The Instagram Experiment
I’m in my late thirties, but sometimes I feel like an old curmudgeon when it comes to new things. And, for this hard-core introvert, much of the grumbling-inducing newness comes from the social media front. I mean, hashtags? What the…? #IDon’tDoHashtags
I’m an awkward gal. Socializing with strangers can often make me feel like I’m partaking in an experiment on how to turn someone into a hot-faced, stuttering mess. Luckily, socializing on the Internet is largely text-based, and I’m comfortable with writing. But that doesn’t mean I’m entirely comfortable with social media. And while hanging out on Google Plus is tremendously easier than waltzing up to a group of strangers and saying, “’sup?” it’s still really hard for me.
Of course, if I were to only live within my comfort zone, then I’d be living in a cave, wearing a velour onesie and eating nothing but dumplings and carrot cake. But one of the best things about writing and publishing is that it continually pushes me out of my comfort zone, and that’s what helps me grow as a person.
Minding Social Media
One thing that adds to the difficulty of social media for me is understanding what I should be sharing. Some people say, “just be yourself!” Others say, “only share what’s relevant to your brand!” Then there’s a third group that says, “do both!” This is where I get confused and overwhelmed and go hide in one of my stories.
For the most part, I’ve been trying to keep my activity on social media within my “brand” (I hate buzzwords like that, but, whatever). I try to show my personality when possible, but I’m not sure if “the real me” shows through. I think I do all right on the blog, here. But sharing brand-appropriate stuff on, say, Twitter while still being me? Yeah, not so much. It’s not that I don’t want to, but rather the “how” of it totally escapes me. Seriously, it’s like trying to understand mathematical rules. This brain of mine just doesn’t work like that.
So, anyway. Instagram. I never even considered joining Instagram until I saw a post by Cristina over on Katie Cross’ blog. At first, my reaction to the suggestion of joining up was like, “Hells no.” But that’s my initial reaction to a lot of things. It doesn’t mean it’s always a good one (velour onesie, remember?). Once I took the time to really think about it, it actually intrigued me.
See, I’ve been wanting to join a photograph-based social hub for a while. I’ve considered Pinterest, but using that platform as anything other than a virtual cookbook (which I do, by the way), holds zero interest for me at the moment. Instagram is something I could potentially have fun with.
But like any other social media platform, it’s going to be a challenge for me. Even more so because it’ll just be me being me, and not necessarily me posting any writer-related stuff (though I’m sure that’ll pop up from time to time). And that’s part of the experiment. Will I enjoy “just being myself” on social media? Will it be effective in bringing people to my blog and notice my writing? Or will it end up being a glorious waste of time and emotional energy? I have no idea, but I’m willing to try and find out.
Being Social on Vacation? Madness!
And so, to keep myself from chickening out and bailing on the whole thing, I decided to turn it into an “event.” This provides me with some accountability, so I can’t say “nevermind!” and retreat to my hidey-hole. It also makes it a little more fun (for me, anyway, I don’t know about the rest of y’all).
So I figured a good time to try this venture would be when I head back to the States next week to visit family for Thanksgiving. Hopefully being outside my normal routine will make it a bit easier to keep up on posting, and when I come home, I’ll hopefully be in the swing of things and will keep it up. Unless I hate it. If I hate it, then… yeah.
So, if you’re like me and have been avoiding Instagram for whatever reason, why not create an account and we can be newbs together? Or, if you just want to stalk me and see what kind of nonsense I’ve been posting, you can find me here.
Alternatively, if you’re already there, then let me know and I’ll follow you and bask in your Instagramming prowess.
Oh, and I’m going to try and kick my hashtag aversion. Apparently, Instagrammers love hashtags. #Cry.