A few months ago while traveling for work, I heard a morning weatherman rationalize why he did not have @instagram. Of course, I tweeted.
The weatherman is just misinformed or uninformed. His enlightenment comes from all of us revealing the benefits of connection. Valued member of my PLN, Joy Kirr, and I began conversation through Twitter about the misconception. We even counted our @instagram pictures and placed them into categories (places, other people, objects…). I wanted to see if I was unknowingly “self-absorbed” as defined by the morning weatherman. Most of my pictures are of other people, places, and things. Even if selfie photos would have dominated my feed, this does not warrant an automatic conceited label. Joy brought this conversation to her students, you can read more on her blog post Sharing Through Instagram.
I entered @instagram last summer. I consider myself new in this landscape. I follow fellow educators, sources of inspiration, a few schools, a few classrooms, a few friends, and a few family members including my daughter. One of her recent posts was a reflection of her faith and her passion for photography and nature. Because we both live in this space, I was able to be inspired by her post. I have yet to find evidence of self-absorption in her feed. I do, however, witness her humor, her world, and her reflections.
If you follow me on @instagram, you will learn a little about me personally, read my poetry as I love taking pictures and using @poetics to write short poems, learn what I am learning as I often share, and tour the farm as I share snapshots of my family’s land.
Recently, I began following a few more @instagram accounts that certainly will add value to my feed and most definitely destroy the “self-absorbed” claim:
1. @noaasanctuaries:NOAA Sanctuaries protecting underwater treasures sharing information.
2. @nasagoddard:NASA Goddard Space Flight Center sharing space pictures and more.
3. @natgeo:National Geographic photographers post pictures from around the world.
After reading It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd, I began thinking of social media spaces and places as actual public spaces and places. I value my time in Twitter, and I appreciate the support and discourse that comes with being connected just as I value time connecting in person. I know I cannot live everywhere online all at the same time…I use different social media outlets for different purposes. I do ask myself often:
- Who benefits from me being there?
- How do I benefit from being there?
I know there are misconceptions those of us connected must address. Joy mentions in her blog “…it [social media] is what you make it.” So many of us are choosing to make SOMETHING of the spaces we live online, we are doing more than living the lyrics of Carly Simon’s infamous tune…We must continue to share the value of connection by showing the spaces and places that benefit our learning.