Writing down your international adventures is only part of the fun, and gaining a readership is rewarding.
Expatriates and social media
While social media help keep us all connected, there is sometimes a creeping feeling of over-connectedness – like when you read a Tweet or see a Facebook update from someone in the same room. About something not mega-fascinating either. Then there’s the now-infamous phenomenon of the dinner plate Instagrammers and the inevitable banning of their actions in a number of restaurants.
For expats, though, social networks can provide a more vital line of communication. And that slightly throwaway or ordinary-sounding tweet can sound so much more interesting – exotic even – when read on the other side of the world. Especially if it involves something from home that the receiver doesn’t have in their new country of residence – like a double decker bus or The One Show.
Different social media platforms, different uses
While blogging’s no longer new, and the explosion of blogging was replaced in the media coverage by the rise of Facebook and Twitter – but hundreds of millions of them exist, and their longer-text format is ideal for anyone with lots to report, hence their continuing popularity within newspaper websites.
And for expats, blogs provide an ideal platform for sharing new experiences. Keeping a journal is a great way of having instant access to various pieces of information you might otherwise forget, so a blog can be a bit like a photo album – in fact, if you so choose, it can be that. As a blogger you have the luxury of being able to instantly look up your thoughts and musings of any given date – so long, of course, as you blogged on that date.
What this means is that – as you make your way in your new and interesting overseas life, you can share your experiences with the outside world as you go along – and any family or friends who are interested can bookmark your blog and come along for the ride.
Blogs and research
It’s always good to get an idea of what life is like in a different country even if it’s one that you’re not immediately planning on visiting, and there are expat blogs on every corner of earth. So if you’re considering time in a different country there should often be a blog or two written by expats and describing some of the pros and cons of the country. As well as blogs, forums are also useful for this, and there are usually forum users willing to answer questions about expat destinations from first-hand experience – which is great if you need up to date information on some of the details about your intended destination.
Blogging and other social media
Once you have a blog up and running, you can look at ways of helping to promote it, such as setting up a Twitter account – there should be plenty of other expats to ‘follow’ on Twitter and it’s a great networking tool. You’ll probably find that many of the blogs you read are written by someone who also has a Twitter account. So if you enjoy their blog, you can let them knew with a Tweet. Being an expat doesn’t need to mean being cut off from people – in fact these days it’s even more of a reason to get social.
G McMillan is a blogger writing about expats and expat wellbeing on behalf of AXA PPP International expat health insurance.