The Fit Equestrian

Lauren Mahr is currently a University of Delaware sophomore student, NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer, a member of the University of Delaware Equestrian Team, and the founder of The Fit Equestrian. The Fit Equestrian consists of workout programs and meal suggestions for horseback riders and workout lovers alike. The fitness programs range from beginner to advanced, and are available online for purchase. Lauren runs The Fit Equestrian Instagram account, website, and newsletter. The Instagram account consists of workout examples and videos, recipes, and general health tips. She currently has over 3,000 followers on Instagram, so, as one of them, I wanted to hear from her to see how she manages to connect with them and keep them coming back for more.

What inspired you to the start The Fit Equestrian?

I was inspired to start The Fit Equestrian because it combines both of my passions, riding and exercise. I knew that fitness was something that was definitely missing in the equestrian world and I want to fix that! We always talk about how riding is just as much of a sport as any other, but we don’t really treat ourselves like athletes.

What factors went into creating your online presence?

I knew that social media would be the best way to try to grow my business. For my target audience, I knew that Instagram would be most effective because I think it is more popular than Facebook or Twitter right now. Growing my following on Instagram will help draw people to my website through the link in my bio.

Do you prefer communicating with your followers/clients more through Instagram or your newsletter?

I just started my newsletter, so I haven’t had much experience with that, but I do like communicating with my followers and clients through Instagram. I anticipate that my newsletter won’t be as interactive as Instagram is. So far I have only sent one email to the people subscribed to my newsletter, thanking them for subscribing, and have not had any responses, but I did not expect to receive any responses.

How is it different when writing your workout programs from writing the general content for your website and Instagram?

When I write my workout programs it is pretty similar to the workout posts that I do on my Instagram but pretty different than most of my other posts on my Instagram. I definitely put more effort and thought into my website and workout programs than I do with my Instagram.

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To check out Lauren’s website click here. To check out her Instagram page click here.

Writing as a Social Action

I thought a lot about this assignment, but for a while I was not sure where to start. I personally never comment on public posts because I don’t like getting involved in internet conversations with people I do not know or about any hot-button issues. However, for this assignment I knew that I wanted to comment on an exchange that was relevant on social media in order to try something new, but I just didn’t know what exactly to comment on. I planned on using either Twitter or Facebook, so I decided to do some more searching to see what was trending on those sites.

None of the trending topics were anything that I wanted to publicly comment on or get involved in; therefore, I decided to comment on a post a friend wrote on Facebook. She shared a link to an article from Total Frat Move (red flag right there) called “50 Ways To Be The Perfect College Girlfriend”. She wrote about how disgusting and shameful the article is and how it makes our generation look bad. She was right. The article was completely misogynistic and upsetting to read. I hope it’s a joke, but even if it is it is not funny, at all. A lot of people were commenting on her post in agreement with her. I decided to join in on the conversation (posted below) because it was something I had an opinion about and felt comfortable discussing.

I left a comment in agreement with her about how shameful the article is, and she liked the comment. Lots of other people left similar comments as well, and a majority of them are friends we have in common from our sorority. An advisor of our sorority, that we both work closely with, commented on the post about how proud and lucky we made her feel that we did not agree with what that article stated and would not adhere to that author’s standards of being “the perfect college girlfriend”. Everyone that commented on the post left some variation of the same opinion, so there were not any contrasting thoughts that made it more complex, but it was refreshing to read that no one was taking this horrible article as something factual.

However, the most interesting response to the article was another article. Another friend left a comment on the post to a link of a different article called “50 Ways To Be The Perfect College Boyfriend”. That article was written as a satirical response to the original article. I think that was an interesting form of writing as a social action. While my comment was just on one person’s personal Facebook post, “50 Ways To Be The Perfect College Boyfriend” has been shared 8.4k times and shows just how unacceptable the original article is. Whether or not those 8.4k shares were all shared in agreement with each other will be unknown, but it is evident that people feel a duty to discuss the issues these “50 Ways” articles bring to light. 

**I deleted people’s pictures and names from the pictures below to respect their privacy.

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Behind the Screen Bullies

Ronson and boyd dissect the same subject, but they take different approaches of doing so. They both focus on how technology affects and enhances the publicity of negatively treating others. Ronson discusses shaming and boyd discusses bullying. Bullying is a stepping stone on the way to shaming. As we discussed in class, bullying tends to be a more “private” form of harassment usually done by one specific person. Shaming is harassment done in a very public forum, and can be done by anyone with access to the situation – whether they know the person being shamed or not.

Ronson and boyd both explain how technology plays a major role in shaming and bullying. Shaming and bullying have been around for ages, as Ronson proves with a brief history anecdote, but are now becoming more public in a different light due to technology. The internet and social media have created numerous ways for shamers and bullies to harass people, and for others to join in on the bashing. Ronson highlights online shaming done to adults, but boyd proves online bullying happens with teens as well.
It is interesting to think about how technology has affected this issue – from the publicity of it to the amount of people participating in it. When I think about stories such as Justine Sacco’s, I wonder why so many people felt it was their job to publicly shame and harass her. Of course she tweeted an insensitive comment, but the lengths that people behind their screens went to to punish her is concerning. We all make mistakes, even though they may not be that public or extreme, so when did we decide to publicly humiliate and shame one another for those mistakes to this degree? Online shaming and bullying has gone from more than just attacking the person for their mistake. It turns into attacking their character and values, and destroying their life piece by piece. Most of the people Ronson highlighted lost their jobs due to the amount of public shaming they received. While I do not condone the mistakes of the people boyd and Ronson highlight, I also do not think that the level of bullying and shaming (or any of it for that matter) people have taken up are okay either. It is a complex issue with lots of layers; but, I think that Ronson and boyd have both written interesting and entertaining books that peel away at those layers in order to help us understand the connections between bullying and shaming and technology.

To Use Video, or Not to Use Video?

When working with video, there were a couple things I realized I could do with it that I couldn’t do with written text. The first thing, and the most obvious, is that you can speak and use sound. This helps the viewers understand the tone, mood, and message more clearly than if they were reading the same dialogue as written text. For example, humor can be hard to pick up on when you’re reading, but it something very obvious when used in video (whether from an actor or voiceover). James and Alex both used humor in their videos, and it was easy to pick up on and enjoy. However, if I was reading what they were saying, I’m not sure if I would have had the same reaction. Another thing you can do with video is include pictures/images to support your point. While you can have pictures in text, the effect in a video is different. Showing pictures with a voiceover attached or having them pop up in the corner while an actor is speaking creates a different reaction than putting a picture next to the text in a written work. Visually seeing an image and hearing dialogue helps portray the feelings and emotions the creator of the video wants you to feel or understand. In Jessica’s video, pictures, along with video clips, are used to help viewers understand the power and relevance behind the concept she is speaking about. This covers an area that cannot be achieved in a written work.

While there are a lot of aspects of working with video that can support your point, there are also some that make it more difficult. Personally, I had a hard time conveying my message in video format, especially with a time constraint. I find it a lot easier to write about my thoughts rather than speak about them. I feel that there is a lot more power behind my written words than there is behind my spoken ones. It is also easier to edit when you write something. Every time I messed something up while creating my voiceover, I had to go back and start all over again. Additionally, editing the video drove me crazy. If being a digital native means I’m supposed to be good at this sort of stuff, I am definitely not a digital native. Editing took me a long time to complete, and when I finished I was still not satisfied with it. Video editing is a tough skill to perfect. Since I don’t have that skill, I feel like it took away from my concept because the video was not as great as it could have been.

Concept in 60

Here is a link to my Concept in 60 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAAF671rcfc about why I, and everyone else that participates in UDance, dance!

My roommate told me I’m a “boring” narrator (unfortunately, she’s right) so here is what I’m saying in the video if you rather take over the narrator role yourself.  🙂

It’s time for the  best day of the school year.

It’s time to get to the Bob.

It’s time to dance.

For the next 12 hours we dance through our sore muscles and aching feet. We cut our hair, and we jump around and dance like fools. But it’s all for the kids.

Every school day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer. That’s 46 too many. It’s why I participate in UDance, the 12 hour dance marathon held at UD, so that one day soon, no child will have to hear those words.

I dance for 12 hours straight to raise awareness and funds for children and their families that are battling childhood cancer. I dance to support the Andrew McDonough B Positive Foundation. I dance for the kids. I dance for the 1.89 million dollars  we Univeristy of Delaware students raised to find a cure. I dance today to give the kids a tomorrow.
For a smile, for a life, for a cure. Why do you UDance?

There is always more than meets the eye

What you post on digital media is what you become defined as. People plan and perfect what they post in order to manipulate their perception. We only post what we want people to see. However, nothing in the digital media is ever truly private so sometimes things fall between the cracks, despite the privacy settings we choose to use. So, that private Facebook photo from last Friday night you only shared with your friends might end up being seen by your employer, even though you selected certain privacy settings — and that photo was probably the complete opposite of the perception you were trying to convey to your employer on LinkedIn. Chapter one of It’s Complicated by dana boyd begins with a story explaining how our identities can be perceived differently online. A student from a bad area in Los Angeles wrote an extraordinary college essay for an Ivy League university about how he wanted to escape the gangs in his community and focus on his education. The admissions officers loved it, but decided to search him on the web in order to learn more about him. They came across his MySpace page, covered in gang symbolism and relations, and reached out to dana boyd for some answers.

They were curious as to why a student would lie about wanting to escape gangs to attend an esteemed university when his entire MySpace profile proved that he was still gang-involved. I was thinking the same thing. I thought about how dumb it was for him to post that kind of stuff when everyone knows that nothing on social media is ever private anymore. The first thing people tell you when you apply for a job or school is to not post anything provocative or stupid. It’s the basics! Then, as I read dana boyd’s reply and thoughts, my entire opinion changed and my mind was opened up to a whole new point of view. boyd replied with, “Perhaps this young man is simply including gang signals on his MySpace profile as a survival technique” (boyd, 29). I suddenly had a realization. This student was still manipulating his posts based on how he wanted to be perceived, but he was doing it to protect himself in order to avoid becoming a gang target. I have never had to use social media as a defense or survival mechanism, and wasn’t aware of those costs. This passage was eye-opening for me because I realized that what people post, even when they do it strategically, never tells their whole story. The digital media represents one side of things, and makes it difficult for us to see past it. I found this video on YouTube and I think it exemplifies how much thought people truly put into their social media posts in order to be perceived a certain way. While it is supposed to be funny and not very meaningful, it still shows how only half of the story is shown online. When you look at someone’s profile online, you don’t see how they rearranged their desk for an artistic photo or how they created their post-workout photo even when they didn’t go to the gym. The digital media represents one side of things, and makes it difficult for us to see past that side. I think this is something extremely important to remember as we continue to use the digital media personally, academically, and professionally. There is always more than meets the eye.

We Aren’t the Problem, Technology is

The title of this blog post is a thought that was subconsciously going through my mind while reading The Shallows. The loss of our concentration, our focus, and our ability to hold face to face interactions all stem from an increased use of technology, as Carr intricately laid out for us throughout the book. Nothing was ever made to seem like it was our fault. We just fell victim to the technological revolution. However, chapter seven made me deeply question the reality of the situation. The chapter goes into more depth about our need for instant gratification, how social media can lead to self-consciousness, and how people can barely resist the urge to use technology.

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A free photo taken from Wikipedia Commons to demonstrate the importance of choosing what to pay attention to and how that affects what we think about.  

As I read through the chapter, I began to question whether or not technology is really the cause of all of these problems or whether it is just the fuel to the fire. I think people have always been self-conscious, craving gratification, and feeling a desire to be constantly connected. The difference is that now through technology we have a way to reveal those issues without judgment, because it is apparent that others feel this way too, while in the past we did not. I am starting to believe that technology is not the problem, but the way we choose to use it is. It is within our own personal power to resist the pull of technology, to set our phones down at the dinner table, to be comfortable enough in our own bodies that we don’t define ourselves by how many likes our Instagram pictures get. 

I feel that maybe Carr does not touch on that outlook very often until the further chapters. In chapter eight he includes a quote by novelist, David Foster Wallace: “Learning how to think’ really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.” So maybe technology is not the problem, but the way that we think is. It can be concluded from Wallace’s quote that if we consciously think about how technology is affecting us, we can choose to let it have less control over us. Since our education, careers, and social lives are wrapped up in technology this may be difficult to do; however, just exercising the slightest bit of resistance to technology can help us find the technological relief we are looking for. I think this would have been an important quote for Carr to include at the beginning of the book rather than the end, so that readers can keep an open mind on the subject, but I also think it would have been damaging to the argument he presented in the first half of it as well.