Is Twitter Still Relevant in 2017?

Twitter is one of the oldest social networking sites still popular today. Having been around for over 10 years this microblogging platform has changed a lot over the last decade. At its core, however, is still breaking news and the 140 character limit.

Yet, after all this time, is Twitter still relevant? Should you invest time in maintaining an active Twitter account for your business or personal brand? Here’s my experience.

I’ve used Twitter to promote this blog and my Youtube channel. I’ve also used Facebook and Instagram. Besides just promoting my own content, I’ve used Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to try to build relationships with other digital nomads, freelancers, and business owners.

Unfortunately, I’ve found that using Twitter gets me much lower engagement on my content. I’ll get 100-200 likes by posting something on Instagram, but get just a single like or retweet if any, by posting the same thing on Twitter.

I’ve also checked my Youtube analytics. Facebook always drives more traffic to my videos than Twitter. In the last 28 days for example, Facebook has brought 53 visitors to my videos versus just 3 visitors from Twitter.

youtube view analytics

In other words, engagement with my content pretty much sucks on Twitter. You could argue that the reason for this is because my Instagram account is older and more established than my Twitter account. Fair enough. That doesn’t explain the huge discrepancy, however, between my Twitter and Facebook.

Both of those accounts were created the same month. Plus, since creating those accounts, I’ve spent 18.5 hours building up my Twitter account vs just 8.5 hours growing my audience on Facebook (I log my daily time usage). It just doesn’t add up. Except, it does.

If you’ve ever watched Gary Vaynerchuk, you’d know that he always says, “Marketers ruin EVERYTHING.” It’s true. The typical trend for a medium (television, social media platform, whatever) is as follows.

First, regular people begin giving their attention to the medium. Then, a few trendy marketers get the idea to start advertising to these people. The marketers realize they’re getting a great ROI.

They scale up their marketing efforts, and tell their friends. Soon enough, the signal to noise ratio on the platform shifts significantly. Consumers start by trying to tune out the noise. You’ve seen this before. How quickly do you reach for your phone when there’s a commercial on TV?

It’s the same reason Twitter engagement sucks. Too many people just promote their own shit on Twitter without repping the great stuff everyone else is putting out. Even worse, a lot of people just automate their Twitters entirely. Because of this, it’s hard to get your content to stand out above all the noise.

Everybody’s talking but nobody’s listening. Twitter isn’t such a great broadcasting channel because of this anymore. You’d be surprised how few extra views or purchases having 1k or even 10k followers will get you. Yet, that doesn’t mean Twitter is irrelevant these days.

While I don’t find Twitter very useful for promoting my own stuff, I have found engaging with others very fruitful on Twitter. Twitter is how I met the awesome Jake Darby of Nomadic Hustle as well as an awesome graphic designer in Matt Lawrence (reach out to him if you want an awesome design at an awesome price).

I’ve already hung out with Matt in Saigon, and there’s a good chance I’ll be filming some vlogs with Jake later this year. I’ve also chatted with Peter Lievels (founder of nomadlist), Dan Norris, and Robert Koch (the blogger behind 30daystox).

If you want to get the most out of Twitter, you’ve got to understand you won’t be able to do so via endless self-promotion. In 2017 Twitter is a place to easily connect with other high level people, and build relationships that’ll enrich both your personal and business life.

If you view Twitter through this lens, it’s far from irrelevant. In fact, it just may be the best social network out there today.

4 Reasons Kuala Lumpur is Good For Border Runs

I’ve already done a post on whether KL is a good destination for digital nomads. The short answer — KL isn’t super exciting, but it’s an inexpensive city and a great place to focus on getting work done (click here for the longer answer).

That post was one of my most popular posts the last several months. You seemed to have gotten a lot of value out of it. For that reason, I thought you might enjoy me dishing out a bit more information to you on KL. While KL may not be the best destination for many nomads, it’s a great place for border runs or a weekend getaway. Here’s why.

#1 Cost of Living

Kuala Lumpur is very inexpensive. Budget hotel rooms can be found for just $10-$20/night. Food is cheap as well. The Malaysian and Indian food in KL is among the cheapest I’ve seen in Asia. Presumably the Chinese food in KL is cheap as well. I can’t comment with as much authority on that, however, as I’m not into Chinese food much.

Regardless, a couple dollars will easily satiate your hunger regardless of which culture’s food you like best. You could easily live a decent lifestyle in KL under $1000/month. It’s a bit more expensive than Saigon or Chiang Mai, but not much. While you’ll spend a bit more each day here on a short trip because of increased accommodation costs, this $1000/month figure should give you a good idea of how affordable KL is.

#2 Airport

KL is an awesome hub for flights. Kuala Lumpur is well connected to lots of the other top cities in Asia. Whether you’d like to go to Bangkok, Saigon, or Bali, you’ll find KL often has some of the most competitive prices on international flights. I’ve also found it’s typically cheaper to fly to the US from Kuala Lumpur than Saigon or Bangkok.

These cheap flights, however, make KL an awesome border run destination because they get you the stamps you need for your passport at a surprisingly affordable cost.

#3 Few Awesome Tourist Attractions

Kuala Lumpur has some really cool tourist attractions. The Petronas Towers, and Batu Caves for example, are two of the coolest sights Southeast Asia has to offer. Beyond that, however, my experience of KL suggests that it’s a fairly uneventful place to live. Perhaps that would change if you really established roots there.

From what I’ve seen, however, you’ll likely get bored staying in KL for a few months. Instead of trying to make Kuala Lumpur your base city, I’d recommend using it as a place to visit for border runs or a short vacation.

KL petronas towers

#4 Ease of Entry/No Visa Fee

The final reason Kuala Lumpur is great for border runs or weekend getaways is that visiting Malaysia is easy. US citizens, along with most other nationalities don’t need visas to enter the country. There’s also no fee for visitor cards on entrance, or departure fees either. Getting through immigration shouldn’t cost you any money in most circumstances.

Many nationalities also receive permission to stay in Malaysia for 90 days upon entry. This offers you a lot of flexibility in how long you stay. You could plan to visit for the weekend, fall in love with KL, and extend your stay extremely easily.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to love about visiting KL on a border run. KL makes border runs inexpensive, convenient, flexible, and interesting. I can’t think of many other cities in Asia you can say the same for. If you’re planning to base yourself long-term out of Thailand, Vietnam, or any country in SEA really, do make a plan to visit KL for one of your border runs at some point.

Learning Efficiently & Becoming Mentally Strong

Often when we have opportunities in life we’ll say, “Awwww I should apply for this job but I’m not ready yet”. Or, “I should join this soccer team but I don’t think I’m good enough yet”. Or, “I should do X experience but I’m not ready”.

Visualize this. Someone is learning to ski. They go down the little hill again and again and again. At first the little hill is a bit scary, but they quickly become accustomed to it. Yet, they keep repeating this now easy task over and over again.

They’re intimidated by the challenge the big hill has waiting for them. They want to keep doing the little hill again and again to avoid the big hill. At the very least, they think repeatedly practicing the small hill will eventually make the bigger hill less scary.

This may work on some small level, but it’s important to recognize that repeating easy tasks has diminishing returns. While skiing down the little hill may continue to be fun, the pace at which you’re learning slows the longer you attempt the same task and expose yourself to the same repeating stimuli. This is an important realization, but one you probably don’t want to acknowledge.

We like doing things we’re good at. We don’t want to hear that the best way to improve is to do the things we’re not fully comfortable with. It means we have to face our fears.

It means doing things that may feel awkward or uncomfortable to us. We may have to change our perspective or attempt to expand our minds in ways that are mentally exhausting or frustrating.

Put simply, reaching your potential is impossible if you only repeat a small number of tasks you’re already comfortable with. Of course, there’s a balance too. If you stretch yourself too far you’ll learn inefficiently.

You shouldn’t be studying CSS if you don’t know basic HTML yet. If you’re learning English you shouldn’t study words like ‘Abolish’ or ‘Accumulation’ before you’re comfortable with more basic vocabulary like ‘fast’ or ‘smile’.

Inefficient learning is the best case scenario of this approach as well. More likely, you’ll just give up. You’ll claim learning to code or learning English “just wasn’t for me”.  Dangerous.

The best way to learn things, and the best way to expand your comfort zone is to do something one step or level beyond your current abilities.

If you’ve become comfortable with HTML, learn CSS. If traveling across the country doesn’t feel challenging to you, travel to another country. When giving a speech to 10 people stops being scary, give a presentation to 20 people.

Do the things that challenge you. Do the things that scare you. Before long, they’ll cease to be challenging or scary. Your abilities and comfort zone will have expanded. When this happens, you’ll know it’s time to move on to life’s next challenge for you 🙂

Hilarious Nightmare Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hey guys, today’s videos is one of my favorites I’ve ever recorded. The video doesn’t dive deep into incredible mental frameworks. It doesn’t offer any crazy facts you’d never heard of before. This video is quite comical, however. Let me explain.

Last month I stayed in a hotel in central KL for only $14/night… including breakfast. While this sounded cheap, these prices aren’t unheard of by any means for a well traveled nomad in Southeast Asia. I’ve stayed in solid places in Vietnam for under $10/night.

Unfortunately, Hotel Pudu 88, the hotel I stayed at in May was far from solid. If you’ve slept in budget accommodation before you know what to expect: A small room, poor view, older facilities, that kind of stuff.

Hotel Pudu 88 was legendary in my books, however, for being so ridiculously bad. In addition to the typical cheap room stuff I mentioned above, Hotel Pudu 88 had many other surprises waiting for me as well.

For two nights I enjoyed the luxury of mold on the ceiling, a sticky door handle, feeling itchy in bed (who knows why), flat pillows, mirrors that had toothpaste on them from the last guest, and the list goes on and on. The staff even refused to let me borrow one of their power adapters to charge my phone (I was forced to purchase the adapter from them).

Let’s continue. I got two more juicy details you’re going to love. The free breakfast we were promised? Bread. To their credit, however, a toaster, peanut butter, and sugary jam were available to go with that bread.

The whole breakfast area was depressing. The other people wouldn’t make eye contact with you. It was as if everyone was in a state of disbelief all their hopes and dreams had amounted to residing in this bottom of the barrel accommodation. Despite laughing as I write this post, I’m only exaggerating this story slightly.

My favorite part of the whole ordeal, however, was when I asked to get some toilet paper from reception. Now, when we got to the hotel they left us half a roll of toilet paper in our room.

This may be sufficient for one person staying overnight, but we’re a couple staying two nights. I was staying with my girlfriend and I just can’t see how two people needing one more roll of toilet paper during that stay is in any way unreasonable.

I ask the front desk guy if we can have a roll of toilet paper and he says and I quote, “Take one.” And there was some preeeety heavy emphasis on the one. Man, I thought I was frugal.

Anyway, is there much of a point to this story? I don’t know. This place was even dirtier than the $6/night hotel I stayed in that asked not so jokingly if I wanted a lady with my room. I guess the biggest thing would be to see just how bad budget accommodation can be in Southeast Asia.

I get that many of you are newer digital nomads that simply can’t afford to drop $50-$100 a night on a baller place to stay in during your travels. I get it, me too. However, understand that sometimes there can be a big difference between $6/night and $12/night or $120/month for an apartment and $200/month.

For an extra few dollars per night, you can get a lot more comfort that’ll allow you to easily focus on doing the most important thing — generating income. If $5/night extra is a significant hit to your budget… it’s time to focus on making more money. Don’t live like an animal.

Don’t get stuck in the phase where you’re bragging about how cheap everything is abroad forever. Appreciating the lower prices in foreign countries is just the first level of expat and digital nomad living.

Enjoy it, but then get grinding. A better ideal, is to be making enough money that you’re far more proud to talk about the income you’re bringing in than the cheap street food and rock bottom accommodation you’re staying in.

Is Kuala Lumpur a Good Destination for Digital Nomads?

If you ask most digital nomads where they recommend living in South East Asia they’ll probably answer your question with one of the “Big 3” nomad hubs. They’ll suggest you live in Saigon, Chiang Mai, or Bali. Yet, while these digital nomad hubs are popular for a reason, it’s important to recognize that many other options exist as well.

One of those options is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is a solid choice for digital nomads for several reasons. For one the cost of living is very low. Airbnb apartments are extremely affordable as are the hotels. We’re talking $350-$450/month for a solid place on Airbnb.

Stay longer or find a place on the ground and you’ve got a good shot at finding an even better deal. Food is cheap as well. Budget meals at restaurants can be found for $1-3/each. Yet, cost of living isn’t the only reason to live in Kuala Lumpur.

KL also has several coworking spaces. In fact, a quick search on coworker.com will give you 30+ possible places to work from. While you can’t expect to find the same number of digital nomads at these spaces as the ones in Chiang Mai or Saigon, there are nomads here. Plus, they’ll be more excited to connect with you as finding others living the location independent lifestyle is more of a rarity in Kuala Lumpur.

A really nice bonus of being a digital nomad in Kuala Lumpur is that it’s extremely cheap to get flights into and out of KL. Getting to a place like Bali or Koh Lanta can be expensive for someone that’s bootstrapping with an extremely limited budget.

Even with all of these benefits, however, KL isn’t an ideal digital nomad base in my eyes. It has some nice tourist attractions like the Petronas Towers or Batu Caves, but overall KL feels a bit boring to me. Does that mean I was hanging out in the wrong places or not meeting the right people? Perhaps.

I’d venture you’d probably grow bored of the city too if you stayed a week or more though. There’s just not the chaos of Saigon or the awesome leisure activities Bali or Chiang Mai have.

Conclusion

Kuala Lumpur is worth a visit as a tourist. It can also be great for visa runs (we’ll discuss this in a future post). KL has cheap food and booking accomodation for 1-3 months on airbnb isn’t difficult or overly expensive. The city is a bit boring, however.

My recommendation for other digital nomads? Don’t base yourself in KL for too long. Unless of course, you want to stay in a boring city for a while to limit distractions and make it easier to focus on work.

Weekend Food and Fun in KL

Hey guys, here’s a video I recorded last month in Kuala Lumpur. It mainly focused on some of the foods you’ll find in Malaysia, but you’ll see some shots from a Chinese Market in KL as well.

The food in KL really is excellent. In addition to being cheap $1-3/meal (watch the video for some meals we ate and the prices), the food scene in KL is also diverse. There’s lots of great Indian, Chinese, and Malay food to be found. Plus, these different ethnicities often blend their styles of food together.

This makes for many interesting dishes. Of course, there’s lots more to KL than just the food. The Petronas Towers are an amazing landmark and something you absolutely have to see while you’re in KL. There’s also some solid live music playing in the markets and around the city.

If you’re not into Malaysia’s food or culture fear not, however. Next week I’ll be posting some videos on the hilariously bad nightmare hotel we stayed at in KL (think mold on the wall, sticky doorknob bad), plus whether KL is a good destination for digital nomads.

Until then, enjoy the video!

5 Reasons to Live in Saigon

#1 Cost of Living

Western style accommodation in Saigon only costs $250-$350 for a small room. $1000/month will easily get you 2 bedrooms in many of the most luxurious high-rise apartments in the city if you’re running with a higher budget.

Food is also cheap. Buying food on the street in local restaurants will run you $1-2 for a meal at most places. Nicer western restaurants may cost a few dollars more. My favorite Indian food, Chicken Saagwala for example is $4. A pizza for two may cost $7-10.

There have been many months I lived on just $500/month. These days, however, I probably spend closer to $700-$800/month alone or $1,000/month with my girlfriend living with me. $1,000/month is probably a comfortable budget for single people under 40 who’d like to live in a nice apartment with a pool or hit the bars and clubs a couple times a week. You may need to budget more if you’d like to do both.

#2 Menial Tasks Outsourced

Outsourcing your menial tasks in Saigon is extremely affordable. You can hire people very cheaply to do your laundry, clean your room, cook for you , etc. While the lazy side of you will love having someone clean your room, the biggest advantage of this outsourcing is that it frees up time and energy for you to focus on more meaningful tasks.

Whether that’s generating more leads for your business, learning a new skill, or building a better dating life, having someone do your menial tasks will free up a lot of space in your mind and schedule to focus on more important things.

#3 Food Paradise

Aside from being cheap, the food here is also delicious. There’s lots of great choices for both local and international food. Local food is very healthy compared to the cuisine in other countries. The health movement has also picked up in the last few years.

The people in Vietnam are opening up more health shops selling supplements, organic foods, green smoothies and more. Although it’s usually more expensive to eat at the healthy restaurants, we’re not talking about anything too ridiculous. A decent sized green smoothie will set you back $2 while a buffet brunch/lunch at the Vietnamese equivalent of Whole Foods costs just under $10.

#4 Dating

Hahaha you know this one had to make it in the list. The women in Vietnam tend to be more feminine than their western counterparts. They’re also thinner. Whether you want to find a sweet loyal girl to marry or party it up as a young single guy, Vietnam is a good choice for you.

The female foreigners living here almost exclusively date other foreigners, however. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a western girl holding a Vietnamese guy’s hand. This is for many reasons, which I’m sure you could easily figure out for yourself.

Again I won’t comment for women, but as even an average socially adjusted man you’ll love your dating life in Vietnam.

#5 Close Proximity to Other Countries

Vietnam is just a hop away from several other interesting countries. With neighbors like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, and the Philippines all 3.5 hours or less away by plane, you’ve got a lot of great options for a long weekend getaway.

Cambodia in particular is very easy to reach by bus. 6 hours. That’s all it takes to go from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Well, that’s what they say at least…

Conclusion

As you can see there’s a lot of great things about living in Saigon. That’s one of the reasons I’m likely to stay there. I’d recommend you give it a shot too. It doesn’t get as much love as Chiang Mai, but after having lived in both, I’d say it’s just as lovable. Even more lovable to some.