Chip was brought into the Illinois Birddog Rescue at 1 week old with 5 littermates and his mom. Two of his sisters are very birdy (will point at birds, as English Setters should) but for some reason Chip isn’t interested in birds. He used to beautifully point and flush out Daisy a few years ago but other than that, no real pointing.

But all hope is not lost. He’s been perfecting his Owling stance!


#tourismchat is a biweekly twitter chat (Thursdays, 2pm CST) that focuses on how social media is used in the tourism industry.

Our last chat, Aug 4, was about Professional Development. You can read through the transcript [pdf] but here are some of the chat’s highlights:

What blogs are you reading that are not-to-be missed?

What other chats do you participate it?

  • @DigitalKaitlyn: I just finished with PRWebChat and #Smmeasure, both excellent chats for marketing professionals!
  • @scullyano: I’ve dipped into #blogchat on Sunday nights, but it’s a lot.
  • @BeckyMcCray: For a firehose of blogging info, join #blogchat on Sunday nights
  • @Amy_Brock: the #luxchat is a great one, lots of travel and pr discussions there.
  • @TourismCurrents: We recommend #eventprofs if you want to connect w/meeting planners, and #assnchat for association
    meeting planners. Continue Reading »

Ask Oregon

Oregon, a front-runner in social media, just launched Ask Oregon, a program that connects visitors to Oregon experts through twitter, Facebook and email.

There are 14 ambassadors who are experts in areas around the state as well as interests such as cycling, rafting, fishing, golf, wine, beer and history. These experts have credibility and only enhance the customer service experience that is part of social media for tourism organizations.

Just send a tweet with the #askOR hashtag, post your question on their Facebook page or head to their special Ask Oregon Facebook tab for a link to send an email. It’s a great concept!

Well done, Oregon!

Disclosure: Ask Oregon is managed though Travel Oregon and Sparkloft Media, my employer.

Just be. Colorful.

I’ve been thinking about starting another photography project but with so many possibilities, it was hard to narrow down the idea. My main goal for this project is to create another photography commitment, similar to my Project 365, so I’ll shoot more frequently and enhance my skills but the big difference will be a non-daily commitment so I can work more on creativity, rather than discipline.

I’ve decided to focus on colors for this next project. The rules are going to be fairly simple: take at least 5 photos per month based on the themed color. And I’m stealing the “Just be.” phrase from a tourism campaign but only because it’s a great idea. Here’s the plan:

  • August: Just be. Yellow.
  • September: Just be. Red.
  • October: Just be. Orange.
  • November: Just be. Brown.
  • December: Just be. Silver.
  • January: Just be. White.
  • February: Just be. Black.
  • March: Just be. Blue.
  • April: Just be. Green.
  • May: Just be. Pink.
  • June: Just be. Purple.
  • July: Just be. Gold.

Join me on this colorful journey through my camera’s eye! Here are some of my Just be. Yellow. shots for August:

Yellow Hibiscus Continue Reading »

It seemed like everyone in the tourism industry was in NOLA for #DMAI11 last month. Well everyone except for a few lonely people on twitter who felt like they were missing out. What started as a playful conversation became an incredible occasion to connect with other tourism professionals on twitter.

Troy (@travel2dot0) mentioned the #notatDMAI11 hashtag in a tweet and a few of us started to run with it. While the real #DMAI11 conference attendees listened to Dom Sagolla speak, one of the co-creaters of Twitter, we had some random tweets like my “Twitter has 140 characters. #notatDMAI11” tweet. But the non-conference hashtag was quickly evolving into something more than that and within less than an hour, we had a #notatDMAI11 twitter list and a non-conference non-logo logo, courtesy of Beth Conway.

Next came the idea of hosting a #notatDMAI11 twitter chat. It was the perfect opportunity to show the community aspect of hashtags and the learning potential of twitter, with or without a conference. The chat was scheduled for that Friday, the last day of #DMAI11, and focused on using social media at conferences. For more info on the chat, check out the #notatDMAI11 twitter transcript [pdf]. By the end of the chat, only three days after the hashtag was created, there were over 270 #notatDMAI11 tweets by more than 50 twitter accounts. Continue Reading »

I didn’t think it was possible to fit this much awesomeness into one month but I have been lucky enough to coordinate schedules with three fantastic tourism professionals (and incredible friends) this month. All IRL. In Real Life.

The series of meet-ups begin with Vicky Soderberg. Her twitter bio states “Creative collaboration with communities to preserve sense of place, strengthen tourism & enhance economic development” but as if that wasn’t enough, Vicky is also social media rockstar and a great friend. I can’t wait to meet her for the first time!

Mid-August is a meet-up with Katie Cook, an amazing friend and super savvy tourism geek. Need html help? Katie’s got you covered. Need to complain about geeky stuff? Katie again. I’m privileged to work with Katie professionally and even though we joke about it, I actually do miss her when one of us is out of the office for a few days.

And at the end of the month will be an epic tourism tweet-up at AJ Bombers with Betsy Decillis. Especially with all of our similarities, it’s almost incomprehensible that Betsy and I have only met up twice before. We’re #tourismchat partners in crime and constantly tease about our #catholicguilt, which is always in the form of a hashtag. Even when not on twitter. Only on rare occasions do we not communicate daily in some fashion. It’s been mentioned that we share the same brain but even more importantly, according to this amazing infographic Betsy found, we both have geeky grins. And that says it all. Continue Reading »

Tourism Rockstars

I don’t take myself seriously most of the time so when I saw that I was at the top of this Tourism Professionals on Twitter list, I was blown away. Especially since I’ve been taking a lot of personal twitter breaks lately.

I was in Portland for work when this list was published so I didn’t have time to fully absorb all of it. And then there were #DMAI11 tweets, #notatDMAI11 tweets and an amazing #notatDMAI11 twitter chat.

So when I was searching for something else, I happened to come across Dave‘s tweet again last week. This may be the all-time nicest thing anyone tweeted about me/my profession. Thanks, Dave!!

This list was compiled by Betsy Decillis, an incredible friend and my #tourismchat partner in crime. And no, I didn’t bribe her for my ranking. The methodology she used is based on a combination of the percentage of tourism followers and klout. Check out the entire list: Top 100 Most Influential Tourism Professionals on Twitter Continue Reading »