Twitter: Can it change the face of travel?

I’ll confess upfront that I’ve never used Twitter. I simply can’t imagine that anyone out there is that interested in my moment-by-moment thoughts and whereabouts, to say nothing of the fact that I find the word “tweet” as both verb and noun somewhat silly to utter outside of an avian context.

That’s not to say I can’t see its usefulness. It is undeniable that “tweeting” is a force that is growing by the day, and it is changing, among other things, the way in which news is reported.

The first reports of US Airways 1549’s ditch into the Hudson last week surfaced as Twitter posts by bystanders on nearby ferries who suddenly found themselves steaming straight for the floating plane.

This raises an interesting question that columnist and blogger Christopher Elliott tackles here in a recent piece: To what extent can Twitter change the travel experience?

Elliott cites not only the US Airways example, but also live micro-blogging of a Continental flight that skidded off a runway in Denver last month and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. These, of course, are incident updates and alerts. But Twitter is gaining ground as a source for basic travel information too. Want to know how the security line is at La Guardia the day you’re flying? Is your flight delayed? Chances are someone on Twitter is saying something about these things.

Elliott gives some basic tips for how to use Twitter as a travel resource, from setting up an account to building a network of fellow travelers. If you’re looking to become more connected to a virtual travel community, this seems to be one way to do that.

Elliott even addresses my own, and perhaps others’, reservations about Twitter by advising users to keep their posts interesting and meaningful. In other words, who cares if you’re waiting for your clothes to dry at the laundromat?

Be sure to check in with Gadling’s own Twitter page right here.