Yes, I've been in the travel writing game for a long time. Yes, I'm no stranger to social media. However, the truth of the matter is that at 75 I am in awe of what my younger fellow bloggers can accomplish. They have grown up with the current technology and can quickly assimilate all the 'new stuff' that pops up regularly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I am envious, indeed.
However, on a recent Turkish Airlines Elite Bloggers Summit, I discovered that sometimes not knowing can be a boon to the start of a new way of making contact with locals as you travel.
In my case, I can't take a good SELFIE to save my life. Yet, no matter where in Turkey we toured I saw young Turks taking them without any effort at all. And, though we often could not speak each others' language, they all understood the word SELFIE. This made me realize that for travellers, in some way, the language of the smart phone has become a universal language. Starting from that premise, the idea of CITIZENSELFIES (always plural because it must involve two or more people) began percolating in my mind.
Since my SELFIE results were less than perfect, I asked my subjects to be the ones to take the photos of us. Something clicked with this concept (pardon the pun) and the results I got were extremely natural and just plain fun. Not only were these CITIZENSELFIES memorable for me but, more importantly, the intercultural experiences we each had while being involved in these photos were priceless.
How to take a CITIZENSELFIES...
1. Hand your smart phone to a stranger you meet and ask, 'Selfie?'
2. Don't worry; nobody has yet run away with my phone.
3. Stand beside them, point to the phone and they will quickly understand what you want them to do.
4. Now THEY are in charge of framing the photo and you'll discover that there will be no shortage of smiles as the photo is being taken.
5. Everybody is excited to see the results and the bonus is that these SELFIES remain on YOUR phone.
Starting from the Black Sea and climbing from the valleys into the mountains, here are some of the preliminary CITIZENSELFIES I took while our bloggers group toured the gorgeous Turkish countryside The people in Turkey were so warm and welcoming that it made approaching them such an easy and enjoyable process. I was in photography heaven!
Lake Uzungol is situated to the south of the city of Trabzon and is a popular attraction for both Turkish citizens and tourists, alike.