Lately, I’ve been getting really into Instagram (although I’ve been neglecting posting much). I think I’m following close to 200 people/places/things on it. Some of the accounts, of course, are the obligatory internet-famous and utterly adorable dogs and cats. Others are a few people I know personally, whose adventures I want to poke my nose into/live vicariously through/admire. And let us not forget National Geographic, which I’m beginning to think should just come as an automatic follow on any account created.
But the vast majority of accounts that I follow are world travelers, interesting natural areas (such as national parks) from around the world, conservation organizations, and individual photographers from around the globe. The latter are my favorite to follow, because not all of the photographers are professional – they’re just everyday hobbyists or people who find a snapshot of their day to share.
It’s beautiful, really. From my own little spot on this planet, I can share a moment of my day that was meaningful or lovely or exciting. I can share a memory when I’m feeling nostalgic; it doesn’t even have to be #throwbackthursday. Similarly, with the press of a button I can scroll through someone else’s experience. I can learn about their culture, and see what their life is like no matter where they are.
What I really appreciate about being able to look through that little bitty window into someone else’s every-day experience is that, regardless of location or culture, there are some human universals. People have friends, and they do fun stuff together. They love their families. They eat delicious meals. They get excited about little things, like school or work or a new purchase. Overwhelmingly, people love animals.
It’s very humanizing. I think everyone should take a moment to look at the world through someone else’s lens. Experiencing even a single photo from someone’s life makes it harder to “other” them, and in a world of so much animosity, we all really need to stick together. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have internet access, or a camera, so I definitely don’t take for granted this privilege, but those of us who are able should definitely partake in this opportunity!
And this is why I love Instagram 🙂