In the fast paced world of "Social Media", many in the Travel Industry are taught that quantity is better than quality - business are encouraged to create vast amounts of content for SEO purposes or advertising. I remember sitting in a meeting in Belize and listening to a high priced consultant say "Belize should drown" any negative comments about Belize in the online social world with a "flood" of positive posts.
After months of monitoring the social media world for the keywords of #Belize and #Travel, I noticed there is a virtual firehose of noise being spewed out by those that believe quantity is better than quality. While this strategy may work for one or two that have the money and time to devote to a consistent and inundating flow of posts with links to their businesses or websites, the majority of businesses and online publishers are drowned by the torrent. Many potential visitors are overwhelmed and overloaded with content that gives us no value at all. Not only do these "Social Marketers" flood the negative comments out, they also drown all other businesses out.
I recently read a post by a blogger called BelizeBritts (http://belizebritts.wordpress.com) that elaborated on this same subject:
"(We) were recently kicking around ideas about how we would sell “Life in Belize” without the slick, glossy effect of the tourist brochures or the schmoozy realtor blowing sunshine up your shorts. We thought there should be a little more realism than the “Living in Paradise” angle and sought to boil it down to what we love about this country. "
So much marketing in Belize is the "slick, glossy" and "schmoozy" type. Almost like people believe that in order to sell Belize, we have to create something different than what it is. High priced foreigners are paid to do market research; design ads that create a dreamscape that research says people want; then spend thousands on production and millions on distribution of the ads.
"Belize in Social Media" is an attempt to dam the torrent of noise. We hope to:
1. Find the best information that others have written and posted online - the best articles, charts, tables, infographics, videos, or pictures.
2. Collect it in a logical, easy-to-use navigational structure.
3. Make sure to link to and give credit to the sources and only summarize (or take small portions of) the articles we link to.
As Rian van der Merwe says on his blog (http://www.elezea.com/), we are attempting to be a "focusing lens" instead of a firehose. It will be our view of Belize presented by curating the best of what others say. I encourage you to follow us (click the "Follow" button at the top); to contribute; to comment; make suggestions; ask questions. If what you have to contribute is true to the heart - real - and not part of the the flood you are unleashing elsewhere, it will probably get reposted here.