On the face of it this looks like a really innovative and forward thinking use of tech, providing another way that some clever people are using Twitter for yet another mash-up. This time it has the clout of Vodafone behind it, itself speaking volumes for the medium with some actual investment behind it and solid rationale. Vodafone want to make a song and dance about abolishing roaming charges and by making itself front of mind when thinking about holidaying, it’s doing just that. Clever.
There’s been a lot of buzz about hashtag spamming, most famously used (and abused to horrible effect) by Habitat. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then see more here, here and here. I hope this also serves as a case study for any brand looking to get in to the dark and dangerous waters of the social web of how NOT to do it. When did anyone at Habitat think that using irrelevant messaging would target the relevant and targeted customers who would shop at Habitat.
However, it’s almost as if you’re putting a sign up outside you’re house, “Hello Mr Burglar, just letting you know that I’m off on holiday for 2 weeks so during that time my house will be empty. Feel free to take whatever you like, no one will be here to stop you”
Granted, I’m being a little facetious in so far that you don’t give out your exact address, just providing the first half of your post code but by providing your name (which most people do on their Twitter page) it wouldn’t be hard to find out more if you wanted to.
What I do like though is the ‘Top Destinations’ part of the site which is where you can see which part of the world holiday makers are heading to using #ukhols. Perhaps predictably, considering the people the site would interest, the US was ahead of the curve, with at the time of writing New York being the top destination to be heading to. Paris followed in 2nd place with Vancouver in 3rd.
While the idea for me is more a showcase of the technology and what can be done with it more than it’s something of real value and use, Vodafone have to be applauded for taking a further leap in to the social space. Over the past year, they’ve really made a push for getting involved. Their ‘Live Guy’ campaign, which saw people tracking a man across the UK via GPS and Twitter in order to win a netbook was hugely innovative, engaging and interactive while they recently ran a ‘Twitter Hunt’ to advertise the HTC Magic phone. This is going to be the way of companies looking to engage with savvy internet users who love some shiny new way of engagement, myself included. Thumbs up here.