Social Media in St. John

4376295772_e64d957b1b_mI was in St. John last week. Glorious. Recommended.  (That’s no postcard or Google Image Search Result attending this blog post – it’s a photo from my very own Flickr stream. Blissful!)

Although we headed to the Virgin Islands to escape our work and daily routines, I am so glad I brought my iPhone with me.  I can’t tell you how often we wound up consulting the Web to decide on restaurants (“did you check Yelp?”) … excursions (“did you check TripAdvisor?”) … beaches (“how early do we need to get up to nab a parking spot at Trunk Bay?”) … and basic travel tips about everything from buying groceries to feeding the island’s wild donkeys (don’t).

If you’d told me before our departure that I’d be “on the web” that often, I would have grimaced.  I was looking to disconnect!

Yet I realized that the Web (in general) and Social Media (in particular) are now so interwoven in the fabric of our lives and decision-making that it really only made our vacation more enjoyable.  We didn’t lose any of that sense of discovery you search for when visiting a new place; rather, we had a chance to learn from others’ experiences and steer our course toward the most worthwhile adventures, which we “made our own” once we got underway.

Apple_iphoneI’ve been on planes, trains and automobiles ever since our return.  Not only haven’t I been able to simmer in that post-tropical zen-like state that typically comes after a vacation, I’ve barely been able to sit at my desk (much less blog)!  Yet I’ve made a promise to myself to “give back” to the Web community.

As soon as I have some free time, I’ll draft our family’s Yelp reviews of the kick-ass egg scramble and gracious hosts at the Donkey Diner … I’ll tell eager beachgoers on TripAdvisor to get to Trunk Bay before 9am if they want a parking spot … etc.  I’ll add our voice of experience to aid the next wave of visitors to that lovely Carribean jewel, with thanks to those who went before and did the same.

It wasn’t just the much-needed dose of sunshine that made me feel optimistic about the future. I was truly inspired by the wealth of shared knowledge I held at my fingertips.

Posted on: February 25, 2010 at 9:49 am By Todd Defren
9 Responses to “Social Media in St. John”


  • casacaudill says:

    When we went to Kauai in August of 2008, I didn’t yet have my iPhone. Prior to leaving I put together a briefing book of sorts, spending a ton of time printing out information that I found on Frommer, Fodors, Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc. When we went to Kona in August 2009, I was an iPhone convert and the experience of having all of that information at my fingertips was so easy. I realized just how important being able to stay connected via these sites was when I needed emergency dental work done and I was able to get all the information I needed on my handy dandy iPhone. When we were in Ireland and our GPS navigated us to the great unknown, I was able to use socnets to find out where we were and how to get to where we were going. Now I definitely feel lost on vacation without my handy-dandy iPhone. I just have to force myself to keep my work email off until my plane touches down at home. :-)

  • John says:

    Hi Todd,

    This is a great posting and actually spurred a thought for my next blog entry so thanks.

    Also wanted to comment that you couldn’t have picked a better spot than St. John and Trunk Bay in particular- absolutely stunning.

  • Jeff says:

    I too use my iPhone while traveling, but suggest caution on Yelp and TA. Yelp now subject of class action suit for extortion and TA will likely face government scrutiny in Europe.

    I wrote about Yelp and TA issues on my not-for-profit travel site:

    Aloha, Jeff

  • We are going to Turks & Caicos next week and I plan to do the same! I love how you put this: “I’ll add our voice of experience to aid the next wave of visitors to that lovely Carribean jewel, with thanks to those who went before and did the same.”

    Glad you had a wonderful vacation, Todd. You definitely deserved it!

  • My sister (who’s always on her iPhone mind you) calls me a geek for always taking my laptop and insisting on Internet access on trips, but being connected always makes it more enjoyable. Like you, I turn to local sites and TripAdvisor to review others’ comments, then add my own.

    I think “disconnecting” gets too much play; you’re ignoring the work emails, tweets but does that mean you have to turn off everything else? We’re looking to unwind, unplug from work, not life and staying connected lets us do that. FWIW.

  • JCOTTIN says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for this great post. I actually had the opposite experience on my vacation in Vermont last week where the intrusion of the internet in the wildreness was something that took away from the experience.

    Maybe because we were looking to isolate ourselves with friends and family in the cabin, and we’d been to so this location so many times that exploring new sights wasn’t really on the agenda.

    But I’m glad to see how it helped make your experience better. Because regardless of whether I like it or not, I know the wired world is a fait accompli.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Phil Buckley says:

    This reminds me of when I was a little kid and my family would go up to a cabin on lake Winnipesaukee for 2 weeks. It was rustic, but the year that they put a small portable black & white tv in there meant we could watch the Red Sox game in the evening together, although the snow was terrible.

    Different time, different technology. But technology does indeed become an embedded part of our daily routine no matter how much we think it doesn’t.

    By the way, we ended up a 1/2 game behind the Tigers that year :-(

  • Claire Celsi says:

    Todd, welcome home. Glad you had the chance to get some much-needed R & R. Enjoyed reading your guest blog posts. I wondered if you need some suggestions for some good female bloggers. The guests were all the XX brand.

    Ciao, my friend.


    • Todd Defren says:

      You know, Claire, that did occur to me (too late). There are so many great female PR bloggers: next time I need a little help from my friends, all the posts will be from female bloggers!

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