Coronavirus lockdown | Every day is #ThrowbackThursday for these Indian travel influencers

Closed borders and a lockdown are a travel influencer’s worst nightmare. Here is how they are reinventing their content for a captive audience that is not restricted to four walls

Hiking the 22 km-long Trolltunga cliff in Norway. Quad-biking over the red dunes and salt pans of Sossusvlei in Namibia. Walking up an active volcano in Papua New Guinea. This is the type of real-time content that travel influencers use to create content for the social media beast. Or, at least, they used to, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

But there are followers to be engaged and numbers to be maintained till things return to normal. The easiest way is to rehash old photos, which is what most influencers — like Jyotsna Ramani (@wanderwithjo) and Archana and Vidur (@travelmynation) — have opted for. Others, like Ajay Sood (@travelure) have stuck to their plan: he is posting a year-long series on Instagram called ‘Travel Expressions’.

However, some are rethinking their entire content strategy. With more time spent on social media, viewers can get fatigued or even irritated with posts that take a business-as-usual stance. How do you keep things fresh, while acknowledging the seriousness of the situation and build engagement? Swati and Sam of @thetalesofatraveler were to be in Venice and Budapest this month, but have now hunkered down in Munich, Germany. They have been conducting a #LockdownQuiz on Instagram. “We post one picture a day and people have to guess the movie that was filmed there,” says Swati.

Shivya Nath, a travel blogger who has been living out of a suitcase for over six years now, was lucky that she was visiting her parents in Dehradun just before the lockdown. “On an Instagram poll, 84% of readers voted that I should talk about travel; everyone could use a break from all the negative news,” she says. And so she is writing a mix of blog posts: some directly related to the pandemic (WFH tips) and others inspiring them for the future (how to meet locals while travelling).

This time has also allowed people like Abhinav Chandel to “finally” start a YouTube channel, something that was pending for many years. Aakash Malhotra, whose four-day trip to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, was extended to 21 days, is doing daily vlogs. And while most influencers are using their large followings to share Covid-19 related information, Siddhartha Joshi has dedicated his account to the cause. “There’s nothing more important right now than sharing facts and updates and content that spreads awareness,” he says. More on how these influencers are reinventing the social media wheel for a post-lockdown world.

Shivya Nath

Shivya Nath  

Shivya Nath - @shivya

I’m enjoying catching up on all the things I often tend to put off — and this includes working on my blog. I'm hoping to create a bank of in-depth stories that I can slowly publish over the next few months. I had just spent a couple of weeks in Chhattisgarh on a personal trip, living with remote tribal communities deep in the forest, but haven't shared those stories yet. I will be using this time to work on that as well.

Siddhartha Joshi

Siddhartha Joshi  

Siddhartha Joshi - @siddharthajoshi

The content I share currently has changed completely and I am trying to use my platform [of over a lakh followers] for public health messaging, and also to bust fake news. The response has been fantastic — primarily because I've stuck to verified updates only and not to hearsay. Hundreds of people have shared them in their family WhatsApp groups to counter those spreading (unintentionally) fake news.

Swati and Sam

Swati and Sam  

Swati and Sam - @swati_n_sam

Apart from reading, playing board games and cooking from cookbooks we have collected from our travels, we are also trying our hand at TikTok — don’t judge us, but we never thought it would be so entertaining! We are sharing our past travels in a different format on the platform, and are also creating fun content based on the dilemmas of homebound travellers.

Aakash Malhotra

Aakash Malhotra  

Aakash Malhotra - @wanderwithsky

My daily vlog, ‘21 Day Lockdown’, is about us four friends driving from Delhi to Palampur and being stuck here for a month instead of four days. They tell me it is like being on Bigg Boss. So far, I’ve done 12 days, and it has helped me understand the intensity of work that has to go in daily, from creating the storyline to shooting, to editing. I have also ventured into teaching, training and motivational content.

Abhinav Chandel

Abhinav Chandel  

Abhinav Chandel - @abhiandnow

I’m mostly sharing my daily views in Bir, instead of posting throwback pictures. The new YouTube channel has been a good challenge, and being in one place has made me appreciate my immediate surroundings more. Like finding barren windows lined with spring flowers while walking to the grocery store. And capturing small rainbows that appear while watering the garden. I might have missed these otherwise.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 7:16:56 AM |

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