Lessons from Instagram
There was a recent Instagram "game" of sorts going around- sharing one favorite photo from your followers to your story. I loved the idea and it introduced me to a lot of great people.
I got thousands of requests to share. It was exciting at first, then overwhelming. I stopped sharing other photos from followers because I would get the same messages asking me to share, but as polite as I tried to be, they became more aggressive. During this time, I also stopped blogging as an "influencer". Social media has it's ups and downs and this showed itself off the charts. Here's what I knew, what I've learned, what was revealed, and the unexpected lessons from the little app with big lessons, Instagram.
+ People want to be noticed. It was exciting to meet new people. I don't consider myself "big" in any way, but reading the messages how thankful people were to share their photos to connect was uplifting and made me love the app a little more.
+ I'm "basic" and I love it. A photo of coffee from a high angle. A window view of the sky on a flying plane. A burst of florals. An urban wall with art painted on it. A book shelf. A baby! Yes, these are basic and what some might call boring, but there's a reason they're popular and almost hard to capture because they can be as boring or as wildly creative. I don't like to think of myself as basic, I'd like to think of myself as "timeless". I was drawn to followers photos with these types of photos but with their own take on it.
+ Let people post what they want. Wild idea, but hear me out. How about we stop punishing bloggers, companies and people in general for posting beautiful photos? I remember when I was reading the feedback about my caption on being "real" and being tired of being an "influencer", there was a lot of backlash on calculated photos. I'm tired of too much perfection like any user on most platforms but I also understand these are people's jobs, to influence and target an audience with aesthetics. Years ago, I would find comfort in making a creative flat lay photo op. Some people find art in painting, drawing, or making music. Others find it in photography with product placement. No big deal, let the people live. I don't think it's so much the beautiful photos but the coldness of them. The lack of humanity. If someone can tell a story and connect through beautiful photos, what a gift! If it feels cold and unsettling, I'm out.
+ Resist? I ask this because as I was looking through my followers, it was more telling of who I was and who I attracted. I hope to attract more people who speak up about topics that are important to them, even in disagreement, I have respect for anyone who speaks up for what's on their heart.
+ Don't mistake friendship with networking. I quickly realized who was there as a work buddy and who was there as a friend. I try not to take it personally. I mean, would you want to talk to the weird person you work with outside of the job? I'm not for everyone and that's okay. I'm sad my community is getting smaller but I'm happy it's getting tighter. Quality over quantity, etc!
+ Don't take it seriously. I only use Instagram and this blog to share anything personal now. I want to be vulnerable, open and honest. I want to flow with things, not force them. People want to share their best selves and moments and I want to let them. I want to make it a safe space where I log on and not feel overwhelmed or anxious. It's always a work in progress, but in the meantime, I'm not taking it too seriously and enjoying it all.
I'll leave you with this quote-
"In general, people are not drawn to perfection in others. People are drawn to shared interests, shared problems, and an individuals life energy. Humans connect with humans. Hiding one's humanity and trying to project an image of perfection makes a person vague, slippery, lifeless and uninteresting."
-Robert Glover, No More Mr. Nice Guy
As for the 100 Day Project, I didn't stick to my goal of manual photography. I had a few setbacks. The first day I realized I ordered the wrong batteries for my camera, I was okay with starting the project one day later. By two weeks in, Miko unlatched the back of the camera and the first roll of film was exposed. I was okay starting over by 16 days late. By the fourth week, I bumped my camera on something wrestling a toddler in a stroller. The door unlatched, film was exposed, and my camera won't shut now. It was a gift from my mom on my 27th birthday, this year I turned 37. There isn't a connection, I just like to make a big deal out of weird stuff like this. I called it a loss, felt sad, talked to a couple friends and moved on. I didn't feel like a failure but I wanted to so so badly, if that makes sense. I felt good and felt more excited for planning next year's. And yes, to the two people that warned me about carrying a heavy piece of equipment around my neck while mom'ing, you can proudly say "I told ya so!" You're allowed.
Also, I missed writing. Hello.