23 March 2017

Magic-making, wave-riding and other stuff

Thank you. Thank you for all your thoughts on Instagram. I solved my little unproblem by removing two thirds of the account's followers, keeping the ones I know and/or trust, and then set it to private. It feels much better. Less like I've thrown open the doors and windows of my house and invited randoms to set up cameras where they like. Now I can start to think about a public, project-based account.

It's March, isn't it? And for me that always means a touch of the mad hare. I can easily leap from Winter's dreamy, contemplative ways to 'OMIGOD I have the best 25 ideas EVER!'. If I look back through my blogs to posts I've written at this time, firstly, many of them will be written on a relatively new blog, and secondly, they will be all about how I've found The Thing and I'm dedicating the rest of my life to it. For realz tho. For ever. Then by about June, as Summer's lazy #Can'tBeArsed to do anything but relax and enjoy the outdoors feeling hits, I'm over it and feeling a) guilty, b) ashamed and c) another step down into the pit of worthlessness that comes with repeatedly failure.

Happy days. But at least I'm aware, right?!

So I'm going to attempt to avoid long posts about what I'm [not actually] doing. I'm going to try to direct my March crazy towards staying on the path I've been slowly exploring since the beginning of the year. I'm going to try to make some magic that's grounded. Yes dear Reader, I'm going to attempt self-discipline. Hey, stop sniggering at the back. 

I've no doubt that I will spin off now and then. Sorry. My sensitivity to these energies has long been something with which I have a love/hate relationship; to the point of medication. But that's gone. Time to learn how to ride the wave.


14 March 2017

Pretty pictures


Because I haven't been able to choose between two post topics, I haven't written anything. 'Write both and save one', ya say? Pah. Far too simple.

Anyway, I've mused on the subject of bringing your body - not just your mind - back into the moment, because it's becoming my favourite, most effective way to get past random anxiety. Mused. Not written. Yet. Instead I being you...Instagram!

Instagram is 'my favourite and my best'. The micro-blogging aspect with longer captions...great. The new 'like a comment' feature and scrolling...love it. Stories...not really got to grips with that yet but I watch other people's. A simple picture with a couple of words...yes.

I follow about 600 people and although, thanks to the backworkery, I don't get to see all of them all the time, I do see most. I follow friends, acquaintances, a couple of family members, lots of dogs and their people, rescue organisations, plant-based people, podcasters, artists, bloggers and even a couple of 'influencers'. And Alan Cumming because it feels as if he's all those things in one person. I see pictures that range from my nephew with his underpants on his head (he's two) to swoon-inducing, perfectly curated galleries.

I do not follow people who use Instagram to lie, using smoke and mirrors. If you lie to me on something as trivial as Instagram, my experience is that you lie about more important things too and I don't have time for that nonsense. But even though we might fall for this stuff at first, I think over time it becomes apparent that something is just a bit 'off'.

My irritation with that used to make me over-reactive to anything that wasn't just 'messy 'n' real', lovely photography, or a good caption. Then I started to appreciate the work going into curating a good gallery. At first it was with the dog accounts I follow. Some are so beautifully shot, matched with good captions and maintain a really high standard. Much better than my higgledy piggledy mix of good and bad photos (HE MOVED!) with hastily tapped in captions.

I hated real hashtags used to gain likes and follows. But why? Instagram is a social platform built on connection. Why would you use it and hide, unless you're keeping your account private? It's like writing a book, sealing it, and then putting an entirely blank cover on it.

Somewhere along the line I came across Sara Tasker at Me and Orla. Her Instagram is not only stylish and beautiful, but she's also a very likeable person who's great at passing on her expertise. I read her blog, downloaded her free resources and now I listen to her podcast. It's fun and inspiring, not just for would-be influencers but for anyone wanting to create something beautiful.

Not gonna lie, it's made me really want to try out building a curated gallery on Instagram. As a creative project. I've been in love with blogging for so long - right down to the techy side - that this feels like a natural extension. And it gets me really excited which is also a sign.

Over the last couple of months I tried setting up separate accounts for trying this out but neither really grabbed me (I already have an account for endless pics of my dogs but that's different). There's a school of thought that says, if you want to up your Instagram game, stay with your existing account and show the evolution. Also, who scrolls that far back on other people's accounts? (Well...me actually, but that's not the point) But that doesn't sit well with me.

I stepped back and tool a mental look at my feed (sorry Mel) and suddenly I was wondering why exactly I even do it! A handful of friends aside, why do I feel the need to show pictures of my daily life to complete strangers? It's bizarre! I started to feel a bit icky about it. Not because of privacy issues but just because who cares? Who cares what my garden looks like or the inside of a tattoo studio I'm sitting in on a random Tuesday? (See: the screen grab above.) Who cares what I'm doing day in, day out? And why?

I'm still sitting with that one. I'm open to either shutting it down, going private (as can be with 500+ people already in) or even just carrying on as I am. I just need to think it through and decide. I might even keep a 'record of my days' account that's uncurated and just 'here's today..what are you up to?' but only send invites to people I think of as friends. I like taking photos on my phone. I like sharing them. I love to see what my friends are up to each day, how their kids and dogs and cats are, what they've just seen that made them go ,'OH!'. It's the sharing. I just need to dial in on with whom I am sharing. Does that makes sense?

Meanwhile, I fully intend to start a curated gallery to play with. I'm fascinated by the thought of tones and feel and aesthetic. By choosing things that fit and not throwing everything into the soup. With telling a story, not throwing mud at a wall. I believe there's a lot of skill involved and I want to learn. Most of all it's fun. I'm building secret Pinterest inspiration boards and giving some serious time each day to exploring Instagram beyond my usual circles.

So that's my Instagram story for today. Ha. It just hit me that I could stick with the one I have but develop it in a new direction, then start another day-today, personal one and just invite the people I feel safe having there. Yeah. I think that's it.

Do you use Instagram? I think most of you do. How do you feel about curated feeds? Do you have any favourites? I might do a post listing mine.