It’s easy in 2018 to find information on every part of the world….except when it is not.
While there are probably millions of pieces on Paris and London, there are only a handful of helpful writings on parts of American Samoa, or rural areas of Vietnam. While more people explore the world, this gap tightens, but there is always a need for better information, not more.
“Being first is irrelevant when the story is just wrong.”
While it’s great to have endless options for readings, articles, videos, and blogs, there is often a disconnect on the quality of works. Or much of the information is just outdated, poorly written, ethnocentric, exaggerated…. you get the idea.
Recently I saw a pretty popular Facebook page attached to a page through a pretty popular media company. In the video it stated that a VERY popular Colorado tourist site was only 1,000 feet above sea level. To put this into perspective, the capitol of Denver is at 5,280 feet above sea level, and this site was around 7,000 feet above sea level. The mistake was glaring and extremely unhelpful to visitors that may not know what to do with elevation gains, altitude sickness, and other problems that come with mountains.
It is mistakes like the video that create a cycle of bad information and problems for travelers, researchers, and those working in the tourism industry.
Time and time again I return to travel guides as a resource because they have many things going for them, and most importantly, they are updated and more accurate than other resources.
No doubt many bloggers and news sources try to update their work as much as possible, but travel guides have the set up to ensure their accuracy and consistency. Guides also work with companies to present information, update locations, and create a standard of information that other media sources cannot keep up with.
When I get out in the world, or run into an issue on research for work, I find that I am constantly returning to a book on the place or finding a blog that is specifically written on a set region.
What I wish all travelers knew is that it’s important to be accurate, and it’s important to provide good content. Being first is irrelevant when the story is just wrong.
Maybe the journalist in me is fighting an over-saturated market of bad blogs, but I wish I could tell people every day to buy a book, read some more, ask questions of locals. Don’t expect someone that has barely or NEVER been to Paris to give you a rating on the best restaurants. They’ll go to Yelp just like you and regurgitate 30 reviews. The authenticity is simply lost.