India of Our Dreams ( #travelindia )

1/21/2014 06:37:00 PM

#travelindia will be back after break this friday 11AM with a change in time and day. a month or 5 weeks off-time? Yes, Its been a long hiatus. But It was much needed.

We started the twitter chat #travelindia on July 29th 2013, i.e. last year and with 3 weeks of cancellation due to travel and 5 weeks of holiday hiatus, we did 18 sessions in total, with topic ranging from Indian Cuisine, Festivals, Destinations specials such as Ladakh, North East, Himalaya and Kerala, and few chats dedicated to big cities such as Delhi and Bombay ( Mumbai ). We also brought few very unique topics to table, i.e. Art & Crafts of India, Dealing with Public transport as a traveler, and Real Wonders of India. We had very good participation ( not crazy) and #travelindia trended on twitter many times.

Before I started this chat, I researched about for about 2 week on twitter. for example, If we had something on India? if Yes, what topics and participants they were focusing on. was it informational enough etc.

Precisely these were the goals for why #travelindia was born.

  • The chat will be focused on India. "Anything & Everything India"
  • Anyone with No / Little / Lot knowledge should be able to join it. Only condition is you're interested in India and thats all.
  • Those who're interested in traveling in India or, are traveling can connect to those who're either doing similar expedition / are local and can provide authentic information or help in the time of need.
  • Everyone can share their experiences in photos | philosophies | incidents, also put their point forward if s/he thinks things need to change and how. 
  • Last but not the least, at the end of every chat, Everybody should take away something "brand new" from it. It has to be insightful.

Hosting a chat is a real task. thinking about topics / questions / devoting time every week / recaps and what not. With the number of chats on twitter increasing everyday, I don't think ( never thought) its a good idea just to start one, just to register one under your name. with some good chats around, such as  #rtwchat for round the world trips, #ratw which has some interesting topics deep enough, #travelpics that I have been co-hositng ( now merely finding time from my hectic schedule) that is focused on images, and #ttot ofcourse which tackles generic travel stuff, I feel What we need more are "focused" chats, because we barely scratch the surface when we talk about a country or city. I agree that it limits the participation to some extent, but I am sure we have millions of travelers these days who would be interested in that specific destination, at any point of time, We all want to travel the world, Aint we?

During hiatus I tried to understand how we fared in our objective with which we devoted a good chunk of time every week. We had many very insightful sessions, great debates and definitely learnt a lot about new areas and not just barely but with good hold of information to plan a trip there. The only thing I felt went otherwise was, that few chats / questions were tad specific and many participants had to withhold, could just listen and not really conversate.

While a lot of people just join or even initiate these chat sessions to grow their network -increase number of followers, nothing wrong, and this is exactly why topics are very generic and more people are able to participate. Neither me or #travelindia believe in such practices. for me, It’s better to have a small audience that is really engaged because passion is what’s driving the conversation and as I said above, we have thousands of chat running already, and I personally don't have time to invest in chat just w/ that objective. precisely the reason why I had to move the chat to friday morning eastern time zone, because I no longer could manage any other time in the morning.

So with the lessons those learnt, here are few changes I am going to make in chat sessions to follow.

  • We will have alternate week or somewhat similar arrangement of topics where One will be feature a hidden place and other would talk about issues we face often. 
  • I will be making @travelindiachat account host auto-tweeting the questions, I will be participating as a participant. there wont be multiple hosts. If someone would want to host, they can suggest the topics and questions few weeks ago and we will arrange them to host, again main handle just auto-tweeting the Qs. 
  • the recap will now only feature 5 best answers of each Qs. if host is ready to write about the session including these recap tweets we' encourage them to do so.
  • Participation is the key but Its very hard for me to send invite tweets to each and everyone, so I hope as the chat suggests, anyone who's at all interested, please consider yourself invited. 
  • We have a facebook page dedicate to #travelindia, I would try to announce topic well in advance, encouraging people to write Qs they want to include in the chat, and also put of 10 Qs to pick 5-6Qs for the chat based on audience choice. 

Thats more than all I think. I hope these little change will help you and me both to continue be more focused and also manage our time and participation. Now about this week's topic -

You'd be curious What I meant when I said "India of our dream" Is it the imaginary india that it used to be years or centuries back, is it the india which though practical but that we want to see when we travel, or is it futuristic question. Well, I could tell you what I think of it but I want to hear it from you. so here are the Qs that'd give you the idea what we'll be exploring in this weeks chat. Instead of storifying, I will be updating this article w/ some of your best answers in here after the chat.

Q1 Create an Image in words / or share the India you like to see when you travel. e.g. People in colorful attire, Tajmahal. #travelindia

Q2 Name the movies / books / tv series that inspired you to see India. What inspired you the most about it. #travelindia 

Q3 One thing that you love or hate about India #travelindia

Q4 How would you want to explore India and What all places. include a why if you can. #travelindia

Q5 One thing you don’t want to see in India ever, or see India become. #travelindia

Bonus Q -India changes people. Do you agree? One thing you’d like to take away from the experience of #travelindia

( Slideshow updated on Jan 25th 2014 )

So come friday, Lets express ourself in any form, get your images ready, answers / opinions / memoirs ready to share, I look forward to your participation and continuous support in this new year, with the hope that we make our travel more meaningful, I close this article here.

Cya on Friday 11AM EST.

Join #travelindia on twitter - @travelindiachat
and facebook page - Travel India on Twitter #travelindia
the updates will be posted on the blogpage until we have another website dedicated only for #travelindia -

Updated Jan 22nd 2014 20:14:11 Announcement :
We'll also have 1 more chat coming up in February -

#parkTravel - will be featuring only National Parks and Wildlife Destinations in the world. 2nd Friday of Every month 1PM EST pages here - parktravel & perhaps travelusa later in the year, if I find enough time and motivation that is.

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