Interpreting with Instagram?

Cindy Carpenter

I’m surprised at myself. After resisting for years, I have entered the world of social media. This happened just after I entered the world of smartphones in January. This non-digital-native figured it was about time I experienced firsthand what today’s media is about, and I am happy I did. I am having fun combining my love for photography (and my awesome phone camera) with sharing my passion for natural and cultural heritage through Instagram. Some of you may be there, too.

I first learned about Instagram during a new media session by Ken Mayes at the 2012 RIW. Last summer I queried my 27 year old niece about it as she snapped photos and posted them. This past February at the RIW in Alabama I jumped in, posting a photo of a fern and mushroom growing on a tree on the WAU campus. You can imagine my excitement when I received my first “like,” this from one of my two followers at the time, my 11 year old niece.

When I saw her in March she gave me a tutorial on hashtags, and a world opened up. I was hooked.

Bird day warbler neck Instagram photo

The Instagram description for this Bird Day at the Cradle of Forestry photo reads “Birding is fun, even with warbler neck. #cradleofforestry #internationalmigratorybirdday #birding.”

I started my campaign to contribute to substance on Instagram after seeing a lovely photograph my cosmopolitan elder niece posted of an Anthropologie store window awash in blue light being decorated with bright orange and yellow butterflies. Knowing she has over 500 followers as opposed to my 10, I commented, “Lovely! Imagine seeing it in nature.” and hashtagged “make way for monarchs.” A search of the slogan brought up a photo from a California museum’s monarch waystation and an organization that promotes gardening and conservation to children. It was on from there.

Since then, through Instagram, I have discovered individuals and organizations engaged in the beauty and wonder of the global natural world, the enjoyment of public lands, museums and gardens, and in conservation efforts. I see how people are enjoying special moments in time and special places, including my interpretive site. I connect with my young loved ones I live far away from through images of what impresses them and learn also about their audiences. The words on Instagram are few, but the photos are worth thousands. I hope those who find my posts and the exploration opportunities I present will find some meaning and inspiration. Maybe you’ll find some, too.

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Categories: Interpretation tools, Social media | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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  1. Pingback: Do you tweet? | NAI Region 3 - The Sunny Southeast

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