In the old part of Pragie, the city appears to have rolled back time and exist in a previous age. This is an Old Town Square, complete with a horse-drawn carriage.
At the beginning of this week I found myself in Prague. The occasion was a week-long, regional mini-MBA seminar operated by Rutgers University where I was presenting on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Crisis Management.
I found myself with a few empty hours in one of the days and in true tourist style hit the streets, to experience the city. There are many ways you can make the most of your time as a tourist. The hotel had the usual collection of maps, guide leaflets and notices. You can hire a city guide for the day. You can go online and research it. Any of these will do the job.
For me it was unexpected in terms that I had not really planned to take in the city. There was work piling up even as I was busy with the mini-MBA program. I had intended to grab a coffee and a bite to eat at one of the city’s many al-fresco cafes, take in a little bit of its rhythm and style and then get back to my hotel and immerse myself in work.
Needless to say things did not go quite a planned. I was online on G+ and posted my intention to do some sight-seeing on my smartphone. It was the first time I was mixing mobility with work and travel in a social media environment and what happened next made the next few hours a lot more rewarding than anything I could have done alone.
Within minutes of my post there ensued an online conversation in the fullest sense of the word where people I had never met in person but with who I interact online, shared their own experiences and insight of the city and guided me on some of the best parts to visit in a limited space of time.
Walking the streets of Prague, on my own, I found that I was far from alone. Those who had visited the city figuratively walked there beside me, linked via my personal cloud. Time which might have been wasted suddenly became entirely enriching, culturally eye-opening and, through the online interaction of friends, shared, discussed and enjoyed even more than what might have otherwise been.
The experience brought home to me the true meaning of the transition we are in. Our world has become not just smaller, a trend which has been accelerating as we moved from foot to horse to mechanical means, for our transportation. It is also becoming transparent.
For me the few hours I had to devote to sightseeing in what has to be one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, became the kind of experience you could only have if you happened to be together with special friends and you all happened to be in the same frame of mind and have the same inclination that particular day and time. Physically, that is pretty hard to do. Through social media, it took two clicks.