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What is Zoey working on?

Zoey Duncan is a freelance writer and editor in Calgary, Alberta. Her writing has been called “edgy” and has been nominated for three Canadian community newspaper awards, but she tries not to blush too much.

As an editor and writing coach, Zoey likes working with clients who understand the benefits of multiple drafts, who thrive on feedback and are committed to creating the best possible experience for their readers. Her focus as an editor these days is on non-fiction specifically memoir and business-focused manuscripts.

This blog is a space for her to write about writing, try out some jokes and meet other writers. Beyond the craft of writing, topics here have included women in sports, travel, apartment life, and life in Calgary.

Zoey’s freelance career has included projects for CBC (Hyperlocal), Avenue Magazine, Calgary is Awesome, Fast Forward Weekly and several pieces for the Calgary Herald.

Zoey’s first co-authored book, written with Calgary surgeon and professor Dr. Norman Schachar, is The Department: A Surgeon’s Memories… Before I Forget. It was published by ZEDS in June 2015.

Email Zoey: zoey(at)

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I’m one of Calgary’s top 100 social media influencers

Well, would you look at that!

Local social media advisor Jay Palter crunched some numbers and came up with a list of the 100 most prominent social influencers in town. As you might guess, Mayor Naheed Nenshi tops the list, and much of the list is made up of local politicians and journalists.

There are also several bloggers (hey @mikesbloggity!), chefs (hey @charcut!), and local celebs (hey @jdavidkelly!). And yours truly!

You can check out Palter’s methodology (he used a social media analytics tool, but didn’t name which one) on his blog post. But I’m more interested in his reasons why lists like this are useful. Paraphrasing Palter:

  • Follow these people and you’ll know what’s up in Calgary;
  • Interact with these people and they might help spread your messages;
  • Build relationships with these people as a stepping-stone to joining the list.

The local Twitter list I would like to see

While a cool way to look at the local Twitter scene, this is a really media-heavy list.

I’ve heard some people complain that the only people who still used Twitter are journalists (and self-professed comedians, maybe). I think a list like Palter’s suggests people are very interested in what journalists have to say.

But I wonder what it would look like if we saw a list without those tweeters whose voices are tied to the mainstream media, myself included. Who is influencing #yyc Twitterscape outside the news agenda? What are they talking about? Why are people interested?

Here’s a sampling of folks on Palter’s list who are a little outside the media sphere (and who aren’t big-name bloggers nor politicians):

What do you think makes people influential online? Here’s a thought from my Twitter pal Aaron:

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Gallery: St. Patrick’s Island in East Village

I took a stroll around St. Patrick’s Island recently on a perfect September Day. Here’s what I saw.

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I’m the East Village Resident Ambassador! So… what is that?

For three months, I’ve been on a campaign to become East Village’s Resident Ambassador. It’s meant blog posts and tweets and even some YouTubeing to show off my social media storytelling skills.

This past Monday at work, I saw the number of unread emails tick up and took a deep breath before clicking to the Gmail tab, like I’d done a dozen times already that morning. But this time there it was: An email with the subject “Resident Ambassador position.” My stomach clenched, I read it, read it again, and walked out of the newsroom to keep from spilling the news in a room full of Twitterers.

Hours later, I started to catch my breath.

Later in the week, a friend said to me, “I’ve been reading and liking your stuff but I really have no idea what you’ve won.”

Fair enough. Not everybody read and re-read the job posting a dozen times in the past three months.

Basically: As East Village resident ambassador, I’ll be telling everyone in different mediums what it’s like to live in a newly redeveloping neighbourhood in Calgary’s inner city.

It’s a year-long part-time position with unique compensation: living rent-free in two new condos (6 months each) that will also be home to a major population influx to East Village. The position is also paid like a typical job (which impressed me from the start, because often work on the internet isn’t treated or compensated like the rest of the workforce), and there are other thoughtful included perks like Car2Go minutes. I’m doing my best to keep exclamation marks to a minimum but believe me: we are excited ’round here!

Here’s an excerpt from the original job posting:

Our perfect candidate is a passionate, community-minded, socially aware, culturally conscious, urban contributor who is excited to experience life in East Village and tell the world about it. In your role as EV Resident Ambassador, you’ll be required to contribute monthly content to the EV Experience blog detailing your experience in the community. You are proficient in creating meaningful, timely and relevant online conversations, and we promise you’ll have lots to talk about – over the course of 12 months, you’ll experience, document and communicate some of the community’s most anticipated milestones.

I’ll have more to show and tell in the coming weeks as the final touches are put on our new home (literally. Building inspections happen this month). Stay tuned here and on Twitter and Instagram (and maybe even Periscope) for the latest!

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Great Idea: Master parallel parking and improve your life (bear with me here)

I lived in Calgary’s Beltline for four months in 2014 and it was a crash* course in parallel parking.

My move from Sunalta to Beltline came about when my best pal needed a roommate (after her old one got hitched), but only for the summer before she moved across the country for a Master’s.

We both agreed it was likely our last opportunity to be roommates. It was a short enough stint that we wouldn’t compromise more than a decade of friendship over dirty dishes, but long enough to make some memories over cocktails.

I moved in and put my name on the list to get a parking spot at the Beltline apartment tower. Spoiler Alert: I did not get that parking spot.

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