Leave No Trace Behind but a Facebook Photo #trailheadselfie

by Heather Kallevigcropped-cropped-dsc010772.jpg


It’s the age of the selfie – we’ve all done it. There’s no one else there take to you’re your photo, so you snap a quick shot with a little bit of scenery behind. What if someone told you a selfie could save your life? Search and rescue teams are now asking hikers, bikers, skiers, and all other outdoor enthusiasts to post a selfie.

Search-and-rescue squads’ main work is out of doors. These altruistic individuals risk life and limb to aid fellow outdoor enthusiasts, but many are turning to the value of social media. Not as a marketing tool, but as a new innovative rescue strategy. Search-and-rescue volunteers across the country are asking people to take what they call a “Trailhead Selfie” and post it on your social media platforms using #trailheadselfie.

A few things to think of when taking your trailhead selfie:

  1. If you know you won’t have service at the trailhead, post before you go.
  2. Don’t be afraid to use several platforms, particularly Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
  3. After posting your photo, shut off your phone to conserve battery – this also reduces technical distractions during your wilderness time.
  4. Make sure the selfie shows what you’re wearing, the trailhead location, and anyone with you. If this doesn’t fit in your photo, add it to your description.

It can be a bit intimidating setting off in a new location, especially if your new to an area or enjoy hiking alone. While snapping a #trailheadselfie does not ensure your safety, it is a useful application for our phones and social media. Just remember to be smart, be safe, and most importantly ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS!

“The mountains are calling and I must go…”

John Muir



A Topic Worth Discussing – Contemplative Computing: An Introduction

by Heather Kallevig

 Photo By lee Scott

Social media becomes more widespread every day, attracting increasing numbers of users while individual users increase their personal attachment using more than one platform at a time. I myself use six – Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and WordPress blogging. Maintaining six profiles with different cultures, languages, and expectations can be daunting. There are times when the last thing I want to do is look at my computer screen. I often take breaks from my computer, cell phone, and/or iPad through recreation. My favorite method is getting outdoors; on extended camping trips, I won’t have access to my accounts for several days. I avoid screens while I walk, run, or practice my photography outside. Indoors yoga keeps me balanced, as does reading a book, or simple activity-free relaxation.

By using these methods for recreation and relaxation, I am able to use my devices purposefully. When I use my computer, it is not generally for entertainment or to simply “zone out.” It is to complete a task, write a paper, connect with friends and family, find a recipe, etc. There are times where I am finding a movie, or relaxing on Pinterest, but I am not what I would consider addicted. I can survive happily without my devices, and I have many other options to entertain and enjoy.

Photo By Jonathan Velasquez

I wasn’t always this way. There was a time not so long ago when my day was propelled from one place to the next by the constant motion of devices and technology – whether I was checking my Facebook first thing in the morning, sitting at my computer aimlessly shopping during my free time, or checking my work e-mail throughout the evening. There was always a device in control. Today, I am in control of my technology. I practice contemplative computing.

Contemplative computing refers to “the use of technology to improve concentration and flow in a world where technology often interrupts concentration and inhibits flow.” Alex Pang considers contemplative computing to be a self-fulfilled process. It’s something we learn to do until it becomes habit. In our technology-driven world, it doesn’t always come naturally. People must avoid distraction addiction – the feeling of need to be constantly entertained or ‘distracted’ by our technology.

Distraction addiction and contemplative computing are becoming popular topics in the world of research. My next two blog posts will examine two articles in this area published in 2014. In the first article, Developing Habits with Social Media: Theorizing the Cycle of Overuse and Taking Breaks, Sarita Schoenbeck examines how distraction addiction has reached such a level that people tend to feel overwhelmed and incapable of controlling their impulses for technology – therefore they must take long-standing self-enforced breaks. The author of this article examines the reason behind this. My second article, Technology Distraction and the learning Environment by Andy Griffin examines the impact technology is having on our learning environments and how educators should respond.

I hope you return to view these articles and perhaps begin your own journey with contemplative computing if you haven’t already done so.

How Social Media has Changed Activism – A look at the benefits of online collective activism

by Heather Kallevig

Image from the-platform.org.uk

One of the greatest problems historically hounding Nonprofits has been marketing. How can an organization with very little funds and a meager budget ever hope to effectively advertise? Traditionally methods included word of mouth, fliers, conventional media – radio, TV, newspapers, etc. These past techniques required a great deal of legwork and hours to maintain. They often required funds, which could be controversial. Many frowned upon a company, whose sole purpose is to raise money toward a cause, using any of those donated funds to advertise. These were difficult days for our idealist world-changers.

Today, thanks to the social Internet, information and communication technologies (ICTs), nonprofits are discovering new techniques and opportunities for voicing their cause. These new technologies are transforming the ways people interact and share information online. Social technology in the form of social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and content-sharing websites (Youtube, Vimeo, Flickr) are the new platforms for online collective activism. Nonprofits can effectively use these platforms to reach vast numbers of people using e-word of mouth through likes, sharing, comments, e-mail, etc. Information sharing that used to take work for all involved, from the creators, to the sharers, to the receivers, is now as easy as the click of a mouse and a few short words – maybe even 140 characters.

Activism on the technology level is faster and easier than ever before, allowing more people to get involved, and increasing the spread of ideas to a rapidity never before witnessed. For nonprofits this is beneficial. The recent icebucket challenge by the ALS association is a great example. A seemingly silly idea went viral and everyone from children to celebrities was getting involved, either donating and/or letting someone drop an ice-cold bucket of water over their head. I myself was a participant.

Videos, pictures, stories, and events can be used to rapidly gain the attention of millions. Hope for Paws, a small animal rescue in Los Angeles, California gained national attention when their happy ending videos went viral. This small organization has gained much-needed funds and become a sort of mentor for other similar organizations. Here’s a video of one of their rescues.

Social media can also be used to raise awareness and gain support. According to Stacy Grau in her book, Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations, Water.org uses social media to raise awareness, raise funds, and enable participation by allowing interested parties to follow a project from start to finish. This encourages interest, donation, and participation.  Little do people know this organization was actually co-founded by Matt Damon.

If a small organization wants to increase their online presence, there are a few small things they can do. First, they can easily maintain a website through wordpress or weebly. Second, hire or engage a volunteer to maintain their various social media platforms. Maintaining an online presence does require regular interaction and frequent posts, so this is where volunteers and the online collective activism can be utilized. Finding supporters to maintain Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube content is essential. The webpage is equally important. If an organization has the funds and spread they can hire a social media manager for $400-800 a month depending on their requirements.

The social Internet can help nonprofits grow by increasing awareness and knowledge. Thanks to the advent of social media, nonprofit marketing is reaching new levels, allowing the opportunity for growth never seen before. They can reach out to people who may not have been in their circuit with traditional activism. It will be interesting to see how this impacts organizations over the next few years as they create, maintain, and grow their online presence.


Grau, S. (2014). Marketing for nonprofit organizations: Insights and innovation. Chicago, Ill.: Lyceum Books.

Lee, Y., & Hsieh, G. (2013). Does Slacktivism Hurt Activism: The effects of moral balancing and consistency in online activism. CHI 2013: Changing Perspectives, Paris, France, Crowds and Activism.

Yuce, S., Agarwal, Wigand, Lim, & Robinson. (2014). Studying the Evolution of Online Collective Action: Saudi Arabia Women’s ‘Oct26Driving’ Twitter Campaign.