the new instagram = the kick in the pants we needed

Just a quick word about the new Instagram. I'll be the first to say, Instagram is my favourite. I'm a visual person, so this little app has brought so much joy and interaction into the often isolating life of a mom with three babies (who eventually have become toddlers and kids).

I'm not too into Facebook, I'm too visceral for twitter, and snapchat creeps me out (seriously, the secret nature of messaging can not lead to great things!). That said, with the new changes of Instagram, I'm not thrilled. This is exactly what happened to Facebook and why I quickly stopped using it for personal use (I have a page on there for this blog, but it's truly not my preferred social media site to be honest!)

So we have two options.

1. Turn on post notifications up in the top right to be notified when I post, or you may not see my posts. I know I know, you will live a long and happy life without my pictures of latte art, meals, my ragamuffins, but I wanted to let you know anyway!

But if you don't want your phone buzzing every second with notifications, there's another way that requires a bit more intentionality:

2.  Community engagement online. Instagram will show you the pictures from users who you ENGAGE with most (likes + comments). For many of us, it means we might actually have to participate and not simply watch, observe, quietly judge or approve. It's this option that I feel will make social media fun again, and with a real purpose.

Sure, face-to-face interactions will always be the best, but it's not always possible. I love the online world, because unlike some, I don't live near my family, most of my closest friends, or my mentors. I started this blog back when Brad and I had just moved to Montreal. I'd left behind all of my friends and family, jumped headfirst into a new city, a new language, a new career. Since then I've also had three kids and we've planted a church.  It's right and good to build new community (bloom where you're planted and all that...), and now many of the people most dear to me live within a couple metro stations. But even with those geographically near to me, I love the added option of social media.

Because even when you're near the most supportive community, there are sick babies, diverging schedules, late night feedings, and days when you're stuck at home (this season of motherhood guarantees it). Currently, the people I talk to most frequently each week (almost daily) ALL live far away (ranging between 2-8 hours away by car, and one cross-country flight). Thank goodness these friends have Instagram! I also am the pastor's wife of a French congregation, and I'm not yet fully bilingual. I love that Instagram gives a window into my life that I can't offer with words. In different seasons relationships ebb and flow, but I am incredibly thankful for Instagram and Whatsapp for the way they've kept me connected and known.

If the new Instagram has done anything good, it's forced us to get back into active community engagement online. So let's stop being voiceless voyeurs and get back into the community that social media did such a good job creating back in the day. I'm speaking to myself here because I often scroll through my feed and forget to and comment even when I really am inspired/encouraged/curious/confused/opinionated/simply made happy.

If we can get back to THAT, then we'll see the pictures that actually represent those who make us think, challenge us, spur us on, inspire, and bring joy.

ps - all of these pictures are from my Instagram, because of course they are :)

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