One of a fire in my backyard fire pit. Another one, a poorly lit photo of the beach on the Fourth of July. A subpar start to my Instagram career.
My 30-day Instagram challenge: Post one picture per day to Instagram for 30 days.
If I wanted to start a blog I needed to be more comfortable sharing pictures, but also my thoughts as well. A fear I needed to overcome.
On a more personal level, I do a terrible job of staying in touch with friends. When I lived in Madrid, Spain I more or less disappeared for a year.
I want to travel over the next couple years, but not at the cost of losing friendships I’ve developed over the last couple years.
I never wanted to be the person checking their phone all the time, or constantly taking pictures, or sharing every detail of my life.
In the beginning, I hated it.
Overthinking captions. Debating between two almost identical pictures. Overreacting to the number of likes a picture has.
But I learned valuable lessons.
And fears eroded away.
Remind Friends you Exist
I’ve lost contact with numerous friends from high school and college. When you lose the consistent face to face interaction, something needs to replace it. Or else, the friendship fades away.
And here in Australia, daily conversations are tough to consistently have across a 16 hour time difference.
I realized a picture or update on social media reminds people of you. And gives them a reason to reach out.
A friend I haven’t spoken to since high school (2008) reached out to me! Saying that he thinks the trip I’m doing is awesome and it struck a chord with him. He wants to do something similar.
Another friend from my time in Madrid, who I haven’t spoken to since leaving in August of 2014, reached out. He loved what I was doing with the blog. And has a passion for self-development himself.
I gave both friends a reason to reach out from what I was sharing. I loved reconnecting with both and completely unexpected.
From those two experiences alone, I’ll always do a better job of being more visible to friends I don’t have the luxury of seeing on a more consistent basis.
A simple, yet powerful reason to use social media that I ignored.
People Don’t Care
Solo travel is all about doing whatever you want to do, whenever you want.
I brought that same mindset to Instagram. Posting about what I enjoyed, not what I thought others would.
Friday, November 11th was one of my low key favorite nights and posts. In no mood to socialize or drink, I wanted to get away.
My friday night was a three hour bike ride around Melbourne. It was pretty sweet. I tend to walk everywhere to explore a city, but I'm liking this biking thing. At a leisurely pace I saw a few different neighborhoods and I discovered South Melbourne market which I'll check out tomorrow #antisocial #solotravel #bikeshare #melbourne #melbournelife
On an impulse, I decided to use the shared bike program. I leisurely cycled my way around Melbourne for 2-3 hours, stopping every 30 minutes to walk and switch bikes. In no hurry to get back or talk to anybody.
Just did me.
I felt liberated ignoring the social pressure around me and being comfortable enough to share what I actually did on a Friday night.
In the past, I put too much emphasis on the first post, picture, or impression.
A part of me wanted to delay the 30-day Instagram challenge to learn how to take better pictures or edit.
But knowing myself, delaying the start meant weeks. I decided to start that day with whatever photo I had on my phone.
I think I found my barber in Australia! Why isn't this more popular? Or maybe offer a free coffee if it's earlier in the day? I'm super lazy about getting haircuts, but maybe that'll change if I get a beer… #haircut #barber My 30 day challenge: post one picture per day to instagram sharing what I'm up to on my working holiday visa in Australia. I tend to never post anything to social media or share what I'm doing, but I'm trying to be better!
Not the best picture right? I remember going to bed that night worried people would think my first after four years is dumb.
People didn’t seem to care.
And the challenge was underway!
No one is sitting on their laptop dissecting your posts. Either they scroll past or “like it”.
But I found if you share your true self, people relate to you more and engage.
Form a daily habit
You can argue posting to social media is a bad habit.
But whether you’re starting a blog, promoting your company, or trying to spread the word about a cause, social media is a must.
And consistency is key.
I don’t have a travel blog, but the challenge formed the habit of asking “What am I posting today?” This rings true for Instagram, but now my daily action videos. “What action am I taking today?”
Some days are harder than others, but by the end of 30 days I found posting something by the end of the day easy. It was just what I did.
I always found a way.
I surprised myself by my creativity and ability to form a story every day.
If you’re starting an online venture, starting out on a 30-day Instagram challenge is a great way to become comfortable with social media. And develop the daily habit of using it.
Try a 30-day Instagram or social media challenge posting once per day. You’ll stay in touch with more friends, be more comfortable with yourself, and create daily habits.
And I promise your next 30 days will be better than your last 30.