I started using it four years ago, just a few photos to begin with, very sporadically, no hashtags, very few followers, few people I followed, didn’t really know what to make of it. Gradually, I started using it more. And more. Looking back at my Instagram now I see several family holidays, posts about jobs that have been and gone, pets who have since died, books I’ve read and re-read, books that have fallen behind the back of a bookshelf, meals I made which I’ve now lost the recipes for, cakes I made that were speedily demolished, birthdays I can’t quite believe I’ve actually left behind, friends I’ve met up with, poetry festivals I’ve attended, walks I’ve been on, buildings I’ve fantastised over living in, art I’ve been inspired by……..
Instagram has sometimes become a sort of mini-blog for me, a place where I’ve posted #littlestoriesofmylife (quite a popular hashtag, as it happens).
I’ve never become embroiled in any kind of heated debate on Instagram (I don’t go in for that on social media in any case). I mostly use it for dropping off pictures related to my life which people either ‘like’ or ignore. Perhaps they’ll leave a comment about a book or a shared experience but there’s not much more engagement (not in my experience, anyhow). When our pet rabbit Juliette died recently, and I posted a picture of her to say this, several people left really kind comments which I found very caring and comforting.
I think the fact that Instagram doesn’t allow you to post a link (other than in your bio) probably helps avoid the kind of heated debate that one sees running amok in other social media places. Not being able to share a link leaves less scope for your followers to angrily agree or disagree with something – unless you choose to post something inflammatory – so the mood remains calm. Used in this way, Instagram is a place to express another side of yourself and helps people learn a little more about you.
One lovely thing about #NaNoPoblano is that I’ve found a few new Instagram people to interact with. Let me know if you’re over there – although, I’d better warn you, I might not follow you if you overpost!