#OutaboutNC As a founding member of #IGTRAVELThursday, I consider myself an old-timer. I’ve been part of Katja’s Skimbaco team since the summer of 2012. I remember tossing around the idea of #IGTRAVELThursday in our team meetings for months. The whole concept was built on the foundation of building a community around one single hashtag. and using this hashtag and instagram as a travel guide to the world.  We now have more than 28,000 pictures from all over the world, and in my opinion, the world seems so much more smaller now to explore. I have learned about so many places that I may would not have been on my radar before taking the time to connect with others. Honestly, it’s made me want to see the world.
  "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home & rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." - Lin Yutang When I was at TBDItaly with Katja last October, I started talking about my old, familiar pillow as mentioned in the above quote that I call “North Carolina” to people I met there. I told them about the waterfalls in Highlands, our majestic castle in Asheville, and the wild horses on the Outer Banks.  But, I didn’t stop there. I talked about our cuisine and our fabulous craft beer scene.  I had passion. I had a spark in my eye as I told these international people about my home state of North Carolina. The more I talked over pasta and wine, I fell even more in love with my wonderful, familiar pillow, also known as southern U.S destination with a great climate, and can give visitors the a view of the mountains and the coast in just a day’s drive.  When I got back to North Carolina, I kept hearing the k-i-s-s-i-n-g song in my head , but with different words, of course…”first came #IGTRAVELThursday then came community then comes baby in the baby carriage.” Baby?  Yeah, let’s have an #IGTRAVELThursday  baby.  And I’ll name it #outaboutnc.  This is an online travel guide to North Carolina, powered by its locals experts. It has the same guiding principles that Katja outlined in book about using Instagram as a travel guide, which eventually established our #IGTRAVELThursday community.   As I started talking about N.C. more, I realized that my social media accounts, including my involvement with #IGTRAVElThursday were aligned for me to showcase my travel, but I was hardly traveling. There was a lot of time where I was at home in North Carolina with kids just enjoying the local attractions and cuisine. However, my original “hotel and lifestyle audience” did not align well enough for me to showcase 90 percent North Carolina/local content and 10 percent other travel content.  It was best for me to build a fresh, new community who all love N.C. travel.    
  I started #outaboutnc on Jan. 25 and it’s been wonderful to get my N.C audience in one place on social media. I’ve met so many people since starting it and have learned so many new things about my state. I’m speaking at the N.C. Travel and Tourism Conference in Pinehurst this weekend on social media, and I cannot wait to share #outaboutnc with the travel and hospitality community in attendance. Since it’s inception, we now have 1,000 N.C. photos tagged. I love looking at the feed daily, and I thank all the bloggers and local N.C. residents who are helping this community grow.
  We are @OutaboutNC on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Be sure to check out our very first awesome trip giveaway to Asheville, N.C which includes a one-night Downton Abbey experience package at the DoubleTree Biltmore in Asheville. You can learn more and enter on HinesSightBlog.com

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