Author Archives: Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Writer. Hiker. Word nerd. Outdoor explorer. Yogi. At home chef. Social media & marketing communicator. Recent RRU communications MA grad. Writing about social media, cooking and the outdoors in northern BC, Canada. Blogging at and

The public vs. private balancing act on social media

I recently attended a CPRS workshop where the presenter, a man with many hats (including husband/dad, Prince George councilor, tech & innovation ambassador, UNBC staffer), talked about his experiences with social media. He’s involved in many different fields and arenas, but uses social media with what he calls the “Wide Open” approach.

20131124publicvsprivateIt got me thinking about my approach to social media and the balance between public and private. Similarly, I wear many “hats” – social media specialist/consultant, tourism blogger, government health staffer… some of these roles put me (and my chosen SM profiles) more out in the public sphere, and some of these roles dictate that I need to be careful about what I say.

So how do you determine what goes public and what doesn’t? It really comes down to how you want your public “brand” (and yes, if you blog/tweet/FB/video etc publicly, you have a “brand”) to be portrayed to someone who doesn’t know you.

I recently saw an article on Mashable about balancing personal and professional lives on Twitter. It has some really good tips for how to approach the public/private dichotomy of Twitter (e.g. “accept that Twitter is public” and “avoid sensitive topics”).

Here is my own list of tips and things to consider about the overlap of public and private on social media:

    1. Use your Facebook privacy settings. A lot of people don’t know how to set this up properly, but it’s definitely worth learning. I have several groups categorized on my Facebook (e.g. Friends, Acquaintances, Family, etc.), so not everything I pot goes out public. Some is for my friends list, some is for “friends but not acquaintances.” Still, though, I realize there could potentially be flaws in the system, and I never post anything (even to my close friends list) that would be damaging (to myself or others) if it went public.
    2. Never post anything negative/accusatory/passive aggressive/ranty. When you get bad customer services, or someone upsets you, it’s so easy to automatically turn to social media and tweet/post something negative about whoever wronged you. I strongly advise against this. Not only do you bring other people’s days down with you, but you risk turning people “off” you and sending them to the nearest unfollow button. You don’t want people associating you with negativity do you?
    3. Use some common sense. Are there things that should be in a “no fly zone” due to your day-to-day job or situation? Have respect for that. Also respect the people around you. Maybe your wife/husband or mom/dad doesn’t want you posting about them. Listen to that. And don’t create conversations around extremely sensitive issues as it may create an online argument (unless your brand is to be a bit of a sh*t disturber!).
    4. Set your own rules. There are not many rights and wrongs in social media. Take some time to find your own voice, determine what you want people to know and what’s best left private. I know some people who will never post a picture of their child online; others nearly spam us with their kid pics. Some people won’t talk about work; some use their personal accounts to only talk about their industry. What works for you?
    5. Don’t take yourself so seriously. This is in the Mashable article I linked to above, but it’s also something I always say when presenting to groups or helping people with their SM strategies. Sure, it’s public, but it’s only social media. If you mess up, apologize, crack a joke and move on. Someone else will be in the spotlight tomorrow. It’s fun, people! And learning is half of that fun.

Do you have any other tips?

Best parks in Prince George in fall

Cottonwood Island Park

Cottonwood Island Park in Prince George.

When October arrives in the north, I’ve said my goodbyes to summer and am ready and waiting for fall to arrive with its usual burst of colour and crisp, clean air. Prince George is a city that celebrates four distinct seasons and this year has been no exception with fall’s flourish of red, yellow and orange foliage and deep blue skies on most days.

Read my full post on Destination BC’s Explore BC blog…

Read more on Explore BC

Flyfishing on the Stellako River in Northern BC

Stellako River

Stellako River

The prospect of settling into the river eight hours away from being able to get out again was slightly intimidating, but the idea of “being one” with my pontoon boat, far away from any town and simply drifting with the flowing water was too good to pass up. Read more on the Explore BC blog from Destination BC…

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 7.09.20 AMRead more on Explore BC…

Days 9-14: Quinn Epic Oregon Adventure

I just know that you’ve been anxiously waiting for the conclusion of my Epic Oregon Adventure, which took place last month, and I want you to wait no more! You can find Days 1-5 here and Days 6-8 here. If you want to see all the photos and more stories for Days 9-14, visit my Facebook album here.

The vast, vast Dunes

The vast, vast Dunes

Day 9: We woke up at Cape Blanco State Park to sunshine after a day in the fog, and promptly headed to our next stop at Jessie M. Honeyman State Park, in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, excited to see the Dooooones! After getting our spot, we went to one of the tourist trap, er, activity areas to book a dune buggy and driver for that afternoon. We booked one that holds four passengers and is driven by a driver with years of experience. If you want a true experience and a wild ride, definitely do this, and don’t simply hop on on the large 20-30 passenger vehicles. The latter is slow and, well, touristy… our choice was fast, as obnoxious as a roller coaster (in a good way) and left us with sand in places no one should ever have sand. We laughed, screamed, held our breath and were left with a desperate need for a cold beer to wash that sand away. Such a rush! The campground that night was very full and loud — you could hear the dune buggies til late in the evening — and the bathroom facilities were a bit sparse, especially for the amount of people there.

The Dunes! Taken from the dune buggy - you can see a thin stretch of ocean in the distance.

The Dunes! Taken from the dune buggy – you can see a thin stretch of ocean in the distance.


I managed to fit some important hammock time in too.

I managed to fit some important hammock time in too.

Day 10: We spent nearly this full day driving the 3 hours to our next stop (Cape Lookout State Park) but stopping at tons of great attractions along the way. We toured through Florence, a very cute little town with shops along a boardwalk; stopped at the sea lion caves, which were unfortunately sans sea lions while we were there, but still neat to see the caves; tried to have lunch at the popular Brewer’s on the Bay brewery and eatery in Newport, but the wait was over an hour at 2pm on a Monday(!); visited the amazing Devil’s Punchbowl five miles south of Depoe Bay and ran around on the beach there before indulging in some local wine tastings and ice cream.

View of the Devil's Punchbowl from the top.

View of the Devil’s Punchbowl from the top.

View from inside the Devil's Punchbowl!

View from inside the Devil’s Punchbowl!

Finally, a half hour before the sun set, arrived at Cape Lookout State Park — by far, my favorite beach yet. We quickly parked the trucks, grabbed a couple beers and found a spot to sit on the beach and watch the amazing sunset, along with probably less than 20 other people. Later that night, we took in the amazing sky from the beach – it was so dark and the stars so bright and shooting across the sky. There was a lightning storm somewhere on the other side of the mountains, and although our sky was clear, it would light up every so often, making for quite a show. My husband and I just stood there looking up, holding hands in silence for awhile, both completely blown away by this special moment. I could have stayed there rooted in place forever.

Most amazing sunset at Cape Lookout State Park.

Most amazing sunset at Cape Lookout State Park.

Perfect sunset.

Perfect sunset.

Day 11: We said goodbye to our friends in the morning as they were heading back up to Vancouver and took a big walk on the beach (one of the longest stretches in Oregon, apparently).


The beach at Cape Lookout.

Seriously, one of the most amazing beaches anywhere!

Seriously, one of the most amazing beaches anywhere!

We took our time heading to one more Oregon campground before the end of this leg. We stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and enjoyed some cheddar cheese curds (yum!) and later wandered through Cannon Beach and Seaside — both super cute and probably worth a lot more time there — before eventually getting to Fort Stevens State Park, the home of an old military defense station and a fantastic beach that you can actually drive on (which we did, naturally)!

Enjoying the sunset on a beach you can drive right on to!

Enjoying the sunset on a beach you can drive right on to!

Days 12 – 14: Day 12 saw us turning our truck towards our final destination. The last few days were mainly days of driving, bypassing the major cities and closing the gap to Canada. We spent our final night in the US (day 12) at the KOA in Ellensburg, WA, which was actually quite nice – very quiet and right on the Yakima River. The only stop of note was in Cashmere, WA where we wandered around and found ourselves at a factory for aplets and cotlets. I had no idea what these were but had to find out – and was deliciously surprised at the Turkish delight-type treat, filled with apples (aplets) or apricots (cotlets) and walnuts. If you find yourself in Cashmere, go there! You can even have a factory tour, and lots of free samples! After this, we made our way without a problem through the border crossing into Osoyoos, BC, with our final stop being my grandma’s house in Kelowna (not without some more wine samples through the Okanagan first though… of course… :) ).


Campground on Yakima River in Ellensburg, WA


Welcome back to Canada! First stop, Burrowing Owl Winery :)

19 Facebook Etiquette Rules for Business

It’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of “noise” out there about the do’s and don’ts of social media. It can be tough to sift through to find what’s really of value. I came across this great list of etiquette rules for Facebook from Top Dog Social Media, and it’s as true for business as it is for the general user. It’s a great mix of respect, sense and just plain old being yourself! And it takes tips from some of my faves in the SM world, including Mari Smith and Melonie Dodaro.

Facebook Etiquette Rules