Instagram reflections, lessons and ideology.

On the 1st January 2013 I created an Instagram account with intension of posting one image each day. I titled my public profile 'theworkpad' for uniformity between all my social media. Within my blog I created a page heading, 'The Project' to integrate Instagram with Google services. The photos would capture something for which I was grateful and daily postings would create a collection of visual anecdotes and form a journal of daily reflections. In this post I state my Instragram reflections, lessons and idealogy.

I did not intend on attracting 'follows' or commencing any 'following' because the experiment was wholeheartedly to recognise blessings and acknowledge each by completing a microblog entry. Throughout the year, however, I created connections and networking provided opportunity for collaboration. I used various hashtags to reach a wider audience and discovered my interactions infiltrated undesirable social circles. I became more cautious with postings to eliminate unwanted associations. As an educator within a P-12 school, students and parents 'followed' and 'unfollowed' throughout the year, however, I did not reciprocate the connection because of professional boundaries.

In some respects I was hoping my audience base would expand fast and used Twitter as a means of drawing attention and interest in my experiment. At times it seemed my efforts were meaningless. Attracting more followers may have made the exercise more valuable. I believe the idea of posting images each day of something for which I was thankful was a splendid concept and demonstrated how social media can be used for personal enrichment and spiritual fulfilment.

I learnt many things about Instagram in my term of use. I became familiar with using various features and filters to create artistic imagery and occasionally used multiple applications to develop a workflow to generate images with numerous layers and affects. The process of capturing, creating and posting, commenting on entries became a daily occurrence. On several occasions I forgot to make an entry and in result needed to make an additional posting on various days. Instagram serviced required learning and now I have a deeper understand of the platform and can offer informed advice to students and parents on privacy and addiction to social media. Children must be advised that digital branding is achieved through public profiles and visibility of the people they follow. In result following inappropriate people or 'liking' indecorous content will generate certain perceptions and attitudes.

Throughout 2013 I was able to attend several professional development activities. Some of the adventures were in North Queensland and Victoria. I was able to capture beautiful landscape images to record moments of significance. In addition I was able to take photos of various family occasions and events. The collection of photos serves as a historical record of special events. The data isn't stored locally and is cloud based and therefore not dependant on personal hardware. The storage function is an excellent solution to almost every individual seeking to collect and create digital photo records. It would be advantageous if photos could be added to specific albums, however, this feature is not yet available within Instagram. I doubt images would be lost by Instagram, yet, individuals must be cautious of using the social media as the only means of backing up media items and people should ensure that duplicates are also stored locally.

Instagram introduced the ability to take video and upload fifteen seconds of footage to share. This addition was a valuable contribution to the services Instagram offers and allows people to capture meaningful footage to establish a more dynamic portfolio. Using multiple videos is possible and numerous applications can be used to overlay words and create transition between slides. iMovie is one such application that can allow slow motion and once the project is complete it can be imported within Instagram, comments added and then uploaded to share within the online community. Brief tutorials can be created, procedures and recipes demonstrated using video import features of Instagram. To prevent access to audio one must become familiar with the general privacy settings of mobile devices as audio cannot be restricted within the application itself.

During the year I became appreciative of Instagram and aware of its popularity among teens. I believe that Instagram can be used to reach the school aged demographic to provide announcements and instructions. Schools that have employed 1:1 Technology can take advantage of online access and use Instagram to provide valuable micro lessons to aid understanding and awareness. The difficulty is in advertising the account and making it accessible and interesting for young adults. It would be necessary for students to follow the account to receive regular updates and for this to happen the public profile needs to be on trend. It would be advised to develop a small community to upload material so one person is not responsible for producing all the material. Within my context I have selected a number of iPad Geniuses and together they upload content. Students younger than thirteen forward the media item to me and I upload it on their behalf. I oversee the account and postings, comments and likes. At the moment 'iPaded' (iPad Education) has not obtained many followers, however, I believe the platform has a bright future and is an excellent concept. Our college has used Instagram for a very short period of time and in 2014 I plan to promote the product more to improve communication.

I enjoy using Instagram. It serviced my needs for 2013 and allowed me to reflect on the meaning of life and share significant moments and times of reflection. The images remain a record of visual anecdotes and collection of 365 memories of 2013. The exercise was successful on many accounts and in become relatively labour intensive as every post was unique. My commitment to the experiment demanded daily contribution. I don't plan on using Instagram for continued  personal use at this time. Despite this, I consider Instagram an excellent service and believe it provides an opportunity for different ideas and that it provides opportunity for individuals to explore the meaning of life, conduct education through micro lessons, display of artistic work or simply a record of time. In the same way a telegram delivers news, Instagram delivers instant communication for improved living.


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