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Darren Waters

Twitchhiker heads for celebrity status

  • Darren Waters
  • 15 Mar 09, 05:15 GMT


Twitter might not be everyone's cup of tea - indeed there are complaints that it is going into information overload here at SXSW - but one journalist has used it to help him travel thousands of miles in just 14 days.

Paul Smith is the Twitchhiker and has used Twitter to travel from his home to Newcastle to Austin, Texas, only by connecting to people on the messaging service and using it to leverage people's generosity and good will.

At the start of March Smith left Newcastle with only a ferry ticket to Amsterdam in his hand - and that was arranged through Twitter.

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He cannot plan more than three days in advance and has to leave each location within 48 hours of arriving.

His plan is to try and make it to the opposite point on the globe from his home. As his website says: "New Zealand is the place closest to the opposite point on the planet to my house, so that should be my intended destination.

"Actually, the closest landmass is at 52.546° S 169.173° E, an island barely five miles wide that's so insignificant that Google can't be bothered to name it."

After a few days zig-zagging around the low countries he managed to get a flight to New York and has since endured a number of road trips through the American mid west before making it to South by SouthWest in Austin, Texas.

He is raising money for Charity: Water as he goes, but he told me this was as much about 'the experience' as it was anything else.

When I tracked him down - which isn't hard as he is tagged with GPS and you can follow him on Google Latitude - he had just heard that he was going to be interviewed by Good Morning America on ABC TV in the US and that he had secured a flight to San Francisco.

"I'll probably hang around the West Coast for a while before I can get a flight to New Zealand," he said.

For a man who has lived and breathed planes, trains and automobiles for the last 14 days he is in fine fettle and enormously good spirits.

After the Good Morning America interview is screened tomorrow he will probably be a celebrity in the US and I wouldn't bet against him reaching that small island off New Zealand ahead of the 30 day limit.


Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    This man has not used Twitter 'to travel'. Just like the hordes of dizzy journalists skipping out of this SWSX techno-blitz, regular people have started hopping into the 10-second airs of fame something as luridly pointless as Twitter can provide, by stamping themselves into his itinerary.

    He is simply using Twitter, an overmarketed, over-hyped and hideously trendy communication medium in order to have an uplifting, memorable and exhiliratingly free holiday around the world.

    And before you start lauding this man for his contributions to charity, it is painfully obvious that he intends not just to have an elaborately free tour across the globe at the expense of the generous and the daft, he is also seeking a tremendous amount of both long-lasting fame (I can see the TV episodes reeling into BBC production as we speak), as well as nationwide praise for his charitable efforts, which to him are, in his own words, little more than an afterthought.

  • Comment number 2.

    synthil, I'm glad you wrote it, because it is far more succinct than I could have managed.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good for him!

  • Comment number 4.

    Promoting Twitter again?

  • Comment number 5.

    Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, iPhone, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, iPhone, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, iPhone, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.

    Summation of a dot.life technology blog.

 

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