Since we've been in South Africa, several folks have sent us e-mails or stopped by to say hello. They all seem to know quite a bit about us and we don't always know them. That's how social media works for us on Nine of Cups. We sail from country to country and port to port. We write blogs about our experiences and observations and people actually read them. When they see that we're in their neck of the woods, they get in touch and it's always a pleasure. Melvin from Cape Town stopped by the other day to say hi and, of course, we spent the day in the Winelands with our new local friends, Belinda and Benjamin.
We've maintained a website for years. In the early days with minimal internet access and a cheap digital camera, updating the website was difficult. We sat in internet kiosks in third world countries for hours, trying to upload a couple of pictures and some text. Now we can update offline and upload to the website. The fact that we're so far behind is a matter of laziness rather than accessibility plus one other issue. We've used Yahoo Sitebuilder to build and maintain the website over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, Sitebuilder hasn't had any upgrades to optimize for mobile device displays. We've found alternative software, but none allow an easy migration from one format to the other. With hundreds of pages to convert, we're dragging our feet. We like the website approach because it's static and provides an historical picture of where we've been and what we've done versus a blogsite which is a daily snapshot. The “history” seems to get lost in the shuffle of daily posts.
Our Just A Little Further (JALF) blogsite is our niece, Gentry's, innovation and it's in its third year. We write and send pix, but she does all the work of maintaining it and posting blogs. She posts the blog every day without fail and then posts on Facebook (FB) and Twitter and StumbleUpon and YouTube and Pinterest and others with which we're not even familiar. If you're reading this post, it's because of Gentry. We love the immediacy of daily blogs. Our audience is quite diverse. There are sailors who are interested in the liveaboard life and folks who just enjoy our nomadic lifestyle regardless of how we travel. Local people seem to enjoy our observations of their cities and towns … a fresh look at sights they see everyday. We always wonder if anyone reads the blogs and then, out of the blue, we get a comment or an invitation to meet up with someone who's been following for years.
We also post daily on SailBlogs which is more specific to cruisers, but accessible by anyone. While we're in port, the posts are the same as the JALF blog. When we're at sea, we post our position and at-sea blogs daily. We stockpile relevant blogs for JALF and Gentry posts them along with 2-3 day summaries of our life underway. The positive aspect of SailBlogs is that we can post from the middle of the ocean via SailMail using our single sideband radio. SailBlogs will also post directly to FaceBook as an option.
So why bother with social media while you're sailing? It's our link to the world. It allows us to stay in touch with relatives and friends and meet new people. It's a good way for us to share our experiences and adventures… good and bad … with other cruisers and prospective cruisers and folks who just wonder what it's like living on a sailboat, sailing around from place to place. We try to appeal to travelers as well as sailors … a little something for everyone. It's also an excellent way to document our travels and trips with text and photos ... and at our age, we need all the help we can get!