Tommy Ellis enlightens us on how he maintains the traditional heritage of hunting while incorporating social media and technology to keep him connected. For him, this combination works harmoniously and helps him get the best out of both worlds. The outdoors is about traditions and passing them along, I have believed this since I started hunting and fishing as a kid tagging along with my Grandpa fishing. He would drive down to the pond in his green and black Studebaker truck to show me how to catch bluegill. To find out what was happening in the area we went to the general store down the road to talk to local farmers. The original version of social media, you asked friends when you saw them. Today it is important to keep traditions alive in our more modern world where technology is such a big part of many peoples‘ lives. I am a tech lover, laptop, smartphone, things to gather and pass along information. This is how I happily combine the two. Social media, including blogs, have become a great way to stay in touch, meet people and pass along our knowledge to others, especially kids that were born into technology. I find social media has some of the best sources of conversations, products and contacts you could ever find. I talk daily with people all over the world, mainly through Twitter, some as friends, others as outdoors folks or business. Social media has changed how many of us stay in touch. I started using social media out of curiosity now I‘m hooked. There are several sites to choose from but I went with the fast pace and cleaner timeline of Twitter. I found ways to locate like minded folks and in less than a year have met so many good people it still amazes me. Friends pass along your tweets to their friends, support blogs and sponsors, you might even get invited to visit them to join in an activity where you would never have the chance on your own. Rarely does a week go by that I’m not invited to someone’s home, I just received 3 invitations to 3 different states, Texas, Indiana and Georgia. The different formats of social sites or blogs will let you choose which suits your style best. But no matter where you go remember two words, “Social Media”. If you don’t interact with people most will simply ignore you which isn‘t much fun. Talk to folks and you will be amazed at how much information and just plain friendship will come your way. Through Twitter I was invited to be in a documentary this year showing hunters that use social media to stay in touch even in the stand.  Who knows you might be on next years’ list of hunters invited just for being social. This type of thing helps encourage me to continue in the outdoor community as a whole. I am trying to not only enjoy it for myself but to help others become involved or more involved than they are. After I lost my brother, who was my hunting partner, last year my friends online kept me going through rough times. Now that I am hunting alone they still help drive what I do by offering support and encouragement when I need it most. The other part of that is new people getting into our outdoor lifestyle coming to those of us they see talking about what we do and asking questions. I love to pass along information to new people and watch as they learn to enjoy what we grew up with. As much as I like doing it myself I am now at a point I want to get others involved even more. This keeps me learning, eager to help and I get to see things through the eyes of people that may have never been camping, fishing or hiking in their life. Social media allows me to share information to those new people in an instant. As we share a successful hunt, good fishing trip or nice hike the responses you get will keep you excited. Friends from across the world add pictures or stories that make you want to get out and enjoy our world. It is their enthusiasm and friendship makes it easy to remain thrilled at what I do which I would never have if not for technology and social media