Why this travel writer is going on a tech tour in China

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(This is cross-posted on the Perceptive Travel blog and my Family Travel blog on BootsnAll.)

I know that I’m a very fortunate freelance writer and social media/Web 2.0 trainer; I have a military pension and health insurance from my 22+ years in the US Navy. I can ride out the current economic storm (with a lot of belt-tightening) so it’s somewhat easier for me than for others to set fiscal angst aside and go to China next week….to meet a bunch of Chinese bloggers.

That’s probably what the China 2.0 Tour might seem like from a distance, and you might well ask; what is the ROI (business Return on Investment) from getting to know “a bunch of bloggers and tech types?” Is that how I should be spending my limited funds?

Here’s why — as a good friend once said about me, I’ve never been about looking back. I’ve always been about looking ahead to the future.

Unless I’m sorely mistaken, 245 million Chinese Internet users might be rather important to someone like me who mostly publishes online, and who consults and teaches entry-level workshops in all of this heavily-connected Webby stuff. Travel writing is only one activity supporting my overall life philosophy, which is to attempt to understand how things work and how people tick.

That’s why Christine Lu and Elliott Ng asked me to join China 2.0….from the Web site, here is what they’re trying to accomplish:

“Led by The China Business Network and co-organized by Web2Asia and CNReviews, the inaugural China 2.0 Tour is sponsored by Edelman Digital China and represents a unique opportunity for companies and individuals to gain a deeper understanding of China. Unlike a typical business conference or large trade delegation, we seek to go ‘one-level deeper’ by creating a series of small-scale, exclusive meetups where people can share more openly about their business successes and challenges, and provide a deeper view into the nature of building a successful venture in China.

We also are taking an interdisciplinary approach by looking at social media, clean technology, gaming, wireless, and other areas where trends in China will affect markets around the world.

We also seek to provide informal opportunities to go off-message and off-the-record, so that long-lasting relationships can be built….”

Not only will I meet all sorts of key people in China, including many directly related to my travel and social media work, but I’ll also get to know my fellow Tour attendees — people like:

  • Shel Israel, co-author with Robert Scoble of one of the seminal Web 2.0 books, Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.
  • Sam Lawrence, CMO of Jive Software and enterprise 2.0 influencer behind Go Big Always.
  • Mike Butcher — Editor, TechCrunch UK and Ireland.
  • Ernst-Jan Pfauth — Editor-In-Chief, The Next Web and Co-Organizer, Blog 08 in the Netherlands.
  • Melissa Sconyers, who won a contest sponsored by Mashable to create a new kind of online resume, called VisualCV. She’ll blog for Mashable in China.

How much I’ll be able to post here while in China will depend upon Internet connectivity and more importantly, time available. I’ll certainly do my best, although this is more of a tech visit than a travel visit.

I’m not going to be able to make the Guangzhou leg of the Tour (and will miss the Chinese Blogger Conference where Shel is a featured speaker - phooey) because finances wouldn’t allow it, but I will spend extra days in Shanghai and will have more pure-play travel goodies from there, I would think.

Thanks very much to my sponsors Every Dot Connects and UpTake - Your First Step to a Great Trip, and the support I’ve gotten from BootsnAll’s Cheap Air Tickets in order to get me there and back.

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This post was written by:

Sheila Scarborough - who has written 31 posts on Every Dot Connects.

I'm a writer and speaker specializing in tourism,travel and social media. Co-founder of Tourism Currents.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Tim Walker Says:

    Have fun! Learn lots! Write often!

  2. Sheila Scarborough Says:

    Thanks, Tim, hope I can keep up with the “discovery fire hose.” :)

  3. Michael Cayley Says:


    I am wondering if you might keep me in mind during this tour.

    I have a first draft of the mandarin translation of my e-book (I lived in China for five years & served on the Board of the Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce). But I need to find a qualified volunteer to proof it. My old friends who worked on the first draft did a great job, but they are not familiar with the social capital, social network and media terms that are described in the e-book.

    You are going to meet the kind of enthusiasts that I need to connect with. If you think of it, I would be grateful if you could keep this in mind.

    You can check out the e-book at

    Have a great trip!

  4. Allan Says:

    China is going to astound you. I got a chance to go to Shanghai a few years back and it was an amazing experience. The size and scale of everything there just dwarfs what I’m used to. The Chinese universities are cranking out engineers by the boatload and soon China will be tough competition to India as a tech outsourcing hub.

  5. Sheila Scarborough Says:

    Hi all, I’m back, it WAS amazing, now I need to find time to write a few posts….:)

  6. sparkywills Says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun, but educational as well