NeONBRAND, CC0, via Unsplash That all changed when I wrote a children’s book and upped my blogging game. I was told that social media was the best way to connect with people and showcase my work. I signed up for Instagram the next day. Hey, people change. Now, I am a little over two months in since joining Instagram, and I have definitely learned a lot since my first post.

The date was October 24, and I finally decided it was time to make a post with a link to one of my blogs. The blog was about tips to de-stressing your life. I had the perfect picture. The perfect caption. I was all set. I pressed post and waited. My mom, a technology novice and social media newbie, texted me that she couldn’t open my link to my blog post. Exasperated that once again my mom couldn’t comprehend simple technology, I went to have a look for myself. And much to my dismay, I couldn’t click on the link nor could I copy and paste it. What!! A quick Google search showed that you can’t use links in an Instagram post. That’s why people use the phrase, “link in bio.” What a fool I was! Such a posting plebeian.I felt like that emoji with her palm in her face. I have learned from my amateur ways and now use the popular line to direct people to my blogs. I have also learned that you can, though, post links in your Instagram Story if you have 10,000 followers. Only 9,900 to go!

2. Holy Filters!

I knew that Instagram was notorious for their filters and photo editing, but I was unprepared for the sheer amount of alteration you can do to one photo. Not only are there upwards of fifteen filters, all with their subtle differences, but there are ways in which you can change the saturation, tilt, contrast, brightness, structure, warmth, color, and fade ,among other things that I have no clue what they are. Literally, you can spend hours doctoring one photo to get it just right, and then when you go back to look at the original one it’s like you have two entirely different pictures. Talk about option overload and decision fatigue. If there are people in the photo, I usually just do #nofilter because I am exhausted from all the choices, and something just doesn’t feel right with adjusting and changing the way my son’s skin looks. If I do decide to go with a filter, I usually don’t venture much further past Juno before I throw in the towel and pick one, and I just forfeit on all those editing tools. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Looking at the stats on my posts. I have 13 posts. 10 with people. Only 1 out of those 10 has a filter and that was to change the photo to black and white. The other 3 are of objects and places. They have been filtered and edited because ,well, I am not the best of capturing an image in the best lighting. So overall, I don’t have a thing against filters and editing, but I would suggest to be wary of what you see on Instagram. It probably isn’t so perfect and flawless as it appears, and true beauty lies in things and people exactly as they appear.

3. Damn Scams

I am a sucker for those FaceBook ads. They get me. That’s how I discovered Lulus and Shein. I thought Instagram would be no different. The beginning of fall was right when I joined Instagram, and you know what that means. Sweater Weather! As I was absentmindedly scrolling through my feed, the most adorable sweaters popped up. “Ohemgee,” I shrieked, “I’ve literally got to have them.” None of that was said, but for the effect of the story pretend that I did. After discovering the super cute sweaters, I hemmed and hawed for a bit, even going as far as to ask the girls on the Cross Country team what they thought. “Soo cute,” they squealed (They didn’t but you get the idea). My decision was made. I bought them. I anticipated their arrival. So many basic places I could wear them. To the pumpkin patch. To our Fall Mountain Getaway. A football tailgate. Frolicking in the leaves. But after a month they still hadn’t arrived, and every time I tried to track the package I was directed to a Chinese site. I had been scammed! Eventually, they did arrive, but they looked nothing like the advertisement and the material was so shoddy that they didn’t even bother to affix a tag to the inside as if the only washing directions you needed was Don’t: Use as a rag instead. So I had been scammed and a lesson learned. Don’t trust everything on Instagram. I was beginning to see a pattern here. P.S. The website is Flookmiki for any of you who might be duped like me.

4. Let Me Tell You a Story

I was intimated at first, but once I made my first Instagram Story I was pretty impressed by the features. From a 21st century technology teacher perspective, Instagram Story is a really good way to present material in a new, creative way. It’s like Adobe Spark Video, but I would even dare to say it’s cooler. You can add video, pictures, GIFs, music, doodles, text, hashtags, polls, questions, filters, emojis, and I am sure more that I have yet to discover. I can picture my student presenting projects this way. I have definitely have enjoyed the few stories I have created so far. Overall, Instagram Stories have been a delightful surprise that I would give an A.

5. Not So Negative

Lastly, I have been pleasantly surprised at the lack of screaming on Instagram as compared to Facebook. So far, I haven’t seen too many people posting political rants or arguing with their family members or old high school classmates broadcasting their nasty divorces. No, so far Instagram has been devoid of that nastiness and largely is just people posting photos of their lives. I also don’t have to endure factually inaccurate memes and news articles. I am sure there is some of that hate deep in the realm of the Gram, but I have yet to discover it if so. Lets keep it that way. More positive, please! That is all of the things I have learned from Instagram so far. I am sure in time that I will unlock more secrets to the social media giant, but for now I am satisfied with what I have unearthed so far. Overall, I give it an A.

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