My social media journey had been an incubator of trial and error experiences, striving to see what catches on, what doesn’t, and hopefully figuring out the common denominator. For me, Instagram was the toughest to figure out.
You could say my first exposure to social media was email, which I have been doing since the time that my hair was almost as high as the C.N. Tower. I then launched my own web site in 1999, “The Spin on Life at 33 1/3”, a blog before blogs became popular, which lasted a couple of years. My next steps were Facebook and Twitter, which I figured out pretty quickly. Then of course came my blog, “It’s the Journey” on WordPress.
In my blog post “Blogging… More Than Words”, I explained how that venture into blogging led me to the epiphany and serendipity of rediscovering photography, a hobby I enjoyed since I was very young, to incorporate a visual to help draw viewers to my blog, whether through Facebook, Twitter, Google + or WordPress.
But Instagram remained a bit of a mystery to me. What pictures should I post?
At first, I tried using it as an extension to Facebook, posting random pictures and comments. Before I knew it, I was posting the same thing on two platforms, to essentially the same group of friends. That was a bit of a fail.
I then tried emulating some of the people whose Instagram accounts I liked and enjoyed. In doing so, I posted pictures of the occasional travel picture, plates of food that looked too good to eat, new CDs, new colourful socks, new shoes, pictures to promote my blog and random selfies. Then, as of last year, I posted pictures of Ivy the Wonder Cat. My Instagram account was all over the map.
Was it any wonder that my likes were low and attracting new followers wasn’t really happening. Frankly, when I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I didn’t like my account much either.
But it was in the process of taking pictures for the blog that something recently clicked… metaphorically speaking. I was feeling the creative, artistic instinct for taking pictures was starting to return. It was like the eye for composition, light, colour, perspective, all the techniques I picked up in my last go around were finding me again.
When taking pictures for the blog, I have been tinkering with different backgrounds, lighting effects, repositioning the subject, change the background again, adjust the lighting to minimize glare, adjust the focus, etc. And even then, what you see in the viewfinder is not always what translates well to the digital picture. And then you start again. Thirty, fourty of fifty shots later, you get… THE ONE!
To me, photography was always about creating a picture that is worth a thousand words.
And there it was, the Instagram epiphany! Instagram was to become an extension of the blog. Instead of a WordPress written blog post of roughly a thousand words, how about posting a picture on Instagram worth a thousand words?
I like the idea of posting pictures with an enigmatic quality, that make you wonder what the photographer was seeing, thinking or feeling when it was snapped (or adjusted later, in the editing process). To me, that’s the goal.
At first I started with pictures from the Ottawa Tulip Festival. They seemed to go over well.
Then I started scavenging through my computer’s hard drive for my most favourite travel pictures over the years that I think each have something unique to say, without me having to say it.
As I posted them, the number of likes went up and the number of followers slowly went up. And Ivy the Wonder Cat got her own account in the deal too (who, incidentally, is about 60 followers ahead of me in only a couple of months!)
In the end, my Instagram account is not about the followers or the likes, it’s about quality content and curating it in such a way that there is a certain flow and general consistency to it.
Now, my Instagram account allows me to be creative in a very different way than my blog on WordPress does, but at the same time, seems to keep the creative juices flowing seamlessly from one discipline to the other.
Social Media has helped me feel like the artist I was always meant to be and helped me reach out to an audience that otherwise might not have been possible. For that, I will always be so very grateful for the opportunity.
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,