It’s no secret that I’ve become a huge fan of Instagram. I love social media full stop, but some platforms, I just feel more at home with than others. Instead of trying to do it all, as feels the requirement for blogging and online presence, I decided (in line with my goals for this year) to be a little more intentional & explorational with where I spend my time. Because let’s face it, as much as I love it, social media can just as easily become an absolute time drain & distraction too!
I’m a visual soul, so I wanted to focus on my IG & Pinterest accounts for starters, and I have to say, whilst I’m honoured that my work has paid off & put me on the suggested users lists for both; more than anything, I’m humbled by the incredibly inspiring, kind & supportive folks I cross paths with on a daily basis.
A few weeks ago, I joined fellow IG’ers (links at the bottom) in Chichester, West Sussex, as part of the 11th Worldwide Instameet. Now, THIS is the bit I really love about blogging & social media – connection. The ability to find your tribe from across the world or right on your doorstep. Folk that get you, that cheer you on, support you, and that begin to form a part of your community, and, if you’re really lucky, that develop into offline friendships too.
It can be really scary to dip your toes into this vast pool though. There were blogs or accounts it would take me months to work up the courage just to leave a comment on! But if you want in, you’ve got to jump in that pool…here’s a few things I’ve learnt along the way that I hope will help you to find your tribe:
\\ SHOW UP – Keep an eye out for events, shows, workshops or meet-ups in whatever areas interest you and go to them. Meeting & talking with like-minded people with similar passions offline is a great way to boost your confidence. I was often (and still am abit) petrified to go to events alone, but I did it. And the folks I met through those events are a huge part of my tribe today. It gave me confidence to keep showing up, doing what I wanted to do, & following my path through really wobbly times. You might have to push yourself a little, but it’ll be worth it, I promise. (Renegade London is great place to meet designer/makers – it’s on this weekend, and if you’re a blogger or online creative, Blogtacular is a great event to meet up with like minded folks – hope to see you there :0)
\\ SPEAK UP – Comment on things you like. Sometimes it feels like you’re talking to yourself, or jumping in on a conversation a little, but if it’s put out there, supportive & encouraging comments (even to the opposite view or negative if it’s constructive) are generally welcomed. Don’t forget, as with any relationship, there are two sides & it might take them a little while to suss you out & start responding in return. Don’t be disheartened, always be true to yourself, and remember, if you don’t have something nice/constructive to say, or you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face; say nothing at all – I’m all for freedom of speech, but being online behind a screen is no excuse for rude or unkind behaviour.
\\ JOIN IN – There are many many projects and hashtags out there that you can join in with (#TheEveryDaySpruce & #HomeHeartHabit for starters ;0) There are blog link ups, community prompts, twitter chats, facebook groups, and inspirational themes & challenges. Do abit of digging and you’re sure to unearth some treasures just perfect for you, which in turn may lead you to more, and finding new people to follow too…Take a look at what blogs and accounts you follow are tagging & find just a few of my favourites at the end of this post.
\\ TAKE YOUR TIME – As I mentioned above, try to remember that everyone you come across online is a real person behind their feed, photos or words. They are looking for connection too, but it may take time to build this in a mutual way. Try not to be disheartened or offended if you’re not followed back either – just because you admire someone, doesn’t mean they’ll immediately feel the same. That’s not a reflection on you, it’s just the way of the world. Take your time & enjoy the connections you do make.
\\ BE YOU – Always be true to yourself, your beliefs and your interests, but also, be open to ideas that may challenge you or encourage you to think harder or more creatively. Allow space to experiment – as life happens; we learn more, grow more & follow our own paths – it’s only natural that plans, tastes, and ideas might change alongside this. Don’t be afraid of this – embrace it – it will lead to the truest you. Genuine connections will remain regardless & continue to encourage & support you on your journey. Most importantly, don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle* – comparison is the thief of joy* (*1.both quotes from I can’t remember where – I’m not that wise! 2. pot kettle black springs to mind – it can be a hard one, but try ;0)
A last quickie – once you find yourself making connections, be brave & invite your tribe to meet up as a group, have a cuppa one on one if folks are local & you do better that way, or arrange a call or skype chat. Online is wonderful, particularly when folks are miles away, but nothing beats a face-to-face chinwag.
Have you found your tribe & how did you find them if so?
a few favourite projects & hashtags…
#amonthofkindness (IG) @ofheartandhome
#floralmasquearade (IG) @limetreebower @netherleighblog
#gatheredstyle (IG) @aquietstyle
#fridayfaffingcompetition (IG) @juliabesidethesea @katherinedorrington @am_I_dreaming_now
#natureinthehome (IG) @littlegreenshed
#urbanjunglebloggers (monthly blog series & social green community project) UJB by Igor & Judith
#wemakecollective (IG) @fallforDIY
#stylingtheseasons (monthly blog series, IG & Twitter hashtag) @aptapothecary @lottsandlots