David Bowie has been gone for over four years, however I believe he’s still a social media influencer and his words still resonate with me.
I’m jealous of those who have found their career or life ladder. For me, the journey has been more of a jungle gym (1). Yes, there have been steps or leaps forward, but there have also been plenty of retracing of steps and lateral movements. I enjoy hiking, so I’ll refer to it as a switchback (2) instead of a jungle gym. Sometimes your path doesn’t feel like it’s going in the right direction until you look back.
Getting Lost in Zion to Find Myself
I gravitate to nature and the outdoors when I need to be reminded of my true north. The picture on page one is from Zion National Park in 2019 before I started Temple’s Digital Innovation (4) in Marketing (DIM) Masters Program. The leap to that perch in the photograph is a story I’ll save for a future blog article. It’s a metaphor for several leaps of faith that most of us take at some point during our lives.
- The goosebumps I feel on my face after some spring sunshine (although Bryce pictured here was a little cloudy for this photo),
- My lungs expunging the old air and getting a refill of the crisp clean air only Mother Nature can deliver, and
- My mind forgetting the switchback I traveled to reach this peak and starting to explore where my next steps could lead.
I wasn’t sure where I was going when the trip began, but I had my “aha” moment at some hiking. I realized what I really wanted to get out of this DIM program and the mobile and social media innovation courses.
If our US National Parks can help e find my center,
how can I help others rediscover nature and themselves?
According to Civic Science (8) , 15% of us are planning to hike more this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Below is another Google Trends graph (9) displaying the key word “hiking” during that same time period in the United States (9/1/19 – 9/1/20).
The trend to do more outside, visit our U.S. National Parks and
discovering ourselves isn’t going away.
It Won’t Be Boring
I’m not certain if I’m in the middle of a switchback or if I’m truly heading north, but this feels right. I’m working in a career and I’m part of a program that didn’t exist when I first went to college so it’s hard for me to say that I know where I’m going, but I’m not going to get bored. I think sometimes we need to have the courage to take the first step, and the confidence in ourselves that we’ll figure out the second and third steps as we go. This is where I am today – ready to take step two and step three.
Finding and Sharing Inspiration
If there was ever a social media channel made for our National Parks, it has to be Instagram. I follow Instagram hashtags like #YellowStonePledge, #m22life, and #myOhioAdventure. They inspire me to get outside of my comfort zone, find a new trail, or discover a new epic trek.
It was during this instagram search that I discovered @ZionNPS #AngelsLanding and decided the destination of my solocation (3).
A Sherpa for Self-Discovery
The U.S. National Parks Instagram account can be a sherpa for everyone’s self-discovery. Chris Burkard (@chrisburkard) (5) is a popular Instagram photographer (not associated with the U.S. National Parks) and has over 3.6 million followers. His pictures bring us closer to nature and as Chris points out,(6) “now you’re less than 10 clicks away from seeing an image on Instagram to purchasing a ticket to go there.”
I want to leverage the skills I absorb in the mobile marketing and social media innovation courses to:
- Help others find their center and true north.
- Bring people closer to nature and our U.S. National Parks.
For me, mobile and social media is more than checking an account on your phone or seeing how many ‘likes’ a post has been able to accumulate.
Mobile is connecting the inspiration that I’m finding on social media and
taking it with me wherever I am traveling and hiking.
My path to Zion isn’t unique. Instagram is inspiring an increasing number of people to travel to our U.S. National Parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Google Trends (7) graph displays the U.S. google search for “National Parks” from September 1, 2019 – September 1, 2020. Notice how the traffic spiked just as COVID-19 was taking over our lives.
It’s been a journey. My career has switched back between journalism, communications, marketing, digital marketing, and marketing automation, but I think I have found my true north and I’m ready to take the next step.
- Jacobs, Deborah L. “Why A Career Jungle Gym Is Better Than A Career Ladder.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Mar. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/03/14/why-a-career-jungle-gym-is-better-than-a-career-ladder/. https://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/03/14/why-a-career-jungle-gym-is-better-than-a-career-ladder/#8f7fe0f12481
- Musambi, Written by Erick. “What Is a ‘Switchback’ in Hiking?” Trail and Summit, 28 May 2019, trailandsummit.com/what-is-a-switchback-in-hiking/. https://trailandsummit.com/what-is-a-switchback-in-hiking/
- “Solocation.” Urban Dictionary, www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=solocation.https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=solocation
- “Digital Innovation in Marketing, M.S.” Digital Innovation in Marketing, M.S. < Temple University, bulletin.temple.edu/graduate/scd/fox/digital-innovation-marketing-ms/. https://bulletin.temple.edu/graduate/scd/fox/digital-innovation-marketing-ms/
- Burkard, Chris. Login • Instagram, www.instagram.com/chrisburkard/. https://www.instagram.com/chrisburkard/
- Miller, Carrie. “How Instagram Is Changing Travel.” National Geographic, 26 Jan. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/travel-interests/arts-and-culture/how-instagram-is-changing-travel/.https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/travel-interests/arts-and-culture/how-instagram-is-changing-travel/
- Brode firstname.lastname@example.org, Noah. “15% Of Americans Plan to Hike More Than Usual Due to COVID-19.” CivicScience, 30 Mar. 2020, civicscience.com/how-americans-are-fighting-cabin-fever/. https://civicscience.com/how-americans-are-fighting-cabin-fever/