Stefanie Michaels has got game on Twitter with a steadily growing fan base who is dedicated to the top traveling tweeter.
Globetrotting is her gig. Her olive-green travel bag is packed 250 days a year. She’s listed in Twitter’s Top Global 100 and Top 50 Tweeple. Over one million people follow her on Twitter. Vanity Fair recently featured her in a trench coat and heels as a “twilebrity” of social media; her fans are fiercely loyal to the blonde animal lover who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a menagerie of rescued cat and dogs. So what’s the secret to conquering Twitter? wandermelon caught up with Adventure Girl between planes rides to Samoa and Papau New Guinea… So here’s the skinny on social media’s reigning queen.
“The truth is that I have been doing this for a long time,” admits Michaels. “I was an early adopter and had one of the first commercial websites in the 1990s called travelpartners.com. I started with AOL communities, moved to My Space, then to Facebook and now Twitter. All of these are avenues to explore and connect with like-minded people. I love technology. I am a closet gamer. And travel is my passion so it was a natural fit. I straddle both worlds happily,” chimes Michaels.
So what launched Adventure Girl into the cyber stratosphere where devoted Twitter followers and social media fanatics follow her good word? “In March 2009, I started tweeting. And I mean all the time. I found out that I was tweeting 21 times more than the founders combined, so I was adding people by leaps and bounds. This got Twitter’s attention and they put me on their Suggested User list.” By earning this status, Adventure Girl was recommended to anyone who joins Twitter, so her growth rate exploded.
But then again, Michaels is being humble about what happened when she first joined Twitter, as when she reached out to her Adventuregirl.com email list along with her travel and entertainment contacts she had 175,000 followers within three weeks. “Without any help it just burgeoned and grew,” she explains. And for those of you who have been personally growing your Twitter account one follower at a time, you know what it’s like even to reach 2000 followers, let alone 175,000!
By the time she hit the Suggested User list she had 500,000 followers due to “living on it” and showing up at functions and panels or doing on TV appearances “If a story came out on me in People Magazine or Access Hollywood covered me, I get slammed with something like 20,000 people in one day!” The momentum carried her forward to where she is today with over one million followers.
So what’s the magic secret? “There are no real tricks. It’s really about being social on all avenues. You have to work at it every day. I live on Twitter. You may not see me active on the feed all the time but I know what works. I have learned I respond to email personally through direct messages. Look, if you give someone the address to the house but if the house isn’t friendly, people don’t want to walk in. But if you connect with people on a personal level—reaching out and saying ‘I am checking in with you,’ or ‘I saw something on your feeds that’s truly different.” These are the little moments that drive you forward. People remember that and want to be cared for, so I respond.”
Michaels is also a true believer in the power of Twitter whereas some people have remained a bit skeptical, wondering who is reading all those daily even minute-by-minute feeds. “To me, Twitter is the new web and internet. It’s amazing the way you can move content and connect in real time. That’s what the World Wide Web was doing, but now Twitter is pushing the envelope.”
When Vanity Fair released an article on six “American Tweethearts” last February, Michaels was featured in the line-up. The writer compared Twitter to being “just like high school,” claiming that “Twitter is an enormous popularity contest.” The story with its snarky tone continued to poke fun at the inane chatter that fills out those 140 character tweets, enraging many readers and fans of Michaels, but she kept her cool about the article. “It’s old media being threatened by new media. Traditional journalists are hesitant about making a living online and rightly so! The writer was even quoted in a Gawker Magazine piece saying she purposely wanted to defame Twitter. It’s a shame, because this would have been an excellent opportunity for the magazine to embrace what’s happening with ‘now’ media, and then have the social media world push their content in honor of their loyalty. Most of the social media people I know have canceled subscriptions, and refuse to RT information from the magazine from that point forward. I still pass on the info as they have great stories, and I didn’t take it personally. But the whole experience truly gave me an understanding of the support I have with my online community. I knew it but this just solidified it for me. And in the end, I’ve been in Vanity Fair.”
When she’s not tweeting she’s working, spending time on her new Adventure Girl book or serving as a green lifestyle expert for The Huffington Post. She’s also a guest writer for People Magazine and Access Hollywood.com. And this week she’s even in Time Magazine.
But at the end of the day, exploring the world is her joie de vivre as she lives her life by the mantra of her favorite heroine, Amelia Earhart: “If someone asks you on an adventure, never refuse.”
Here are a few of Adventure Girl’s preferred destinations:
Favorite Adventure Trip: “Iceland is my all time favorite as I love hiking the glacier, swimming in the Blue Lagoon and staying at Stay at Radisson Blu1919 Hotel near the water and the famous hot dog stand Baejarins Beztu Pylsur right down the street from the hotel. There are things to do there that you cannot do anywhere else). Reykjavik is a thumping cool city—so alive. The nightlife starts at midnight and goes off. And the epicurean scene is insanely good as they are really into molecular gastronomy. Try the Orange and Red House just outside Reykjavik. The people are incredibly friendly, low key, and happy. Not to mention they all believe in trolls or the “hidden people.” Everyone puts miniature dog and bird houses around their properties that are so charming—each painted and decorated with flowers–so the hidden people can live there. These little homes are not for show as the Icelanders truly believe that the “trolls” live there. That belief alone makes it so different in Iceland.”
Favorite City: “Hong Kong. I was just in there. It’s truly where East meet West: Asian esthetics and philosophy infused with Western Culture. I love taking the ferry around the city—seeing all the Buddhist temples, old and new. There’s such fascinating history and blends of culture with everything at your fingertips from fine dining, entertainment, gambling, and the shopping…” She sighs. I love Hotel Mira—it’s off-the-charts cool and futuristic! You can literally eat your way through Hong Kong. I love NOBU anywhere- and the NOBU at the Intercontinental Hotel is no less than spectacular. Also, make sure stop in at one of the traditional tea houses for dim sum.
Favorite Spa: “Hotel Santa Caterina. It’s so dreamy along the Amalfi Coast and I had my most memorable massage there. The townspeople are very proud of their lemons as they call them their “babies.” Special individuals make this incredible massage cream with lemon oil—and it’s dripped and oozes all over body. Afterward, you carry with you this lovely lemon fragrance and your skin is so soft. Not to mention, it happens to be the most romantic hotel in the world.”