Vicki McLeod, Beda Martin and Rebecca Coleman visit a summer market. (Contributed)

Untrending: A missed opportunity

It’s summertime and people are traveling all over the province.

There is nothing I love quite as much as a summer road trip.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the City of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. A family celebration was planned, so I took a couple of extra days on either end of the event to holiday and play tourist.

Naturally, I posted about my journey across the Salish Sea on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Almost immediately, new followers appeared, and a couple of local businesses took the time to tag and welcome me to the island.

My friend and colleague, Rebecca Coleman was also island-side, so we planned to meet up at a farmer’s market on a sunny morning. The market, which I had visited several years ago was smaller than I remembered with fewer vendors competing for attention. Still, it offered all the basics: fresh produce and eggs, baked goods, a variety of crafters and some live music to add atmosphere.

It was a beautiful day and my mother Coleman and I happily wandered the stalls, chatting with vendors and planning our lunch.

I’ve written about Coleman before. She teaches social media at BCIT and UBC and is a well-known B.C. food blogger and the author of the cookbook Aquafabulous (Robert Rose 2016). She has a devoted online following. Her followers trust her and seek her out for advice and recommendations on all things social media and food related. She’s got influence, and in the online world, she’s got real game.

Coleman is spending the summer exploring her own backyard, visiting places in B.C. and writing or vlogging about them.

During our market visit, one of the vendors asked Coleman not to take pictures of her, or her product. Of course, the vendor couldn’t know who Coleman is, or why she was taking photographs. She simply saw somebody, a tourist, pointing a rather high-quality camera her way. It’s absolutely the vendor’s right to decline photographs, and Coleman respectfully pointed her camera elsewhere. But what a missed opportunity.

It’s summertime and people are traveling all over the province. They are looking for family activities, places to eat, and places to shop. They are using smartphones and iPads. Savvy tourists find and follow interest-based hashtags and geotags and check out the feeds and recommendations of local influencers.

By contrast, another vendor, the Island Chai Guy, was delighted by our visit to his stall, posed for an Instagram story and offered us tasting samples of his product. Shortly after we tagged and posted, he reached out via private message and offered to send us product samples. A very generous box full arrived on my doorstep in Maple Ridge a few days later.

This isn’t to say that businesses need to send free samples out to anyone who points a smartphone or camera their way. It is to say that businesses can take advantage of the opportunities to have products and services amplified by active social media users, especially during the summer tourist months.

If someone points a camera at you, find out why.

Meanwhile, enjoy your summer rambles.

Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her at vickimcleod.com.

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows fire chief retires

Don Jolley bows out amid city hiring two full-time firefighters.

Golden Ears Writers present holiday tales

The Golden Ears Writers are performing a holiday reading at The ACT on Dec. 18.

Letter: ‘MRSS wrestling saved me’

Alumni asks school board to reconsider decision on Mount Crescent.

Maple Ridge dancers prepare to perform in downtown Vancouver

Amelia and Hannah-Jane Clutchey are dancing in the upcoming production of “Mixed Nuts.”

Families come out for Christmas in Pitt Meadows

Community celebration moved indoors this year, crowds approve

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read