RDU Baton

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in an Instagram project called RDU Baton(@), which allows user to log into their account and post images of things that make the Triangle great and tell the stories of differing perspectives from the area. I got on the waiting list to hold the baton back in 2014 and was pleasantly surprised when I received word that it was my turn. As I will be leaving the Triangle to move to Boone, NC in January, I took the opportunity to really enjoy the day and some of my favorite aspects of living in Raleigh-Durham.

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RDUBaton takes its inspiration from NYCBaton by aiming to highlight the lives of people residing in the area and promote the uniqueness of the locale. Many users post photos of their favorite businesses, restaurants and music venues. Others choose picturesque spots or personalize their posts by sharing what brought them to the area and where they work. I ran the gamut posting food, personal quips, a local musem, and my favorite beer of the moment. Take a look at my images as well as my commentary:

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“Morning! And happy Tuesday! My name is Ashley and I’ll be taking you on a journey for the day through the Triangle. Today I’m off from work(thank goodness for days off!) and I’ve got a couple of fun things planned. I’ve lived in the Triangle for 10 years this year(originally from Louisiana), and I’m moving away from RDU in January. Today I hope to include a few of my favorite things about the Raleigh/Durham area. This is my favorite way to start the day–practicing guitar with a cup of coffee. I love music and have played guitar for most of my life. The triangle has a pretty cool music scene with a wide range of styles. I especially love the jazz scene and I like to sing and play jazz music on the guitar. Photo by @ashnwarren

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“Hiking is one of my favorite ways to get the blood flowing. Lake Johnson is a little Raleigh gem and is conveniently located to Raleigh/Cary. Offering walking and hiking trails and boat rentals it’s a nice escape and for water lovers definitely a spot to enjoy the peacefulness that sitting near a body of water can bring. My favorite place to exert energy and find reflection.

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“Two words: Korean. Barbecue. While I’ve lived in Raleigh for the last year, I spent the 9 years before that in Durham, and thus, I’m a true Durhamite at heart. One thing I love about the Triangle is the food. Being a native New Orleanian, food and the enjoyment thereof is a built in part of my personality. The food in Durham and Raleigh continues to blow me away with its invention and delectability. This was my first visit to the Ko Kyu food truck’s physical location Na’mean, and it did not disappoint. It was the most delicious and unattractive thing(super messy) that’s happened to me in a while 😉

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“So we’ve already established that I’m a coffee drinker… and my favorite coffee shop is far and away Bean Traders. I’ve been a regular here for 7 years and have watched Dave & Christy grow and expand their business into the bustling coffee and pie shop that it is today. I religiously buy their beans and their cold brew iced coffee. If you need a good pull of espresso, visit@beantraders and have Dave(pictured) set you straight. This is the #1 place I’ll miss in the Triangle.”

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“Do you know where I am? Just got done viewing the two big exhibits in town: The Worlds of M.C. Escher and Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester. Escher has been a favorite of mine since childhood and seeing his works in person was awe-inspiring. His ability to depict the macro and microcosm in one composition(lots of getting close up and then stepping back to view each piece as a whole) makes him both an artist and impressive draftsman. My favorite piece is “Three Worlds”… The accompanying inscription’s insight that “Escher looked at the world around him, in particular the way reflective surfaces serve as intersections between different realms” aptly describes his ability to bridge the realm of reality and that of the imagination–the ideal. Da Vinci was a busy guy. Check out both exhibits while they’re still here! #arthistorynerd

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“Coffee…music…food…art… Any discussion about the best of the triangle wouldn’t be complete without craft beer. The Hidden Pipeline Porter from@raleighbrewing has become one of my favorite porters(normally a hoppy girl, myself). Raleigh Brewing Co. offers a great selection of craft brews and rotating seasonals that continue to develop. The brewery itself is also one of my favorite spots to hang and reminiscent of Fullsteam in Durm with its outdoor seating, food trucks and dog-friendly atmosphere. I’m enjoying one of these brews on the sofa tonight 😉 and while you can get this beer from the brew pub it can also be found at total wine and some groceries around town.”

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“Well, it’s been a lovely day and I’ve had fun showing you some of my favorite parts of Raleigh and Durham. I’ll be posting my “B-side” photos from today tomorrow on my personal page. Hope you’ve all had a great day as well! Au revoir!”

I really learned a lot about social media and content from this experience and exactly what viewers WANT to see. For example, people LOVE food porn and my image from Na’mean instantly got <3’s, comments and users tagging their friends. My image from the NCMA also caught a lot of eyes from the varied angle and new perspective of something we’ve all seen and know well(glad that there’s still love for artsy shots!). On the contrary, my first image got the least amount of likes leading me to believe that morning traffic was down and the social media distraction of the afternoon doesn’t hit until lunchtime(or the energy slump afterwards).

It was fun feeling like a minor celebrity for a day with a large Instagram audience and I’m grateful to have participated in this project, which I will continue to follow even as head for the hills! If you’re interested in learning more, follow the project online @ or visit their website.

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