue with the contacts I mentioned previously.
Previous trips have benefited from online resources like Tripadvisor to get insight into which hotels to reserve and sites like Expedia and Travelocity to secure plane tickets. We’ve even used city/state/country sponsored tourism sites to gather valuable information about our destinations.
This will be the first trip for us to use social networking as a means to enhance our vacation.
It’s been less than one day since I started my social networking experiment and I have already made 3 contacts.
Via Twitter I have met Iwan, a Dutchman living in Spain for the last several years working as an IT architect, and John who is a transplant to Spain from the UK. John has been living in a suburb of Valencia for the last 20 years working as a professional translator, translating Spanish to English.
I love John’s e-mail signature which includes a clickable link to his geographic location (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.637,-0.6195).
Via Flickr I have met Manel. Manel does not speak very good English, but he’s an avid photographer and is an active Flickr user. His photo-stream includes pictures of a photowalk in Valencia. He and his friends look like the Spanish equivalent of any handful of Assignment Houston photogs.
They’ve all been very kind and receptive to my social networking experiment, each offering to answer questions and even meet up when Cynthia and I arrive in Spain for the festival.
We’re off to a good start.
Cynthia and I are going to Valencia, Spain next year for Las Fallas. As an experiment I am reaching out via Twitter and other social networking sites to see if I can make contact with technically and socially like-minded individuals in Valencia with the idea that I can glean more information about our destination from a person or persons who actually live there, and possibly have one or more contacts when we arrive.
Right now I am using the search feature of Twitter to see who lists Valencia as their home.
Right off the bat I have encountered some stumbling blocks.
1. Must weed through erroneous search results for Valencia, Venezuela and Valencia, California
2. Natives of Valencia, Spain tend to twitter in Spanish or Valencian (Catalan).
3. Erroneous results due to the recent Formula One Grand Prix held in Valencia
I have reached out to a few I have encountered that list Valencia, Spain as their home and that have twittered in English. One in particular appears to work in the IT field so I am hopeful.
Next up I am going to search around on Flickr which I actually think might be more promising. Socially networking photogs tend to be a friendly bunch as evidenced by the recent Assignment Houston gathering at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
I’m not sure how this will turn out but it should be interesting.