This summer vacation brought to you by Twitter

I reckon you’ve heard of the H1N1 flu epidemic (née swine flu). Maybe you’re currently wearing a face mask to work and changing seats on the bus when someone nearby sniffles. Or, perhaps, you’re in my camp and are thinking that maybe, just a little bit, this whole thing is sounding overhyped.

When a family friend’s condo in Puerto Vallarta suddenly become available for mid-June, I began following the minute-by-minute news with a more personal interest. I had to decide: take the plunge and commit to a possible flu-tainted vacation, or pass up the condo and remain, pouting, in the relatively safe backwaters of Oakland.

Like any good researcher, I turned immediately to my online resources. I Googled “swine flu and Puerto Vallarta,” which revealed some incredibly helpful blogs by local PV residents. Particularly useful was a frequently updated blog by a local Registered Nurse. I was also connected to chat rooms via TripAdvisor and Yahoo Answers, all with posts by people who had just completed, were currently enjoying, or planned to soon enjoy their Mexican vacations. Twitter Search provided the final piece I need to make my decision.

Sure, some folks were afraid. “Pandemic” is a pretty scary word, after all. But mostly, people were enjoying their time in Puerto Vallarta, flu free and happy. When I realized that there were fewer cases of H1N1 in PV than there were in my own backyard – and when flights dropped $200 in one day – I took the plunge. Tickets were purchased and I’m now on my way in five weeks. Olé!

To celebrate said ticket purchase, I posted a status update to Facebook, which was seen by an old college buddy of mine who also happens to be a local TV news reporter. She was just closing a story on the swine flu epidemic when she saw my post. She contacted me via Facebook and asked if I would agree to go on camera with my tale of bravery in the face of disease-tainted travel. Sure, why not?

Within 10 minutes, she was downstairs with a camera crew. I shared my story and gave Twitter a complimentary shout-out and, just like that, my anti-fear, pro-Mexico message was broadcast to the Bay Area. Huzzah!

Thanks, Google and Twitter. I’ll raise a banana daiquiri to you in five weeks.

banana_daiquiri

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6 Responses

  1. Fantastic post, Jody! Lots of great links. I hope you have fun on your trip. Drink a daiquiri for us!

  2. jody, this is awesome and rather inspirational. a great use of social media tools, too! makes me want to visit puerto vallarta again!

  3. I LOVE this story. :-) Thanks for sharing!!

  4. The camera loves you – I am jealous :) Never thought of scoping out Twitter search before making vacation plans, but iwill definitely do so now.

  5. here’s a good follow-up story on yahoo tech news: http://tech.yahoo.com/news/nm/20090506/wr_nm/us_flu_communications_5

    it’s nice to see the CDC embracing the twitterverse and doing what they can to control the hysteria.

    speaking of hysteria, it’s also nice to see that there’s still a place in this world for zombie hoax stories.

  6. Hello, very interesting article. I completely agree. I think that establishing relationship with prospective and existing customers is a very important part of every business. Advertising plays a great role in the success or failure most of times. Thank you. I read the article with pleasure.

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