I only joined Instagram in late April this year. I’d been avoiding it for so long because I was convinced it’d only be another distraction, another implement in the procrastinator’s toolbox. But I joined this year so that I could more easily “follow” my nephew.
The only other people I followed initially were friends of mine who exclusively used Instagram, and did not have Facebook accounts; friends who were on holidays at the time; and friends who happened to find me, so I followed them back.
I’m not much of a photographer. You can probably tell by the lack of photos on my blog, which is my primary form of “social media”. I don’t instinctively or naturally take photos of things (unless they’re doors) or envision how certain objects or scenes could be framed for a good photo (unless I’m intently trying to photograph something).
Some people who decided to follow me in those early weeks (jokingly) questioned me on my lack of photos – why have Instagram if you don’t take or post photos? But my explanation was always accepted.
It was three months later before I posted my first photo: It was only on my final afternoon in Palm Cove that it occurred to me that it might be nice to share a photo. I tagged it as an #obligatoryholidayphoto or something to that effect because that’s kind of how it felt. No need to post lots of holiday snaps, no need to bombard people with snippets of my life.
But I chose one photo – one of the few I had taken – and posted it.
And then the notifications started popping up.
There weren’t many, of course, because my Instagram community was quite small (is still quite small) but I hadn’t expected my post to be anything more than a faint blip lost in the cacophony of the world’s vast album. But it was noticed, and it was liked, and even commented on.
And already I could recognise the danger of instant gratification and positive reinforcement in this new experience. Even then, I started wondering if this was a bad idea.
But I returned home, and the days passed, and I didn’t feel any need or desire to post anything on Instagram. (I contemplated posting for Thursday Doors, but I always forgot by the time Thursday actually came around. I tend to associate it with blogs rather than Instagram.)
I still opened the app almost every day (to see photos of my nephew, and photos from my friends on holidays) but I’ve only posted twice more since then. Along the way, I noticed friends posting about the important things in their lives – time spent with family, achieving a goal after much hard work, realising a dream, enjoying some much needed rest, spending time on a hobby…
And then I started thinking that maybe Instagram only has a bad reputation because some people abuse it, and some people misconstrue it. I started thinking of it as a positive platform, and started thinking I could contribute a little to this positivity too.
But I think I’ll only post once or twice a month there. (I really don’t take a lot of photos. I mean, one of my photos was of a page of text out of Bird by Bird… What can I say? I love words)
Maybe it won’t even last. I mean, Twitter faded out of my life with me hardly noticing it …until I wondered if I should replace the Twitter widget on my blog with an Instagram one. I’m actually thinking of deleting Twitter (at least deleting the app, because app purging seems to be a thing these days), so that I can convince myself that I’m maintaining some sort of social media homeostasis.