Welcome back to Owl Post, where I show you an easy way to become a bona fide Truckee/Tahoe citizen — by keeping up with local goings-on and taking action — big or small.
In the last two columns, I tackled local email newsletters. This time I swoop in with the somewhat controversial means of getting information — social media. The thought of social media alone can bring up so many different reactions and feelings. Does it bring about stress or anxiety? Overwhelm? Create FOMO? Or improve connection with friends and family? Does social media make you feel a part of a community? Or is it utilitarian —helping you to find out where and when to show up somewhere and leave it at that?
I approach social media with a sense of purpose. And a timer. Sort of. I use the app limit controls on my phone to restrict the amount of time I spend there. This all started with Covid. While everyone else seemed to be Marie Kondo-ing their homes, creating art, or baking bread, I was doomscrolling Facebook, and when that seemed too depressing, switched to TikTok to indulge in hours of cute cats, pranks, and the like. It didn’t take me long to realize I would rather be baking, reading, journaling, or meditating. Anything else but scrolling. So, I allow myself eight minutes a day on Facebook and seem to be able to moderate everything else to far fewer minutes. TikTok got deleted from my phone altogether.
I don’t have time for anything that isn’t enriching my day. And that means that I only have the best of the best in my recommendations below.
Before we get into what to follow, as always, I ask that you share what you find with the people in your life who would appreciate it. That’s part of being a good citizen and a good friend. I’m not talking about fake news! See that listing for the rental that went up moments ago from a friend of yours and you know the perfect tenant? Make that introduction right away!
If you’re only going to do one thing to keep up with local happenings on social media, this is it: Navigate to the events page on Facebook and scroll through the local events. You can search by location and date. This is a great place to make sure you don’t miss a big event — like a ski swap or concert. It’s also a place to discover smaller niche events, like e-foil lessons for first responders or wreath-making workshops. Also, find customer appreciation sales, coffee talk with local council members, trivia nights, job fairs, volunteer opportunities, open mics, workout classes and so much more. Get out and meet people in the community! Or create your own event and invite others. Every year, my husband and I borrow a big telescope from the Truckee library, set it up by the river, and invite the community out to ooh and ahh at Saturn’s rings (everyone says they look fake) and Jupiter’s moons.
What can you do?
Truckee Tahoe People (original)
If you’re in this Facebook group, I’m sure you have an opinion about it. With more than 29k members, it’s one of the largest local social media groups. From free stuff, stuff for sale, lost dogs, moving and garage sales, concert tickets, random ISO (in search of) posts, restaurant recommendations, home rentals, job listings, current conditions, and way too much more to list, this group has pretty much everything. I’ve seen many wonderful connections, but you may have to wade through unsavory comments, so read those at your own risk.
And, while you’re on there, remember to drop in a helpful comment or two.
Your town might have a Facebook group too. Incline Village has one, and so do other towns/neighborhoods, some of which are exclusive to people who live in that area.
Nextdoor can be a lot of things. Mostly, it’s lost pets, “my internet is down, is yours?,” canceled home insurance questions, snow plow service complaints, bears in my backyard, ring footage, and house cleaner requests. Did I miss anything? Just because it’s easy to predict what one might see on this platform doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Nextdoor is the place to be for hyperlocal information. You can connect with people on your street or in your HOA and all talk about that mama bear and three cubs who have been roaming the neighborhood and walking into open garages. Use it to work together and keep us safe — and our wildlife too.
CHP – Truckee
You might think that a Facebook page run by the California Highway Patrol would be just about the last place you’d want to visit online. Props to CHP – Truckee for creating an informative, creative, and funny page that has drawn more than 280k followers. Its Twitter account has similar content.
CHP does a great job of educating us on how to get around safely in all weather conditions. Many of the lessons come to us through photos of real accidents with explanations on what happened and why. They tactfully poke fun when the incidents are less serious. From their helpful infographics, get all the latest information on road closures, chain controls, and weather.
The Tahoe subreddit is the most active of all the subreddits for this area. It covers Truckee to South Lake Tahoe. Feast your eyes on photos of the area’s natural beauty; help out newcomers by answering questions; get news highlights for things like wildfires and lake cleanups; and find gems like how to make a box fan air filter when all we can see and think about is the AQI.
What’s important to you? There is probably a local group or account for that purpose. And if not, you can create one!
While social media can be a drag, if you’re careful about how you use it, it’s a great way to stay connected in our community. Do your part by answering questions, tagging friends, and making connections, all the while staying up to date on local conditions, news, and events. Did I miss your favorite social hangout? Want to argue against one of my recommendations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with Owl Post in the subject, and let me know.