When my great friend, and Tecnologia Yoda, Jer Baum first introduced me to this wonderful tool called Instagram, I was ecstatic.
Here’s this amazing opportunity to meet and connect with people like myself. People who really care about food-purity and where our food industry is headed. People who love eating out and sharing those moments.
Above all, people who are, in some form, helping to shape our world by doing beautiful acts in their communities.
One evening I settled in comfortably, and carefully picked the feeds that spoke to my heart.
The feeds with consistently stunning food-imagery, and feeds with nature scenes also got added to my list.
Inspirational people giving back, the chefs I admired, the traveler going to places on my bucket list, and the moms posting cute images of their little bundle of joys too. I was happy with my choices.
The next day I proceeded to like more images just because it was such a fascinating place to be.
People followed me. I am nice, so I followed back.
People commented. Raised to have common courtesy, I answered back.
Then the likes started happening on my images – 3 from close friends, 10 from random strangers across the globe, 20 from instagram leeches (a name I attributed to the “buy more followers” parasites). Being an Instagram-virgin on this whole new stage/platform I happily followed back anyone who followed me.
Instagram is like an alternate universe and just like that reality becomes blurred.
One day I woke up. I had over 900 followers and I was following 3000 feeds. I recognized nothing, and no one. The people I had started out following, because our philosophies lined up, had disappeared under a deluge of junk.
Men and women, dogs and cats posted selfies.
The most godawful images under the most horrendous light.
There was even one feed where they took images of their dirty and empty plates (I think the handle was literally “pics of empty plates”). Yep, I actually followed-back someone who was saying right up front, “Hey jackass, look at my meaningless instagram life.”
Then this new weird trend of an object being reversed rapidly over and over again came along. I stared at it for minutes thinking something will happen soon, right? Nope.
Jer Baum is one wonderful guy, he is a great teacher, patient, helpful and always kind. He answered my many questions with an open mind. He explained anything and everything I needed to know about this app. He always said it was a great tool for promoting and interacting with others of like minds.
But he never explained that this is not real life – he made the assumption that I would know the difference. He was absolutely right not to explain that to me.
In the instagram world we must traverse it the way we live our real life. Give credit and compliments where it is due, answer people’s questions and thanked them for the nice things they say or do. Share honestly, give back as often as we can, never label, blame, or lay out guilt, and never have expectations. Basically interact with respect and love. Try very hard to post images that are helpful – like the restaurant’s philosophy, or the recipe of a dish, or an image of something going wrong in our community. Above all make it pretty and tell a story.
Entertain, nurture, and be a friend. Build relationships, no matter if you have never seen each other, or never will. Inspire and unite.
I started un-following the feeds that meant nothing to me, as I did that followers un-followed me. I felt joy, an easing of my soul. The stress of this follow/un-follow thing was eating me up whole.
For the first time in a long time I saw the feeds of my people, the ones I started out with – the people doing good acts, postings of beautiful travel images and food pics, the chefs I loved and the women I admired.
Instagram has now warned me that I am un-following too fast and they suspect “suspicious activity”, hmmm.
And, just like in real life, I am now saddled with an unwanted 1,008 unsavoury characters hanging about in my instagram world. They are blocking my access to the feeds that matter most, so just like in real life, I must weed through the obstacles, ignore the bullshit and keep on reaching for the good out there.