• Shanley McConnell

Social Media Week: Instagram, and a Challenge for the 9th June 2019.

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Social Media can be an uplifting tool because enables us to connect, share treasured moments and reach out for knowledge of historical/current events. It allows people to to share dreams, to inspire and create cross-culturally/globally. If we are careful with our social media presence ~ slow to respond, bearing in mind that context always matters, engaging critically and with compassion ~ I believe that these sites can be brilliant platforms.


They have the potential in power and influence; to encourage or cause pain. I'm sure we have all encountered the positives and negatives of social media at one point or another to a personal degree in our lives.


I do not have a strong presence on social-media, or, perhaps, the better way to say this would be to acknowledge the fact that I am often quite sporadic when it comes to engaging with my own social-media sites. Someone very dear to me recently asked why. We were speaking on the phone, and she questioned why my Instagram had been left un-updated for the last two months or so. Why my Facebook-status seemed neglected in spite of the fact that I was always making memories that might've deserved some online-recognition. 'If not for you, why not continue posting in acknowledgement of your family and friends living so far away?' 'What if people begin to disbelieve you when you tell them of all that you have done, or continue to do?'


I promised her this: To send more photographs. To keep her in the visuals of my daily life.


But, after I ended the phone call, I lay on my bed and scrolled through my camera-roll. It was near-empty; there were about forty pictures taken in a single afternoon, a few scattered favorites from the last couple months and a screen-shot from my youth.


Before Christmas, my computer crashed with all my memories from the last three years. If I did not begin camera-capturing moments now, I would have very few to look back later. After I've moved away, or grown-up, or became someone with a new course of direction, new friends, a new name.


I feel a mix of thoughts about these questions. It is true; there is an honor in posting photographs so that the family and friends who have supported you until now------who live too far away to see the ins&outs of your decisions, joy and dreams------feel acknowledged for their input in your past and their place in your present. However, the thought that someone would think that I was not making the most of my time, or pretending to be enjoying life in certain ways that weren't always reflected (or posted) online makes me sad. I cannot image this. To be honest, some of my most cherished memories live without a visual; they replay a cinema in my mind.


I think this promise made me think a lot about another why. Why did I often forget to take photographs? Why did I no longer prioritize social-media the same way I once did? Even though I knew it to be a brilliant avenue for expression, why did I still find it a bit overwhelming?


Is it because social-media could feel competitive? Or because I simply don't think to spend my time scrolling the statuses of others, and fear it seems a bit hypocritical to be posting myself? Or because I fear embarrassing my friends by constantly asking for a photograph? Hold on, I need to untie my shoes-----my laces are wound too tight.


Okay, I'm back. Hmm, mostly, I think the truth is that I feel on edge when I am photographed. Afterwards, I am generally content with the image; I don't mind if I look a little less like myself (that's always expected). But it's in the moment that I dread the camera, lens and flash. I fear that it will distort the way things really are; the sweet colors lose their vibrance, the preciousness of the moment blinded by the harsh light, the awkward-stretch of the selfie.


I think I need to calm and look for the truth in the replay. But this is easier said than done, and, the longer I think about it, the more I realize that it will only be achieved for me (as with most things) through practice------in the habit of taking photographs (whether these are saved for the screen, or to be posted online); both are valuable. And I will practice. It's silly how something like this calls for courage. But isn't that with most things? Courage is often called into action by things that seem a insignificant.


I stand by all of what I've written, and yet, this is a promise I'd like to keep as best I can and so I'm giving myself a goal for the week: To take a couple photographs every day, and save one from each. Today------Sunday, the 2nd of June-----marks the first day. I plan to upload this post now in the hope that it keeps me accountable until the beginning of next week. Seal and stamp.


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