Some thoughts on „Travelling without Moving“

Now that @Trawom welcomes its 10th tenant, I may share some thoughts about it.

My personal feeling is that watching @Trawom travel is way more exciting than actually hosting it. Being eager to get it, and being excited once you have it, I know from my own experience that you don’t really know what to do with it. Creating tweets with 140 characters only is quite a challenge, especially if you do it in a different language. I felt quite limited in my ability to express myself while using it. And vice versa, followers of the account from other countries may not get each and every little subtlety of one’s tweets. So I also tried to write in my mothertongue, but this keeps away non-german followers.

When @wasalski was taking over the account and tweeted from Jersey, it was really nice to follow @Trawom, because @wasalski posted many pictures from where he was. Pictures have one big advantage that they’re independent from any spoken language. It was quite an experience to realize that the combination of the location with posted images made it interesting.

Finally, one bigger obstacle seems to be to pass on the account. First question is: Who wants it? As it looks, only in rare cases followers of @Trawom are going mad about getting it. It is way more efficient to send a direct message to someone, asking if s/he would like to host it for a while. But how to find someone? On the one hand you want to pass it on to a cool location. On the other hand, it is easier to explain the whole story to someone you know quite well. But people you know well living in posh areas are rare.
I think it’s better to pass it on to a person you feel comfortable with than desparatly seeking an extraordinary location. If you don’t know who to ask, ask your best friend on twitter. There’s no pressure on going around the world in only three steps.

To summarize it, my recommendation is: You catch up @Trawom, shout out who and where you are, post some pictures of what’s around you and then pass it on again. I think the more tenants are using it and the more frequently it is being handed over, the more the potential of the idea is being unleashed.

But nevertheless: These are only recommendations in case you feel uncomfortable with the account. Still the rule applies: You have it, you decide what you do with it.

Bon voyage!

Yes, the goal is cross the world!

Today, I received the following e-mail by @janquim:

I’m a journalist based in Barcelona.
Gimsieke has given me your email adress.
I’d like to write an article today about trawom.
Could you please answer few questions?
– How the project was born? How and when did you get the idea?
– Which is the „aim“ of the project? Different owners cannot give to the account a unique identitity so in what would be based its digital reputation?
– I undesrstand you are not looking for followers, so, waht are you looking for?
– The goal… is cross the world? When will you  clearly put the end of this project or i s a neverending twitter account?
Please, could you also give me some details? I mean, I’d like to introduce you to our audience, so, whoyouare, etc. Some links could be great1
If there is something else you wanted to say and I did not ask just say it.
Thanks a lot for reading this email.

And here’s my answer:

Hi Joan,

finally, I found the time to answer your mail properly.

A couple of weeks ago I just found an old text I wrote when I was a student, which in fact was not so very good. I wrote that text in a time when social media was not at all in anyone’s focus, people were playing around with their first homepages and handmade HTML pages.
But the idea of the text was mainly that person A in a certain situation is thinking of Person B, who again is wondering what Person C might be doing at the moment and so on. In the end there was a mental circle around the world.
As I’m on Twitter for a while now, it came to my mind that with a travelling twitter account it may be possbile to track something comparable and maybe make it visible. So all I needed was another Twitter Account @Trawom, a short description of the idea and pass it on – that was done in an instant.

The whole thing started just as an experiment, how would people react on this? What practical issues would they face? Would the story tell us something about the people behind the account? How would people make use of the account? As it was so easy to start the whole thing, I did not spend too many thoughts about it, but just started it.
I described the idea in my blog under, posted one or two Tweets with my regular account @Pausanias, then started to write some Tweets with @Trawom. After one or two days, I announced that it was time to pass on the account and simply posted a tweet with the password of @Trawom. It was @CBra1 (a guy I know via some friends and colleagues), who caught it and changed the password first. As it took a while until someone was willing to take over the account, I recommended @CBra1 to maybe pass it on (means: give away the password) via Direct Message, otherwise everyone is watching, but nobody feels like really catching it. That was the first learing: It works better if you hand it over to a dedicated person, asking explicitly to take it over.

Then @ennomane heard about it, he’s quite an successful Twitterer in Germany, he was able to make the first 100 people follow @Trawom – and made @Trawom follow some interesting german twitterers. After him, it went via Leipzig to Barcelona, where it still resides at the moment.

My first idea was that every tenant of @Trawom should keep it for a couple of days and post some interesting tweets, telling what’s in the media at the moment in that location, how’s the weather and what the tenant is doing and thinking. In fact, I must admit: Everyone taking over the account is really owning it, I mean, the tenant has the password, so she or he can do with it whatever s/he wants – and I sit and watch. And as it turns out: The most exciting thing is the handover itself. It is now in Barcelona, but in an instant, it may be in the US or in China, who knows?

When @CBra1 set up a map on google, tracing the route, he had the idea, that one could draw something on the map, and I’m looking forward to further ideas like this. And it brings places into your focus you may not have thought of.

So you ask for a goal or what’s the aim of the whole thing. I wanted to see connections, learn what people are there. Even if they might use languages I don’t understand, it would be just awesome to see that account travelling. It’s the people, it is somewhat of getting in touch with them, but still every tenant decides her/himself what to share.
You are right, it is not about building up a unique identity, but somehow I hope that from each hand touching the account a little trace might stick on it and give it a million colors.

The „digital reputation“ I suppose are the twitterers around it, talking about it, people like you writing about it, things that happen in my head and hopefully in the heads of those following @Trawom. I just don’t know. And yes, the goal is cross the world. And I don’t know, if or where it ends. It’s an experiment. And it is not me who can stop it, it is not under my control, I just started it. All I can do is comment if someone asks me and watch @Trawom travelling.

You ask what I’m looking for… hmmm… except for money and world domination as we all do, I think I would like to see @Trawom becoming something nice, something that people like. I want to see what ideas it uncovers. I want to read what the other end of the world is thinking. But I guess this experiment is not about what I want, it’s about what it becomes.

I hope this is not too solemn, is it?!

History of @Trawom

Here’s the List of users who have been taking care for @Trawom (as of 2012-03-15 13:30):

  • #0015: 2012-03-15: @Pausanias, Bonn, Germany (current)
  • #0014: 2012-03-09: an unknown user has picked the account and pretended to be travelling Paris, Morocco and Potugal. In the end it turned out that the whole trip was just what @Trawom is supposed to: An imaginary journey.
  • #0013: 2011-07-18: @mr_ligi, unknown, New Zealand
  • #0012: 2011-07-13: @oschni, Darmstadt, Germany
  • #0011: 2011-07-06: @openmedi, Berlin, Germany
  • #0010: 2011-06-16: @felham, Hamburg, Germany
  • #0009: 2011-06-11: @stedtenhopp1A, Berlin, Germany
  • #0008: 2011-05-27: @wasalski, Jersey, Great Britain
  • #0007: 2011-05-12: @LloydDavis, London, Great Britain
  • #0006: 2011-05-03: @cataspanglish, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • #0005: 2011-04-28: @lizcastro, Barcelona, Catalonia
  • #0004: 2011-04-25: @gimsieke, Leipzig, Germany
  • #0003: 2011-04-21: @ennomane, Berlin, Germany
  • #0002: 2011-04-20: @CBra1, Bielefeld, Germany
  • #0001: 2011-04-18: @Pausanias, Bonn, Germany

Click here to see what this is about.

Travelling without Moving

View Travelling without Moving – Places where @Trawom has been in a larger map

View the list of users who have been taking care of @Trawom.

2011-07-18: Today @Trawom going not only international, not only intercontinental, it’s going right to the other end of the world! New host of @Trawom is @mr_ligi in New Zealand!


2011-07-13: The journey goes on, now we’re in Darmstadt. Thanks to @oschni for hosting @Trawom for a while!


2011-07-06: Quite common in Germany: Commuting between Hamburg and Berlin, and so is @Trawom now. Thanks for welcoming it back in Berlin, @openmedi!


2011-06-16: Today visiting Hamburg, looking forward to having a good time with @felham!


2011-06-14: Hey! There’s another article about the @Trawom on YuccaTree Post! Thanks to @ennomane!


2011-06-11: After an interesting trip over the Channel Islands @Trawom is now back on the continent: Thank you, @stedtenhopp1A for hosting it in Berlin over the pentecost holidays!


2011-05-12: And here’s the next hand over, hooray! The new tenant of @Trawom is @LloydDavis in London. Warm welcome and thanks to @cataspanglish!


2011-05-11: Thanks to @janquim there was much interest on @Trawom today, because of a report about it on the catalan Newsportal


2011-05-03: This morning @Trawom was handed over from @lizcastro to @cataspanglish, who is also domestic in Barcelona (as far as I can tell from the Twitter Account).


2011-04-28: Yeah, @Trawom for the first time crossed the border and is now located in Barcelona, Catalonia. New tenant is @lizcastro. Maybe it was Lionel Messi giving @gimsieke the impulse to pass it over there?


2011-04-25: Today, @ennomane handed over @Trawom to @gimsieke in Leipzig, Germany. Thanks to @ennomane, the account has now 97 premium followers. Damn, whish this selection of first-class twitterers would follow me… err… I mean, my followers are really great and they all deserve to be twitter-proms, but… (I better stop here, don’t I?)

Anyway, let’s see what’s up in Leipzig!


2011-04-21: This morning, @Trawom was taken over by @ennomane in Berlin, which puts some drive on the whole thing! @ennomane has a very wide range in the german twitterverse and will be using @Trawom over the easter days. Thank you so much for your support!

Also, there is an application for taking over the account by @Wasalski for end of may, when he’ll be visiting the Channel Islands. Nice spot on the map!

@CBra1 has already updated the map. Thanks for this!


2011-04-20: Now, about 8 hours after the first hand over, @Trawom welcomes the first 10 followers.

Thanks to @CBra1, who has set up a View on GoogleMaps to visualize the journey. Ok, for the time being it’s nothing more than a mid-class consultant’s business trip, but we’re in a very early stage of the experiment.


2011-04-20: Today I released the password for the @Trawom Account on Twitter.

The first one who catched it was @CBra1 in Bielefeld, Germany. *applause!*

Three questions came up:

„How do I hand it over best?“ – I just twittered the password of @Trawom and waited for someone to take it. Actually, this may leave people a bit baffled, so maybe it’s smoother to pass it on via a Direct Message to a dedicated person.

„Must I tweet in english when using @Trawom?“ – Of course not, I think it is even more exciting to see what kinds of languages it will be using. I just started it in english, because I thought it may reach a broader audience, but in fact most of my followers are german.

„How long should I use it?“ – Initially I thought it would be nice to use it several days before giving it away, but my feeling is that the most exciting thing is to hand it over – and the more hand overs are made, the more interesting the whole thing will become.
So my recommendation would be to just write a couple of Tweets, mentioning who you are and where you are and then pass it on again.
Anyway, this is just my idea of it, feel free to use it as long as you want.


2011-04-18: I have just created a Twitter Account named @Trawom, which is a silly acronym for „Travelling without Moving“ (which again I pinched from Jamiroquai’s album title).

The idea is to use this twitter account @Trawom myself for a while and then hand it over to someone else, asking her/him to do the same. The interesting thing will be to follow @Trawom with my genuine account @Pausanias and see where it goes.

I have no idea if it will ever get accross the city limits of Bonn, but it’s worth a try.

Connected to the twitter account I also created a corresponding googlemail account, which I also plan to hand over to the next „owner“ of @Trawom.

Of course I will track the latest changes and hand overs of the account here in my blog.