Monday, February 5, 2018

My New Love Affair With Instagram

I feel like I might need to start a new regular feature on the blog devoted to "Things Instagram Made Me Buy!". As I've been spending more time over there, my To Buy and To Read list has grown exponentially, including new brands and authors I'd never heard uttered anywhere else. And I'm personally a fan of Insta-Stories because I like knowing the person behind the page, and no matter how curated you try to keep what you put out there to your people, I feel like your energy, vibe, personality and heart shows through in those short little videos. I know I've unfollowed people after watching them, but I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself let me rewind a tad.

For a long time I focused my social media energy on Twitter, feeling like I never quite "got" Instagram. The followers have never come easily, and for a time there I was paying way too much attention to where I thought I was lacking compared to other people who were doing the same as me, yet pulling numbers at least 5 times what I did. I would share my frustration with my kids, "But she just put the book in a tree?!?!" and they would remind me, yet again, that I'm not doing any of this for the numbers.

I have googled how to have a successful account, when it's best to post, and devoted way too much energy trying to be a Good and Successful Instagrammer...and never felt like anything made a difference. So for a long time there I'd toss a photo up that I'd usually taken for a blog post, and then leave. And I'd head to Twitter...the place of my people.

Twitter I could understand, and I built up followers a lot faster and enjoyed interacting with other book folks...and building friendships with a few authors and other bloggers. I managed to get on a few blogger lists and built followers up to a respectable number I felt. Of course, 95% of the people who follow or share anything of mine over there are other bloggers or I doubt that the reviews are reaching anyone who might benefit from them. But that 1K of followers stroked my fragile ego, so I zeroed in on what I knew best and stayed over there.

However, in the last few months my feelings about both have changed dramatically, and I find myself spending the time I've allotted to social media over on Instagram instead of Twitter. I know all of this may seem like a silly subject for an entire blog post, but my reasons for the change are HUGE really, or at least they are in my eyes...and it's something I think needs to be addressed, although I know it's been covered by others and probably more succinctly than this.

I am not a political person. I don't keep my head buried in the sand or anything. I vote. I read. I like to think I'm reasonably well-educated. But I'm not someone who chooses to spend her spare time debating politics with people. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and that you can have a different opinion than I do, and we can still be friends. I doubt that what I have to say is going to make you change your mind on anything, so I think what I think what you think. It's what makes the world a fun and crazy place. It would be boring if we were all the same.

I am also not a fan of mean-spirited people and negativity. I have suffered from depression in the past, and honestly don't do well when I'm surrounded by people who behave ugly or put off a vibe of having a sour distaste for humanity. Don't get me wrong, I'm no pollyanna. I'm not walking around with birds chirping around my head all day or anything. I just can not stand ugliness for the sake of being ugly, or bitter vitriol being spewed because you're sitting behind a keyboard and don't have to see the whites of someones eyes as you cut them to pieces.

Now, the Internet has always been a place where people who felt like they didn't have a voice before were free to speak. Where the world is at your fingertips. I love the internet, obviously...I love social media and enjoy greatly that I can write something from my couch in Virginia and my friends all over the world can read it at a moments notice. But for me, in some areas of the interwebs, the cons of hatred and negativity have overwhelmed the pros. And I find that in order to keep my head in a great place, to stay focused on my goals to love myself and grow the life of my dreams, I can't spend a lot of time in places that make me feel bad.

And Twitter makes me feel bad (Facebook too if I'm not hanging out in the right places).

Keep in mind that I really only follow bloggers, writers and authors. That's it.

I used to love pouring through my feed looking for new books and blog posts by other bloggers to read and share, but now I'm struggling to spend my time on there long enough to find what I want! Yes, book people are allowed to spew whatever they want on Twitter, it's not like it has to stay focused on books...but there have been authors that I LOVED and supported for years that I'd no longer purchase a book from because what they've put out to the public has been so full of hatred. So, I look for the people I love...the people I want to make sure I'm supporting properly...and then I leave. And my follower count is reflecting that, which is a little sad, but I'm okay with it I think because I know that I'm doing what is write for my health and sanity (drama queen much?!?), and doing my little bit to make sure I don't succumb to the pull of others towards negativity.

So instead, I'm hanging out in the world of Instagram. If there's negativity over there, it's not hanging out in the same place as me. And I'm trying so hard to keep all the love that I feel over there flowing and growing! (Okay, that line was even too cheesy for me I think, but I'm keeping it in here...)

Yes, I ranted about the fingerprints on my stainless steel appliances once, and I'll always give y'all an honest review of what I'm checking out for you...because if it's horrible, it's horrible. But it is refreshing to scroll through a feed of nothing but positive vibes and people supporting and building each other up.

I follow authors, and get the privilege of telling them congratulations on their achievements shared, along with a yee-haw over their Friday night cocktail and cool handbag. And then I usually end up searching for that handbag and putting it on my wishlist.

I follow planners, and ooh and aah over their amazing bullet journal spreads, extremely detailed daily/weekly cleaning lists, and am inspired to continue using my planner to become more productive. Sometimes it leads to a cool new Etsy shop to peruse. Or a small business online to support and follow, complete with another new person to fall in love with.

I follow others on Weight Watchers, and cheer their weight loss accomplishments, support them when they have a setback, borrow their recipes, watch their YouTube videos as soon as they're uploaded, and get the inspiration to keep on keeping on in my own weight loss journey.

I follow people who encourage me to grow in my faith. Their love seems to radiate right out of my phone and straight into my heart. It's led me to buy new devotionals, download a free Bible study program for the year, and seek out new ways to love, encourage and grow.

I follow book bloggers, of course. We love each other's pictures, and I look to them to figure out what I want to read next, even more so than Goodreads or other sources really. You can only see a book so many times before deciding you need to read up about it and see if it's for you. And I'm beginning to feel that my photo game is getting stronger, which has put the green-eyed monster to sleep.

And don't even get me started on the beauty accounts I follow. To me the best part has been watching them open PR boxes in their stories, and then see what items they end up liking in their upcoming videos. I find it fun to see which items they receive...and never talk about! I have tried to stick with people who are transparent and their honesty is apparent. But they aren't good for my bank account.

I try to share the love. I try my best to like and support people. And no matter how big your account is, if I see you do a video where you're singing along to a song or dancing, I AM going to send you a DM saying "You Go Girl!"...because they make me happy on a deep emotional level. The world needs more cute dog videos. More grown ass women dancing with their girlfriends, and sharing it with everyone. More Love. More Happiness. More Likes...You Go Girls...Good Job Lady...Love That Photo...Congratulations!...Beautiful Picture!! Being a positive force is never a bad thing. And you don't know how much that one word might impact someone else's day.

So, if you're missing me over on Twitter...I'm probably hanging out on Instagram, trying not to purchase more skincare just because it comes in a beautiful frosted blush pink bottle. I'm working on my flatlay photos, and attempting a subtle color scheme on my feed. But I haven't succumbed to putting a book in a tree...yet.


  1. Exactly! I can deal with all the negativity on other Social Media platforms. Instagram is my happy place. ❤️

    1. are an AMAZING photographer, so the world needs to see your pics. :)