Tweet down under: Microblogging comes to Australia

Once upon a time, Twitter‘s growth prospects outside the United States appeared to be limited, because of differences in text message pricing. Well, it looks like that won’t be a problem any more. On your next trip to Australia, you’ll be able to tweet like mad thanks to the social media platform’s new partnership with Telstra (@Telstra), the wireless carrier down there.

To get you started, here are five Australian users that Twitter suggests you follow. Of course, you should keep an eye on @Gadling, too.

(News from The Australian newspaper)
@delta_goodrem (Musician)
@kyleandjackieo (Australia’s #1 radio show)
@DanniiMinogue (Team Minogue judge for The X Factor)
@KevinRuddPM (Prime Minister)

There’s no question that Twitter can be incredibly helpful while you’re on the road. Be sure to hit up the locals for bar tips and under-the-radar attractions. This week, Twitter also announced its entry into Ireland and Indonesia.

Twitter reaches Ireland and Indonesia

Twitter addicts don’t need to worry about hopping a flight to Indonesia or Ireland any more. The white-hot microblogging service has expanded its footprint to these two countries, with local mobile carriers making Twitter available by SMS without charging any extra fees. Twitter was worried about overseas expansion for a while, because texting costs outside the United States were likely to prevent user adoption.

If you’re in Indonesia and are a customer of 3 Indonesia, the local carrier, Twitter becomes even more valuable. TwitPic is incorporated via MMS, making it possible to tweet pictures easily.And, the folks over at Twitter say more countries are coming, but there’s already a pretty impressive list on board already.

Destinations feature highly in top Twitter trends of 2009

It wasn’t explicit, but the top Twitter trends of 2009 have a hint of travel built into them. Sure, it was the elections in Iran that put made “Tehran” and “Iran” among the top 10 news items trending this year, and politics pushed “Gaza” up there, as well. And, we all remember the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic, which has been memorialized in the form of “Swine Flu” and “#swineflu” on the microblogging site. Six of the top 10 new trends on Twitter had implications for travelers.

Twitter exploded this year, entering the public consciousness and drawing enough action to bring its user base close to 60 million. Travel writers spent the year devising new ways to use Twitter to help their readers circle the globe and suggesting interesting and unusual tweet-masters to follow. So, 2009 was for exploration, and 2010 will put Twitter on the mobile devices of even recreational travelers as they look for hotel rooms, hunt for cheap fares and try to get the lay of the land at the destinations on their itineraries.

Beyond tips and tricks, a travel community developed on Twitter, with bloggers and reporters, destinations and publicists and travelers of all types collaborating to help each other get the most out of every jaunt. We learned who has the best info through such practices as #TravelTuesday, which gave everyone recommendations on whom to follow.

Travel didn’t gain enough of a profile to unseat the major newsmakers, top movies and TV shows and major sporting events, but there was plenty of travel intel we were able to pick up from the news trends – especially for those of us with a more adventurous bent – and the action within our own community was certainly enough to prove the value of this tool to jetsetters of all types.

So, peck away at your devices next year, and let’s resolve to contribute to a robust, useful and exciting travel tweet-stream in 2010. Even if we don’t make the top 10 for travel reasons at this time next year, we’ll all have benefitted from the shared experiences of millions of airport-dwellers, business travelers and adventure-seekers. Whether they’re on-the-ground updates on delayed flights or tips on where to get the best hotdog in a strange place, it’s up to us to give each other news we can use.