– just another travel community?

Thursday, May 15. 2008



Travelers always have been an interesting target for web communities – they seek information about places far away – and they want information tailored to their specific needs and they want it reliable. All those are requirements an internet community about travel can give them. People writing about all those places – probably people similar to them be it backpacking or staying in 5* hotels can be found in communities. Also you’ll have the chance to make a picture of those people visiting their profiles or following their posts, and therefore be able to judge about the reliability about information.

But I don’t want to write epic descriptions about travel communities in general – just to set up those three features I would seek for in travel communities:

  • get information about places far away
  • tailored to my needs
  • get community functions to connect with other and to allow me to judge about reliability

Depending on the extend those features are fulfilled I might be interested in sharing my own experiences in such a community

The community

Thanks to Trigami, I was made aware of the chance to have a glimpse at the new travel community Choosing the exotic and extinct dodo-bird (not to confuse with the professor at the University of Bamberg, carrying that first name) as an mascot. provides six main navigation sections.
  • The first home sections gives an overview about current community activities like new travel tips, new members, new fotos, new videos and new travelogue entries.
  • The second section “travel tips” shows user reviews about something the different sections remind me a bit to qype, where you can write reviews about places, restaurants and sights, too.
  • “Travelogues” consists of peoples travel experiences. Each entry there is accompanied by a map, showing the location of area it is about, and information about the member writing the entry.
  • Then there are two sections with Photos and videos. Each is offering “new” and “popular” items, and a categorization via country. You are also encouraged to upload your own material – but it hast to be attached to a travelogue.
  • The last section probably is the most interesting one – the classic “my”-section being the gateway to most of the individual community settings & connections. You can get an overview about your profile there, change your Profile, see all your travel tips, travelogues, photos, videos, bookmarks and of course your friends and messages.
  • Apart from those main features there is also the obligatory (?) making of Blog with information about the making of It’s quite interesting to catch a view pictures of the young team behind there.

My thoughts

So far offers all features, which are quite essential to publish some travel information on the net. All items on the homepage are well structured and easy to understand. Even a total beginner, or people not to familiar with Internet communities should have no problems in getting around at the homepage. The requirements I stated in my prologue are partially fulfilled. I can retrieve infos, I can judge a little bit, by looking into people’s profiles – but how can I tailor them to my needs? Some more categories e.g. “backpacking” or “luxury travel” or at least a basic folksonomy could greatly improve likelihood to find interesting information.

But it is still beta so the features are yet(?) limited. They provide a well working homepage, but they lack some excellence I would hope for, in such a new piece of social software. Things I would like to see there:

  • Possibility to link external media sources – connect the community to your feeds on Flickr, Youtube,, picasa, Gallery2
  • Connect your personal profile to other travel related pages e.g. Couchsurfing and hospitalityclub
  • Make the content accessible via Folksonomy (aren’t tag clouds always a nice gimmick?)
  • More options for your profile. If you’ve seen a few facebook profiles, you know how much time people might actually spend organizing there user profile. A portfolio of widgets and the possibility to post own marked up code should be a minimum
I'm really interested in following the further development of the community.

You're chance to win!

In order to encourage users to register and become active members of the community the makers are making a draw at the end of the year, giving away a trip worth 10.000 EUR. The more activity and the more persons you invite into the community, the higher your chance to win! So if you sign in to – be kind and use my invitation link.

Defined tags for this entry: , , , ,

Why Facebook is sexier than StudiVZ

Wednesday, May 7. 2008

Guess most of the people studying abroad are just laughing about the functionality of the German social network "StudiVZ". Well - the makers are admirable. Offering only very simple functions and using a smart advertising campaign they managed to become market leader in Germany. But compared to their big competitor Facebook, their closed platform offers very limited creative potential for users.

For some of my friends Facebook meanwhile has become a kind of "myspace". ears ago peaopl clicked together an awful load of widgets and web snippets on their myspace accounts. Now they are enabled to do this using Facebook. Click-click profile linked, another click-click and there is the connection to this dating platform, click-click filled out the newest questionnaire about who-knows-what. Just easy to be a self-expressionist?

But beware, as easy it is to set the info online, as easy it is to follow such infos. Therefore everything you are doing can be monitored using this nice friends feed.

Defined tags for this entry: ,

Why moodle?

Tuesday, January 2. 2007

In a previous post I wrote about the e-learning platform moodle. Recently I discoverd a podcast by Prof. Dr. Michael Kerres analyzing the success of this platform. Some of the points made there could also be confirmed by interviews I carried out for my diploma thesis. You can find this podcast here.

Kerres explains, that moodle is successful because it supports all of the three user types that use it:

  • It is easy to install and handle for system adminstrators
  • course authors are able to create a working course environment within a reasonable time
  • learners who use the courses get an easy to handle and intuitive environment

Defined tags for this entry: ,

Moodle – an e-learning platform

Monday, November 27. 2006

Moodle is a course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software
package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities.”

This short self-description taken from illustrates the main idea behind that e-learning platform. It focuses on course management – where a course is an entity and offers a certain learning environment. Those courses can be configured quite openly starting from very basic “courses” were it is only used to provide learning information to learners to quite up to extends where it leads to fully interactive discussions about learning contents and information.

Our university has decided to use moodle as their e-learning software. Since moodle is quite powerful – there shouldn’t be much need for other e-learning solutions. Sadly - Despite this opinion many chairs of the university stick to their isolated applications.

Defined tags for this entry: ,

Career Killer Google?

Saturday, November 25. 2006

Talking with other students in higher semesters about blogging, there is one question that I get asked quite often: Don’t you think that blogging might endanger your job chances? Lately the German business magazine “Wirtschaftswoche” titles “Karrierekiller Google” (Career-killer Google) and talks about a few examples were a search on Google unveiled unwanted Details about persons, who then didn’t get certain jobs they applied for. Martin Röll discusses the article in his blog and criticizes that the “problem” with Google unveiling information is not approached dialectical. Many careers might be initiated just because of information Google unveiled! Jochen Mai, the author of the article also made a posting on the article in his blog.

My personal approach to this topic is very optimistic – searching for my name on Google will get you quite interesting information on me, but so far there is nothing I’d have problems to justify. Most of the links you will get will lead you to sources, which I can influence. So I think blogging keeps me in control of information that is available on the net (I doubt that someone will really "stalk on me" beyond those many many informations given there) – but if you discover a potential problem feel free to inform me.

Defined tags for this entry: , , , , ,

40 day – 40 pages

Monday, August 7. 2006

This will be my project until the 15th of September. In order to really enjoy the holidays with my parents I have set my goal to finish the first chapters of my thesis until the middle of September. It’s an ambitious goal – especially regarding my productivity during the last weeks – but it is possible! So don’t wonder when I’m missing at some parties during the next weeks… I’ll keep you updated on my thesis by posting my latest results using the category “on subject”.

Defined tags for this entry:

Social Software – didactical potential and applications

Friday, August 4. 2006

It is done – the above topic is the final title for my thesis which will accompany me during the next months. It is a very broad title and includes two possible plots for my thesis. The first includes an interview of users of the Virtual Campus Bamberg (a moodle-powered e-learning platform used by our university). The second is a backup plan in case that there are problems carrying out the questioning, and will focus onto modelling of learning processes and how this processes are supported by social software.

Defined tags for this entry: , ,

The penny has dropped

Friday, July 28. 2006

It was the typical problem if there is too much freedom of choice – you can search until the end of time to find the perfect thing… It is very illusory to find something perfect. But if it is about a research topic you are going to spend your time for four month it should be at least near perfect. In fact I don’t know whether I found something near perfect – but it is something I can very well live with.

I want to discuss the question: “How can innovations of social software improve e-learning platforms?” If you are interested, have a look at the first version of my expose (right now only in German). Now I got to convince my coach and my professor that this is a topic worthwhile an academic discussion. So cross your fingers!

Defined tags for this entry: ,