I joined Instagram in 2010. I was introduced to it by my artist niece when I was asking for her help to lomo-fy something. I was initially using Instagram to do that old-photo effect on my travel pictures, but when my husband joined a little later, he joined those awesome Instagram communities, and that’s where I learned what #hashtags were for, and eventually followed a lot of amazing accounts (from travel shots to artsy shots to portraits, etc). Instagram became my feed for happy, positive things. It sparked my wanderlust all the more, and inspired me to have different perspectives on everyday things.
About a year or so after (I think?), Instagram suddenly became a hit to the general crowd. Today, you’re OUT if you don’t have Instagram. From a strictly-Apple gadget only app, it became available on Android, too. And then Facebook bought it. And then everyone just has it. It’s not a bad thing if you ask me. It’s just not like what it used to be. Today, people are using it as an effective platform to sell goods. Today, celebrities are using it to become “closer” to their fans (and their fans use it for the same reason). Today, bloggers use it to broaden their circle and promote their new posts. Today, even TV channels, magazines, brands, etc use this to let the people know what’s new or introduce their latest gimmicks.
It’s been great, really. But, some habits have begun popping up – and not all of them are ideal. Here are 5 things I wish we’d do more on Instagram to keep the happy, positive vibe going!
1. READ BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
This should really be self-explanatory. Many times, people just look at the photo without reading the text, which is totally fine. BUT if you will leave a comment, kindly make sure you read what’s written first, because the answers might be there all along. It’s very frustrating to take time out of your busy day to compose something and see someone dismiss it just like that. Every time this happens, I think about how much battery is wasted on both parts for something that’s already been addressed. Reading will do us wonders, make us learn a lot of things, teach us to think, and take us far. Many people in the world do not know how to read. We are lucky to be part of the people who can read (and write). Let us put that blessing to good use.:)
2. Credit Your Sources When You Repost Something.
This is a good practice that the older “instagrammers” still do up to now. When you repost someone’s photo, make sure to credit that person and not “own their idea”. The reason why my feed became full of amazing photos is because these people do not forget to credit where the photos they repost come from. I’m sure there are times when you just see a photo online and you can’t trace where it came from but you really like it and so you post – that’s fine, as long as you don’t make it come out as if you were the one responsible for that pretty photo, and you don’t make profit from it. Ethics must be applied in our daily lives; this is a good way to give credit to whom it’s due. 🙂
TIP: You can either download APPS like PhotoRepost or InstaRepost, or take a screenshot of the photo and then put credits on your status.
3. USE #HASHTAGS PROPERLY.
#Hashtags were made to make searching for something specific easier for people. So if you use the hashtag #travel, people expect you to actually have a travel-related post, not some random picture of your room (that’s not even travel themed) or your selfie (that doesn’t show anything else in the background). This is also useful in making your own categories. I usually do my own #cpf (Charlie & Paula Fernandez) hashtags to separate my travels and make them easier to search. If you want to see photos of our recent trip to Vietnam, you just type #cpfvietnam2014. If you want to see photos of our Europe trip, you just type #cpfeurope2014 and so on. I know some make fun of people who put a lot of hashtags in one post. On my end, I have no issues with that because that’s how I found the amazing accounts I get to follow until today, but I hope we’ll just use the hashtags (no matter how many) that actually are related to the photo posted.
4. DEMAND LESS.
We post whatever we want to post on Instagram. Personally, you will find me posting things I love – traveling, Filipino-related items, DIY stuff, pretty spaces, my nephew Philip, vegetarian meals, small, local entrepreneurs and businesses I like to support, and once in a while, selfies. While I do love sharing some things – like cool websites, or nice apps,homegrown stores and products, etc, please keep in mind that I am doing this out of my own will. I am not being paid to entertain you, or give you every detail you want to know. Whatever I share in my post (text and photo combined), that’s all I want to share. I don’t think I have to tell you the exact name of the cafe I ate in, or the GPS coordinates of where we went snorkeling, or where I bought my clothes. I’ve had cases when people I don’t know would even ask me for the full itinerary of our travels even if they know I have a travel agency (I take itinerary making seriously and I work on them for days, so no, I don’t just give those away for free!). Thank you for appreciating what I post and I am glad I get to inspire some of you in some ways, but it would be greatly appreciated if you don’t expect to be spoonfed, and demand less from the people you follow.
5. ASK RELEVANT QUESTIONS AND GIVE VALUABLE COMMENTS.
There is nothing wrong with leaving comments and questions (we love them, in fact) as long as they are relevant and/or valuable to the post. Commenting only to sell your goods (and get free marketing, which only benefits you), making troll accounts to bash people, asking questions when answers are already in the post, etc ARE NOT relevant nor valuable. Some of the questions you can ask yourself before writing are these:
1. Will my comment be useful?
2. Will my comment spread some positivity to people today?
3. Will it be relevant to the post?
And if all else fails, go back to #1 before you speak, err, type.
So there. Hope we keep the positive vibes rolling in the Instagram community. Next time, I will blog the accounts I love following on IG.:)