Friday Special: A Year on Instagram
Spring marks a year since I started my #studygram on Instagram, and it’s something that’s provided me with community and also some escapism away from the pandemic over this past year. In this Friday Special, I wanted to discuss some of the positive impacts of Instagram on my life, as well as some things I’d like to do in the future.
When I started my Instagram, I’d had my blog site up and running for six months, recently brought a domain and was also in a bit of a slump. I’d finished with my MA, and with no immediate plans for the future and a lockdown, I wanted something to take my mind off what was going in the world. Social media had become a negative place for a lot of people, and I was seriously bored of all the pandemic memes and doom-and-gloom mentality for a lot of people. However, I was being drawn in to the #studygram community, and I found it to be a really positive space where people were continuing on with their education. Although I was done with my MA, my blog site was keeping me linked with university, and it was somewhere that I felt like I fit in.
I’ve never really had a schedule, and that’s been fine with me. I treat Instagram as a hobby, and hobbies come with peaks and lows of productivity in interest. In November of 2021 I was bored with social media, especially as the pandemic seemed to be coming back into the forefront of our lives again. I ditched Instagram for the most part, and I wasn’t sure when I would come back to it again. Cultivating a small following took time and effort, but I’ve been trying to invest my time into things that I actually enjoy, rather than through obligation or fear of failure. However, consistency is key, and I do want my Instagram to keep up with the pattern of my blogging content, so there’s definitely some give-and-take that’s required.
Social media management is part of a long-term goal of getting myself ready for a variety of different career opportunities. Being “tech-savvy” isn’t enough anymore, and although getting involved in Instagram came from a place or boredom, I’ve learnt that it also reflects some of the fear and anxiety I have regarding the future. I’ve often struggled with the feeling that life is slipping away, and it’s a fear that lots of people struggle with. I cope with it by filling my life with memories and experiences, but I still notice the milestones that other people achieve. During Covid, my life moved pretty slowly, but I still achieved much more than I thought I was capable of. Basically, staying in my own lane, investing in myself and looking forward to the future makes life much richer, and Instagram is one way of doing that.
Speaking of the future, I’d love my platform to become a space that aids my research and teaching in years to come. If other apps come to the forefront, I want to expand out to make sure that my content is relevant and accessible to new generations. Being adaptable to change is a key indicator of personal growth, and I’m ready to migrate to other forms to social media if necessary. YouTube is something I’ve always been interested in. I watch a lot of it, and enjoy the inclusivity of a free platform that can be used both for entertainment and educational purposes. The main barriers for starting my own channel are cost, which goes against a lot of my personal beliefs that cost shouldn’t impede opportunity. Unfortunately, prioritising my PhD and academic prospects over the side-hustle of a YouTube channel is essential, so I can’t put a date on when this might become a reality. Whenever it happens, I’m sure it’ll be something to write about!
Overall, my year on Instagram has provided me with a welcome escape from the outside world, in a time where that outside world was often standing still. My first ever post on my website was about social media and self-esteem, and I can tangibly see the growth from that blog to now. Social media seems to have evolved to be an intrinsic part of our lives, and that’s definitely not a negative thing. Setting healthy boundaries, following uplifting people and becoming part of such a motivated community has definitely been a highlight of this whole pandemic, so if you’re someone who’s liked, commented or followed, thank you!
My Friday Specials have been a great way for me to talk about my own journey, and marking important milestones is fun! I’ve probably preached this a bit too much, but my Instagram is @tibbotttalks_study, and I’d love to see you over there soon.