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Our lives, one picture at a time...

I never understood what the big deal was about Instagram until I joined it recently. I wasn't inclined to join before because the idea of sharing photos for no particular reason with the rest of the world didn't make much sense to me. Until I signed up. And now I'm hooked. Which is surprising, as I've never been a very 'photo-oriented' person, mainly because:
1) I don't know how to take those snazzy photos
2) I'm terribly self-conscious (I may even need a tutorial to take a selfie!)
3) This whole online privacy thing worries me

Our lives, one picture at a time - Sand In My Toes

But I'm getting over my misgivings, and have realised how much fun it is to scroll through almost unending photos - snapshots from the homes and personal lives of so many people I may never meet. This fascinates me. I don't think privacy is really an issue anymore, because photos have become our language. We communicate with and reach out to each other through them.

We wanted a human connection on the web. We wanted to meet with real people.In the olden days of the internet (way back in the 90s), we were nameless creatures. We lived in the online realm as crazygrl24 or purplepunk or something like that (apologies if you actually had those user names). Later, we got avatars which may or may not have resembled us in real life. Does anybody remember the failed attempted at creating a virtual world with Second Life? But we didn't want that. We wanted to have a human connection on the web. We wanted to meet with real people, and know them for who they actually are. That's why Instagram is so popular. It's not about voyeurism at all, as I imagined. It's about sharing the happy /unhappy /angry /silly moments with others who can look at your photo and say, Hey, that happened to me too!

When I started blogging in 2005, it was uncommon for bloggers to spend much time on photos for their posts, unless they were food or travel bloggers. Photos were only added as an afterthought. Words were all we depended upon to express ourselves. Like novelists, we didn't have the need for pictures to explain our thoughts. After a hiatus, when I returned to blogging over a year ago, BOOM! Things were very different. The explosion of social media meant that bloggers had to be as visual as they were verbal. Today, I spend a good amount of time taking photos for my posts or creating graphics for them. Social media channels themselves have become so important that we cater to them rather than just our blogs. So, it is close to unthinkable to post without pictures. I know there are many bloggers who still follow the old school style of writing-focused blogging, but they are a dying breed. They are good writers, mind you, but there's something intensely appealing about good photographs.

There are many good writers, but there's something intensely appealing about  photographs.So, if you are out to create an identity online (or even offline), you have to expose yourself. You have to get out there with all your flaws and share your secrets. Not that it's a bad thing, because millions of people are doing it with you. This is our new world order. You haven't really done anything until you've uploaded a pic as proof of it. No vacation is complete without sharing an album on Facebook. No meal had until you've Instagrammed it. Kids' activities aren't enough if you don't have pictures for Pinterest! There is no such thing as oversharing.

For bloggers, churning out posts isn't enough. You have to think about the photos, edit them, and create a layout. You have too schedule tweets, status updates - and do them at the right time when your audience will see them. It's like running a marketing department! I can't say I mind, though. I discover so many new blogs every day. I come across dozens of ideas on Pinterest. And someone's always working on perfecting social media metrics and sharing their findings. It's a dynamic world - exploding with ideas, thoughts and arguments. I like this whole interconnection that exists between different social media platforms (thanks to the hashtag).

Our lives are simultaneously being documented as we live them. 

Just by reading this, you are part of this new order too. You can reach out to me and I can talk to you. That's why I come here every day, and I write when I have something to say. I like how easy it is to do this, and become part of this fluid reality that our lives are today.

This post has been linked to Finish The Sentence Friday and Post Comment Love.

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28 comments

donofalltrades.com said...

I'm fascinated by Instagram too! It's gotten to the point that I recognize pictures as being associated with certain people before I even see who posted them and I don't even know most of the people I follow in real life.

Ruchira Khanna said...

Actually I still ought to venture into Instagram cause I have the same feeling that why would my private pix be a delight for others.

I am glad you are having a good experience out of it, Tarana :)

TGIF

Parent Link Thailand said...

I have to say, I'm yet to join Instagram. Mainly because I feel like there are so many different types of social media and I can hardly keep up with Facebook! But, your post is making me consider checking it out more, especially since I love photos!

Untouchable said...

Yes, it is the new age of the internet. I'm trying to guess what tomorrow is going to hold. I notice more vlogs now than ever, so I'm thinking video might be it. Youtube channels gives you the ability to create your own, public tv, network. You know? It's just kind of cool how everyone has this opportunity on their lap. I haven't Instagrammed yet because I mainly use the computer. I am not device friendly yet.

Katie @ Pick Any Two said...

Like you, I don't consider myself much of a photo gal, and yet I'm realizing how important it is for writers to embrace the visual side of things. In the end, I think that trying to capture my world through photographs could actually help me be a better writer, because it will help me to see things in a new light. Guess I should start posting on Instagram more often! :)

Kim Carberry said...

I have an Instagram account but have never posted a photo on it....My phone is from the dark ages and isn't clever enough :(

Tarana Khan said...

Yes, the faces become so familiar after a while!

Lisa Witherspoon said...

I have Instagram, but rarely use it. I agree, however, that photos add a wonderful additional layer to blog posts, and I do spend a decent amount of time editing, watermarking, and adding them to my posts.

Tarana Khan said...

Maybe you can join and just look around, Ruchira. You might change your mind!

Tarana Khan said...

If you love photos, you'll love Instagram! Give it a try.

Tarana Khan said...

I was thinking on the same lines. The photos of today will be replaced by video tomorrow.

Tarana Khan said...

That's interesting, and I agree. Thinking of the right visual helps me focus on the key message of the post.

pixiedusk said...

My love for it died down a bit. Now i just go there to post competition photos but it is of course social media. One means for us to connect with love ones =) Nice thoughts on #IG #pocolo

Tarana Khan said...

My phone isn't either, I only got on because of a tablet!

Tarana Khan said...

I spend a good amount of time on my photos too!

Tarana Khan said...

I'm still figuring it out!

Katia Bishops said...

You and I have such funny synchronicity this week! I've just joined Instagram a few weeks ago! I actually love taking photos and was always tempted but then I got to thinking "do I really need to take another social media platform on?" but I find it pure fun and not as demanding as the other ones which require so much sharing, commenting etc. :-) Are we connect on Instagram? I'll make sure to look you up. I loved your choice of topic (and the tutorial on selfies remark is hilarious. Just switch your camera mode to "front" and then you can see how you look and take as many as you like. I'm self conscious too).

Kristi Campbell said...

I have not yet caught the instragram bug, and I'm not sure why. I guess because it's mostly phone based and I do most of my blogging interactions from my computer?
Maybe I need to give it a new chance because it seems that the cool people are doing it... like YOU are doing it... Does it help with blog stuff too or is totally separate??

Jennifer Steck said...

I know people who are addicted to Instagram. Like Kristi, I'm not on Instagram, as a matter of fact, I've never even tried it. But I love photography and a couple times a month I'm out with my camera hunting the perfect shot. There are so many incredible photographers who blog and incredible bloggers who have amazing photographs. The pictures do add to the story and draw me in, just like the writing.

Brielle and Me: Our Journey said...

I haven't taken the Instagram plunge. Mostly because I tend to go all in when I do things and I just don't have it in me to go all in on one more thing. Maybe I'll take a peek...or maybe I shouldn't. What do you think? (Visiting from FTSF)

andthenthefunbegan said...

I haven't got onto Instagram yet either although I'm desperate to because I love all the effects! I signed up for a rubbish Windows phone a year before I knew I was going to start a blog though and it doesn't end til this September. It is a constant struggle to keep on top of all the social media platforms, you're right about that! :-) #PoCoLo

Tarana Khan said...

Yes, it's fun and there aren't many rules to worry about! Thanks for the selfie tip, now I just need the courage to actually take it.

Tarana Khan said...

Being on the phone is kind of important for Instagram, but as far as blogging goes, it's not really related. I am connected with some bloggers on it, but nobody talks about blogging stuff. It's just for fun, as Katia says above!

Tarana Khan said...

Beautiful pictures do highlight good writing, that's true!

Tarana Khan said...

Well, there's no commitment as such on Instagram. You should take a peek, maybe, and then decide!

Tarana Khan said...

That's okay, actually Instagram doesn't really help with the blog much, so you're not losing anything there!

Victoria Welton said...

What a fabulous post - and so very, very true about documenting your lives on line. I do wonder what Grace's children are going to find on line about me one day! I too love instagram, it is like having access to other peoples photo albums! Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

Chai a Cup of Life said...

I got into Instagram in 2012 and then had to stop as I was on prepaid in India and was taking all my credit! Funnily enough I just got back into it. Will look you up :-)

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