The Twitter sensation that is #TNI, has expanded its brand from the internet to book form.  But can you get the #TNI buzz in a book?  For those not on Twitter, a brief explanation of #TNI is probably in order.  #TNI, or Travelers’ Night In, is a tweet-up, or gathering, on the social media site Twitter where 10 questions based on a specific travel theme are tweeted every 10 minutes for 90 minutes by the week’s designated hosts.  Participants of #TNI,  from the expert to the novice, but all travel addicts alike, respond to the questions with tips from their trips, both good and bad, in an effort to entertain, educate and inspire others in their travels.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I am a big fan of the tweet-up and regularly participate.  However, the magic of #TNI is in the medium and that aspect gets lost in book translation.  I was excited to see several of my tweets in the book under my former, now defunct Twitter handle @mswoodenshoes, and as I read them I thought, “I remember that week”.  But for those who do not participate in #TNI or are not users of Twitter, the book is nothing more than a series of out of context tweets with a “you had to be there” kind of feel.

Another thing that fails to translate to the book are the photos.  On #TNI people often supplement their travel stories and experiences with beautiful, vivid pictures.  In the book the poor quality black and white pictures are bland and soulless.

A better way for #TNI to expand the brand beyond social media would have been to create a game, a sort of travel trivia pursuit; something requiring interaction, because that is its appeal.  In fact, #TNI now offers a daily travel question, known as the #TNI Daily Craving, for those of us who need our addiction fed more often than just once a week.

Logging on to Twitter any Thursday at 3:30pm EST is the only way to truly experience the magic of #TNI.  A book just doesn’t engage you in the same way.