Expressing myself is something that has always felt natural to me. So, when I started thinking about spreading my message far and wide, being in control of my online voice was an important first step.
My family has always been supportive when it comes to sharing my voice and values with the world. So, when I was 9 years old and my parents – both active users of social media – took me to a conference called The Digital Family Summit where there were dozens of families with kids like me. We wanted to get online and do something cool whether that was blogging, creating video games or coding. At the summit, there were speakers, panels and workshops that were led by experts that were there to help us with our digital projects and make sure that we understood not just how to do it, but how to do it in a safe and meaningful way.
I attended a 3-hour WordPress workshop where I learned all of the basics of blogging. On the long drive home from Philadelphia, I was full of ideas about how I was going to use my blog to really do something. I wanted to share what I was learning about the environment and the actions I was taking to be more eco-friendly and I hoped that I would inspire people to join me. I was too young for social media, but I knew that I could reach people online and that the impact could grow.
That was 6 years ago and at the time I would not have been able to articulate why having an online presence was important to me, but today I can. One thing I strongly believe in is having a solid digital identity. A personal blog on a website you own is the perfect space to do that – it’s a platform to talk about your beliefs, what you’re passionate about and being authentically you with full control.
On my blog I can post what I want, when I want. I have full ownership and full editorial power when it comes to content, style, length and frequency. It’s the place I go to talk about what matters to me. What I write about is a reflection of what I’m working on, what I’m learning and what I’m passionate about. It is a reflection of who I am.
Who I am is Canadian.
I’ve always been proud that I am Canadian for so many reasons and my website and .CA domain name are a reflection of that. That .CA is as Canadian as my passport. I believe that now, more than ever, the world really needs those Canadian values – kindness, compassion and inclusivity. In my role as an Ambassador with WE, I have travelled across Canada and met people of all ages who embody these values. One of my favourite realizations is that the people taking action across the country do so to make a difference in their community, our country and in the world. All of the characteristics Canada has are showcased throughout my blog, so I’m proud to have a .CA to tell people I’m Canadian.
Through my blog I shine a light on the people that inspire me, issues that concern me and solutions that motivate me. As the Founder, Editor, Publisher and Writer of my blog, I am in full control. This is something that I have taken seriously from day one. From the very beginning, my parents guided me through every step that included thinking about what I wanted to write about, to writing an outline, to writing and editing (often editing again) and finally publishing. I love the fact that I can share my own, authentic self online.
Every so often I look back at the archives of my blog and I can see how far I’ve come. It’s filled with things that I have learned, places I have travelled and people I have met. While I started writing about the environment and living a more eco-friendly life, I have grown as a young activist and global citizen and my archive of blog posts shows that. I have aligned myself with issues, people and movements through my blog and have written about the global issues like access to clean water and education and local issues like bullying and homelessness.
My blog is a searchable record of who I am in my words. When people go to Google and look me up, my blog, www.callmehannah.ca is the first thing that comes up. A close second is my social media feed. They go together to represent me – the digital me (and the IRL me too).