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Social Rider

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2 finalists in the search for my motorcycle

2 finalists in the search for my motorcycle

 

When I bought my first motorcycle in 2000, I did lots of online research and ended up with a great starter bike: 2000 Buell Blast.  I sold the Blast 2 years later for reasons of practicality, but kept riding in my dreams. Cut to 2014, ready to get back on the iron horse, I did online research once again (click here to see Julia Austine’s Pinterest Board “Motorcycle Mama”), but was having trouble deciding between the two top contenders: Suzuki Gladius or a Yamaha FZ-07. I was leaning towards one over the other, but I wanted some opinions from outside my head, so I posted the above split pic on my Instagram account (click here to see @juliaaustine on Instagram) and tagged all the people I knew on Instagram that rode motorcycles. What’s interesting about this is that while some of these people I do know in real life, some I’ve only conversed with through Instagram!

My moto comes home with me!

My moto comes home with me!

After test riding both bikes, I made the final decision and went with the Suzuki Gladius. The first thing I did after I rode it home was to post a picture on Instagram and thank everyone who’d shared their thoughts on my bike selection. I shared the same photo on my Twitter account (click here to see @juliaaustine on Twitter)

Date Ride

Date Ride

Some of my first rides were with my husband, and since he has only had his bike and his license for the last 2 years, this was something brand new for us! I recorded images of these rides and created a hashtag for our “date rides”: #VeronicaandOctavius (the names I’d given our motorcycles) and again put them up on Instagram. As I’d run into friends and acquaintances in the real world, that had Instagram accounts, they would ask about my motorcycle or comment on my big bike decision. It’s fascinating to see how our online worlds and our daily lives overlap and combine until they can become as blurred as the trees by the side of the road.

Helmet Selfie

Helmet Selfie

 

Though not a big selfie taker, I did want to capture the chubbiness of my cheeks and the glint in my eye caused by suiting up for a ride by taking a “helmet selfie”, which I shared on Instagram and then used as my personal Facebook profile pic, to announce to my Facebook friends that I was back on two wheels. I also updated my Facebook cover photo to a shot of my Suzuki Gladius. My workplace wanted to share in the fun and posted a pic of me leaving for the day on my bike on Instagram! (click here to see @fiitfu on Instagram)

Moto Commute

Moto Commute

While riding a motorcyle can be a solitary pursuit, all this facebooking, tweeting and instagramming was making me feel much more connected to the two-wheeled community near and far. How have you used Social Media to “meet up” with others who have shared interests?

Social Animal

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Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

I like to follow people on Social Media with whom I share common interests: food, Social Media itself, photography, music, local events, food, Public Relations, food, parenting, etc. I used to unfollow people who would constantly post images of something I was not interested in: their pets.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

This changed, a bit, with the new addition to our family, Hazel the Catahoula puppy. When we decided we were looking for a pup, I started a board on Pinterest called: Puppy Love with images of dogs that made me go, “Awwww”.  There were lots of Catahoulas and Corgis, and this new interest caused some curiosity and raised some suspicions among my close friends. Of course, once we got our Catahoula home, I instantly started sharing many adorable photos of our sweet puppy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Realizing, that I was turning into someone that I would unfollow in a heartbeat, I vowed to vary my sharings and never do two puppy posts in a row.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Surprisingly, to me, I had many requests for more dog pictures and constant updates of what she was up to. Especially on Instagram, I had questions and comments from dog-focused posters. Catahoulas are not very commonly seen in Canada, they are a Southern hunting dog and the State Dog of Louisiana. So, we get stopped a lot on walks and people often think she is an Australian Blue Heeler, due to her colouring.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Through these new interactions, I even made a connection through Instagram with another Catahoula owner who adopted one of Hazel’s relatives! This was pretty exciting to me and now I actually look forward to other people’s pet posting.

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Hazel the Catahoula by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Being a dog owner opened me up to a new interest group and automatically made me a member.

Relevant Articles:

Mystic the Catahoula (Dog Gone Funn)

Asher the Catahoula Leopard Dog (Clarke Studio Pet Photography)

Joey Lehrman and Keeping it Local (Joey Lehrman)

Do you like or dislike lots of personal pet photos on your Social feeds?

Fave Photos from 2013

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Frosted Mushrooms

Frosted Mushrooms

New Neighbours

New Neighbours

Snail Shell & Spring Shoots

Snail Shell & Spring Shoots

Ladybug Blossom Branch

Ladybug Blossom Branch

White Lilac

White Lilac

Buttercup Fields Forever

Buttercup Fields Forever

Matilija Poppies

Matilija Poppies

Boar Scarer

Boar Scarer

Blackberry Bramble

Blackberry Bramble

Feeling Cherished

Feeling Cherished

November Roses

November Roses

The Tree Is Up

The Tree Is Up

Going through my monthly photo streams, these are the images that stayed with me throughout the year. A year of challenges and changes that leaves me grateful for all that I have and all that I have become.

Wonder what 2014 will hold…

Blogging for the Team

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Yellow Bloom by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Yellow Bloom by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

I’ve blogged for school, I’ve blogged for myself, I’ve blogged for friends and family, but for the past few months I’ve been blogging for a team. I was trying to find a way to keep a group of part-time Service Associates with ever-changing schedules on the same page, in the loop and every other team cliché that exists. Meetings weren’t going to happen on a regular basis and email seemed clunky, so I set up a WordPress blog and started a dialogue.

Palmetto Halo by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Palmetto Halo by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

The very first blog post was an introduction to how it would work and what the expectations were for the team’s participation. Every post would include a question at the end that each person was expected to answer in the comments. This was to make sure that they had read and understood the post and I committed to replying to each and every comment. For some of the team, this was their first time reading and/or commenting on a blog. The topics included changes in procedure, the cultural shift that our team was making and re-blogs of posts that I found relevant.

Baby Snapdragons by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Baby Snapdragons by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

Once they had embraced the format and I was starting to run short on weekly topics, I turned the blog over to the team. Each person had to write a blog post (just over 400 words) about the project that they had been leading for the team. They also had to include one relevant image and a question for everyone to answer. The “guest” blogger was then responsible for replying to the comments. I was truly impressed with the quality of their blog posts and they really enjoyed the interaction through the posts and comments as, due to scheduling, some people rarely worked together.

City Exchange Bell by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

City Exchange Bell by Julia Austine for Meat of the Message

I would definitely recommend a blog format for keeping in touch and updated a team that is separated by time or space. It created a sense of camaraderie and connection that email just doesn’t have.

What do you think the greatest advantage or disadvantage of a team blog would be?

The Internet Will Wait, Flowers Won’t

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Social Vacation

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Calm Camellia

Calm Camellia

Sometimes it’s good to take a break. My family recently went to the opening of a brand new restaurant in Vancouver, Burdock & Co, at the beginning of the week and I had to set my phone down and pick up my fork. I was very excited to go to the restaurant and I had been tweeting about it on my food blog, Kitchenette Finds, Twitter account. After sharing a photo on Instagram and Twitter of the table setting and looking up to two pairs of blue eyes, I knew it was time to give it a rest. They tolerated me taking photos as the dishes were presented and I appreciated that. We had an amazing night with fantastic food and I’m glad that I was truly present to enjoy it.

First night @BurdockAndCo Looking forward to deliciousness. Beautiful space!

Don’t be afraid to unplug from the online world. It will always be there waiting for you. The real world should always take precedence over the virtual one. Twitter is not the only way that the world can reach you. If you are truly needed, you will be tracked down.

Pink Blossoms Blue Sky

Pink Blossoms Blue Sky

When your Twitter feed is suddenly filled with a tragic breaking news event, this is a good time to give your marketing messages a rest. The focus should be on the people affected and sharing information through your network. It’s not about shutting off and tuning out, it’s about respect and support. Your messages will not be given the attention you would like and there may be a negative association made with your brand.

When do you know it’s time to take a step back from your online communities?

Balcony View

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Path Less Taken

Path Less Taken

Roger Ebert, film lover, passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. This news was shared all over the internet with people remembering his impact on their lives. I started watching Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s first show, Sneak Previews, on PBS and over the years I loved their dialogue and interaction even more than hearing the final thumbs up or thumbs down verdicts. A while ago I watched a TED video of Roger Ebert about losing the use of his voice and how he had a computerized voice created from the years of footage of his TV shows. His humour and positive attitude touched me deeply.

He had, as most of us do, taken for granted the ability to speak and easily communicate verbally with others. He remained active and prolific up to the very end and talked about all the projects that he was working on and looking forward to on his blog. It truly makes me appreciate the platforms that social networks provide us to speak our minds, share those thoughts and have people around the world respond to them.

Treeflection

Treeflection

Appreciate your voice and all the forms it takes.

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