Daily Archives: May 17, 2014

WIT :: of digital immigrants and Instagram


So the more observant of you readers out there may have noticed a new icon on my social media sidebar. And yes, what you see is true: I finally surrendered and got me an Instagram account.

I figured it was about time to join the digital age for real. None of this pussy-footing nonsense anymore. Because sure, I’ve long since abandoned my Livejournal (are they even still around?!) account in favor of the more in-the-now WordPress. And sure, I know my way around Pinterest and Facebook like a boss. But the more frenetically-paced social media vehicles like Vine and Twitter and Instagram confounded this digital immigrant so much that I avoided them deliberately.

And I justified my head-in-the-sand approach by telling myself that I wasn’t in this blog biz for money or fame. I wasn’t doing this and waiting with bated breath for my book deal. This was a hobby, something to keep me occupied when I was in between book series or grading papers.

But then Alex @ Undergraduate Style inveigled me to join her giveaway two weeks ago. If any of you are familiar with Rafflecopter, you know that there are multiple ways to enter, but all the ways involve some form of social media or another. I thought I was covered with Bloglovin’ and Facebook (even though my FB page is personal and I really ought to create a separate one for this blog). But when Alex asked for 5 links (an arbitrary number I’m sure and I know she didn’t mean to make me feel pressured), I was at a loss.

She was kind enough to make suggestions – link to Pinterest, to my Storenvy store, etc. – but overshadowing those options were the twin monsters of Twitter and Instagram, those ubiquitous behemoths that lord it over all. All the other gals who contributed to Alex’s giveaway had them, and all of a sudden, the adolescent in me came out and I just had. to. have. it.

I’m not a Twitter gal, though, as you all know from this blog; I’m too much of a wordaholic to be able to distill my thoughts in 140 characters. But Instagram – well, that’s another story. I’m already pretty handy with my smartphone and photo apps; isn’t Instagram just the most logical next step? thought I.

And I did so want to be one of the cool kids on Alex’s giveaway Rafflecopter…

So I downloaded the app to my phone and created an account. And what I thought would be a heinous yet necessary undertaking ended up being not so bad. The captioning is probably just as limiting as Twitter, but somehow, if I think of it as a caption instead of a message, I’m okay with minimal words. I’m also playing with hashtags and working through the intricacies of Instagram etiquette.

Thank goodness for tech savvy students and patient intrepid TAs. They gave me some starter tip gems like “Don’t use more than 3 hashtags per post; anything more is just annoying.” or “Don’t post more than 3 things a day; anything more is just annoying.” or “Don’t worry about that collage on your Instagram profile page; the pictures will come once you have more posts.”

I have yet to truly delve into this new world; it’s enough that I manage to post at least one pic a day with relevant captions. I don’t know whether this new social media vehicle will garner me more followers, but I have noticed that people who don’t necessarily comment on my blog will consistently engage and “like” my posts on Instagram.

And this got me to thinking about the plethora of ways we can communicate anymore and how each way appeals to a variety of people. Because someone may be a more visual learner and be perfectly willing to interact with pictures but that same person may be turned off by too many words. So it really is to my advantage to offer as many platforms of interaction as possible for my readers, isn’t it? Regardless of whether I want to grow my readership or not.

I suppose it’s kinda like teaching. As educators, we must have the ability to address different modes of learning in order to reach a greater amount of students.

I love it when my personal life achieves synchronicity with my professional life.