Rockin’ Rural Wellness?

(Foreword: This post is primarily geared toward women because of the dominant demographic of Pinterest users and members of the Rockin’ Rural Women community. Men, please don’t be offended by this. If you’d like to join community-geared efforts toward wellness, feel free to hop in, share your thoughts, and join in any initiatives that take place following this 

One of my big goals for the second half of senior year is to take better care of myself. (Let me tell you, I hardly ever take good care of myself. The needs of others generally come first.) This will happen in a variety of ways. I want to work out more. I want to eat better. I want to decompress more easily when I need it. I want to develop a better relationship with myself.

One of the many changes I’ve made in my life lately has been an addiction to Pinterest. It isn’t intentional and it isn’t necessarily healthy, but it’s caused some interesting dialogue. My food-pinning habits were calling into question when there were more Jell-O shots than salads on my food board (at the time called “Edibles and Libations.”) Since then, I’ve split my food pinning habits up between Light and Tasty!, Sweet Treats, Rich Dishes, Breakfast…or Brinner…or Bunch, and Libations and Thirst-Quenchers. I also started a board called Health and Fitness that references inspirational quotes, lifestyle adaptations and simple workout ideas for the athletically-challenged.

Well, ladies, I can pin all I want to about fitness and eating right. How do we actually make it happen? Continue reading

#Agvodate, Cow Uteri, Fiberglass Chicken, Crow’s Feet, Vicodin

I’ve been out for the count most of the week. After a very hectic weekend, I didn’t feel up to organizing my thoughts into word form on Monday or Tuesday. Early Wednesday morning, I had a fun little trip to the E.R. that resulted in a strange combination of vicodin, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. I won’t give you all the details, but needless to say the last few days have been…interesting. Vicodin does weird things to the human brain.

So, instead of trying to collect the mushy, gooey, delirium-soaked mess of thoughts that have come across my mind in the last several days…I’ll just share some random tidbits. Continue reading

#Agvodate, Cow Uteri, Fiberglass Chicken, Crow’s Feet, Vicodin

I’ve been out for the count most of the week. After a very hectic weekend, I didn’t feel up to organizing my thoughts into word form on Monday or Tuesday. Early Wednesday morning, I had a fun little trip to the E.R. that resulted in a strange combination of vicodin, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. I won’t give you all the details, but needless to say the last few days have been…interesting. Vicodin does weird things to the human brain.

So, instead of trying to collect the mushy, gooey, delirium-soaked mess of thoughts that have come across my mind in the last several days…I’ll just share some random tidbits. Continue reading

#Agvodate, Cow Uteri, Fiberglass Chicken, Crow’s Feet, Vicodin

I’ve been out for the count most of the week. After a very hectic weekend, I didn’t feel up to organizing my thoughts into word form on Monday or Tuesday. Early Wednesday morning, I had a fun little trip to the E.R. that resulted in a strange combination of vicodin, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. I won’t give you all the details, but needless to say the last few days have been…interesting. Vicodin does weird things to the human brain.

So, instead of trying to collect the mushy, gooey, delirium-soaked mess of thoughts that have come across my mind in the last several days…I’ll just share some random tidbits. Continue reading

Social Media has caused some interesting “first experiences…”

2011 has been a year of firsts for me. When I think about those firsts, I realize that most of them happened because of social media. Before Twitter, I was a pretty sheltered little country girl. So here’s a list of “firsts” I had this year because of social media (italic text is added after publication, due to things I’ve forgotten and have been reminded of by friends):

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Country Folks Take Chicago By Storm

Tweetup: n. An organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter. (A meet up of people that ‘tweet’ using Twitter.) “Are you going to the “tweetup” tonight?”

That is the UrbanDictionary.com #1 definition of “tweetup.” When people who chillax on Twitter decide they want to be “real life” friends, they have a tweetup. I, personally, have a ton of really great friends from Twitter, many of which I’d had the distinct pleasure of meeting. A few of them frequent a community called #Agvodate, where folks chat weekly about rural dating. Until recently, I had met all of my #Agvodate friends through other occasions. I met Drew at the 2010 AgChat Foundation conference. I met Rosie, Marie and Ryan at the 2011 AgChat conference, and Jesse made an appearance in Nashville before the conference began. A few weeks ago, I met my friend Aaron for supper and a movie (The Muppets) halfway between our hometowns.

Up until Aaron, I had never met any of my #Agvodate friends just because of #Agvodate. This kind of opened a can of worms for me; I’m addicted to spending in-person time with social media friends. In many ways, these people click with me on a level that I hadn’t found often in my suburban college setting. We can find people across vast geographical differences that fit our personalities, interests, and ideologies. Continue reading

The Trouble with Blogging

I proudly consider myself a “blogger.” I have blogged for over three years now, and I [try to] do it consistently. A lot of folks have made comments in the past about how easy I make it look. Here’s, the thing, though: it’s not. I mean, it can be, if you approach it the right way. But, every now and then we hit patches in our blogging where it just doesn’t seem as fun or easy as it has in the past.

Don’t take this as me saying, “Blogging isn’t fun.” No, blogging is one of my favorite hobbies. Most days it come fairly naturally and enjoy the connections and new insights I’ve gained because of it. The more I think about it, though, the more it becomes clear that there really are nuances to this hobby that so many other people partake in alongside me. I’ll make a list. Continue reading

Why I Tell My Friends Not to Follow Me on Twitter

There are a lot of different types of Twitter users. There are voyeurs, the people who follow and follow but hardly ever tweet. There are shouters, the people who blast their opinions (often radical or one-sided) into the darkness expecting people to give a care (and trying to stir up the water). There are casual, occasional users, who tweet periodically and may or may not engage in conversation occasionally. There are chatterbugs (me) who tweet frequently and use Twitter as a conversation platform more than as a one-way stream.

More and more, people that I’ve known prior to my social media career have begun joining the ranks of the Twitter users.

This terrifies me.

For starters, most of these people know me, but don’t really “get” what I do. They know I work in social media and digital communications, and they know that I “like farmers.” (Their words. I’m not sure what it means to simply “like farmers” but I’ll agree that yes, I indeed enjoy working with and being surrounded by the agriculture community.) So, these folks join Twitter. They say something on Facebook along the lines of, “omg i cant believe i joined the twitters” or “Well, I drank the Kool-Aid. I’m now part of the Twitter cult.” They often treat it like some sort of sacrifice, then they go on a mission to hunt out other people that they know who use Twitter.

Thumbs up for farmers!

Recently, one of my close friends created a Twitter account. I saw it on Facebook, but didn’t follow right away. I knew what would happen if I did. He’d follow me back, he’d be fine with it for a few days (he’d probably send me a text message or a mention to tell me I’m an addict), then the first Tuesday night would come and he’d be horror-struck by the amount of #agvodate tweets he’d see.

So, we saw each other a few days after he created the account. He knows that I spend a lot of time on social media and that it’s a part of my various jobs. Our conversation went something like this (not verbatim):

Him: Oh, by the way, I created a Twitter.
Me: I saw. I didn’t follow you, though.
Him: Why? I tweet good stuff!
Me: Because you would have followed me back. Don’t follow me.
Him: ………why?
Me: Because you will hate me if you do.
Him: I don’t get it.
Me: I tweet non-stop and I participate in Twitter chats. _______ tried following me for a while even though I told him not to and he unfollowed me because I tweet too much. And most of it was about farmers…or trying to date farmers.
Him: Oh. Okay. Uh, good luck with that.

This is the face he would have given me after a few days of following me on Twitter.

I have a very conversational presence on Twitter. I send out tweets. If someone responds, I try to maintain a dialogue. Or, if I see a tweet worth responding to, I use it as a platform to lead into a conversation. A lot of it is either related to agriculture, marketing/communications, or rural development. These aren’t things that most of my peers from my everyday life (primarily, college and people I grew up with) care to hear about, especially in the volume with which I tweet about these things.

It’s been a very strange experience. Up until recently, I felt I led something of a double life; I had my Twitter world, and my “real life” world. People on Twitter tend to see a much more confident, outgoing, grounded side of me. The people who deal with me in person more regularly often see someone who has bouts of social awkwardness, occasionally bordering on shy. They also see someone who works hard, but have no real understanding of what I do or what drives me. These two worlds very, very rarely ever intersected, and now they’re becoming closer and closer.

Just the other night, I had a fun conversation via Twitter with someone from my hometown. She was in my FFA chapter in high school and we interacted a lot through 4-H despite being in different clubs. Now, we hardly ever talk. She’s attending Texas Tech for agricultural communications, and joined Twitter shortly after she started there. She randomly responded to a tweet I sent out, and we talked about meeting up and catching up over break. (Come to find out, we’ll be sitting on a panel together for an English class at our old high school.) We also talked about the fact that I need to visit Texas, because I have a ton of friends there and, as this specific friend said, “There are lots of attractive cowboys.”

But, the title to this post is mildly misleading.

I have a lot – a LOT – of friends that I met via social media, especially Twitter. Many of these people are like family to me. They happen to be another reason for my excessive tweeting. It’s easy to be chatty when you’re surrounded by people you love conversing with. So, I suppose a more fitting title for this blog post would be, “Why I Tell My Friends From College and High School Not to Follow Me on Twitter Unless They Like Farmers.”

That would have been getting a little too lengthy, though.

In other news…

I survived the term with decent grades, I think. They haven’t been posted yet, though, so I’m still sweating it until they do go online. I’m home on break, and the trip I had planned to Iowa and Minnesota has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m bummed about it, but I know that there will be more opportunities later on to do these sort of things.

Be sure to join us for #agvodate tonight, starting at 9 p.m. CST. We’ll be hosted by Natalie, who goes by @AgGirl86. Also, I’ll be tag-team hosting the Rockin’ Rural Women chat on Facebook and Twitter Thursday night, complete with some giveaways and awesomeness. My co-host will be Tara Litzenbrger, also known as @JohnDeereTara.

Life is hectic, yo.

Until the next time I eek out a blog post…peace out.

A “new look,” a “thank you,” and other stuff

Officially, as of today, KellyMRivard.com is now rocking a new autumn look! Since summer wheat has been gone in Illinois for months, I figured it was time to go to something a bit more seasonally appropriate. Since pumpkins are the #1 specialty crop in Illinois, and I’ve developed a newfound obsession around pumpkins, I decided that I wanted to highlight this great crop in my layout. (I even wrote a post about pumpkins recently!)

Speaking of pumpkins...Friday night, my sister and some of her friends had a pumpkin-carving extravaganza at my parents' place back home. My mom sent me this picture to show me the mediocre results. I'm glad they had fun, and my sister brought me some roasted pumpkin seeds as a treat!

Continue reading

All Work, No Play: The Birth of #Agvodate

Last August, I had the privilege of interning with the AgChat Foundation at their first ever Agvocacy 2.0 Conference. I met a lot of people who I had known for some time via social media. Digital friendships became even more real and tangible. I had the opportunity to get face time with folks who I considered friends, but had only known through Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds.

One of the inside jokes that grew and evolved as the conference went on was the idea of “Agvodate.” Founded from an invented word, “Agvocate” (meaning “agriculture advocate”), it became a running joke to talk about the official AgChat dating service, Agvodate. A small group of girls always talked about finding ways to organize it. However, we were all busy and all had a list of reasons why it wasn’t a priority.

A few weeks ago during the weekly Twitter discussion that started it all, #AgChat, I made a passing comment about having an #Agvodate chat afterward as a sort of “singles after-party.” I accidentally derailed the conversation momentarily, which I felt awful for. Then, low-and-behold, there was a strong presence on the #Agvodate Twitter stream after #AgChat completed.

Over 350 tweets later, and there is suddenly an official #Agvodate Facebook fan page and plans for a weekly Twitter discussion following #AgChat.

If you think scouting severe flood damage on agricultural land is a good evening out...you might need to join us for #Agvodate.

Why this? Why bother? Why, of all the things to do with my rare bits of spare time, start a dating community for farmers on Twitter and Facebook? It’s definitely not the first. There are paid agricultural dating websites. Kissing Gates is a common farmer dating site in the United Kingdom. Farmers Only is a dating site spread over North America. Why bother starting a new “community” based on a Facebook page and a Twitter chat?

For starters, it’s fun. It’s purely a goofy, enjoyable, volunteer project currently run by myself, Brooke Clay (blog, Twitter), Jesse Bussard (blog, Twitter), and Aaron Bobeck (Twitter). Graphics thus far are done by Brooke, and the four of us are trying to spread out administrative responsibilities as best we can. For me, it’s a nice mode of stress-relief. As quoted by Jack Nicholson, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, all work and no play makes Kelly go a little nuts.

If you consider shorts, a nice top, and work boots, suitable date attire, you might need to join us for #Agvodate.

Secondly, it’s free. Do I think anyone will get hitched because of it? Highly, highly unlikely. However, I think, with the innovative heads we have put together on this (both among the admins and other users) we can at least give it a try and enjoy it while it lasts. We can try our best to get all the single farm kids we know to come hang out. Even if nothing outstanding happens, we at least run the risk of meeting some new people and perhaps making new friends.

Since the initial chat, my life has gotten pretty hectic and I haven’t been as hands-on with #Agvodate as I’d like. Brooke has done a fantastic job of being a driving force behind the weekly Twitter chat. The community has begun talking about having a tweet-up at some agricultural conferences over the next year or so. It’s standing on its own two feet, thanks to the creativity and enthusiasm of the users.

With all that said, I finish with this: we all need to have a little fun. Whether it is through organizing communities on social media, or some other means for blowing off steam, fun is a valuable part of life. It’s a part that I’m prone to forget now and then.