I love Instagram. One could say that I am addicted to Instagram. All social networks pale in comparison for me: Facebook is where people post garbage exclusively (ads are cool and useful but I'm not really a consumer of Facebook, I just use it to hock my goods and services), Twitter is cool as a newsfeed but not really great for discussion (although people still attempt to use it for discussion and mostly fail), and no other social network really matters.
Instagram has some of the most creative people in the world on it, and it's gotten really good at giving me the ability to leave my comfort zone and find new accounts that are really awesome. Many complain about the algorithm, but Instagram is free so I have trouble shedding a tear about that. Lately, my favorite past time is to watch stories of weird cities across the world and see what's going on outside of East Tennessee.
Instagram is easily the best way to keep up with those that "do". I was asked about who my favorite accounts were, and while thinking about it, I found a common thread: I like people who are making things, doing things, and going places unapologetically and unceasingly. "Doing things" sounds like a pretty broad and low bar, so let me be more specific:
For one of my photos of the day, I believe it was the day Anthony Bourdain died, I posted a blurb on Instagram about how I admired "Rockstars"
I admire people who give their lives to a craft or goal or mission. Those who live for the thing they are doing and those who need what they are doing to live. Those who make and do things with just a crazy, unstoppable passion. Of course, those are the Instagram accounts I'm into.
Simply posting on social media to say "Hire me!" or "Buy my laxative tea!" is ultra-uninteresting. That's the equivalent of the billboards on I-75 that I'm not caring about. Posting on social media about social media probably even more un-interesting than that. Posting on social media in order to let people follow along with what you are doing/making–that's why people are on social media in the first place. People want to live a life other than their own, and they want to feel like they are doing something by watching other people who actually are doing something.
In a sense, "good Instagram", is almost an afterthought.
This really hit me the other day in one of my spells of PTSD about my year of vlogging. Why was that vlog so absolutely horrible? Because I wasn't really doing anything that year. I was vlogging about my life which was essentially working 9-5 and then coming home to watch Netflix. My bad videos were essentially an admission that I was doing nothing.
A wise man once told me, "You don't remember the times when you weren't doing anything." Basically, you're not going to look back on those good ole days when you binge-watched The Office. (Unless you really love The Office)
I'm someone that is trying to make up for years of laziness. It's almost embarrassing how obvious that is. I'm an "all or nothing" sort of person, so even now, when I relax, I relax. Good luck getting me out of my binge-watching coma when it starts. It's really easy for me to fall back in to doing nothing, but I really hate myself when I get that way. That's why I love seeing others do something as a reminder to just keep going.
Here's a list of every account I really love following, and I think you should follow to. If you want to see stuff far less cool than what these guys are doing, then follow me (@willmalone) while you're at it:
@axelarzola (Axel is good friend and just an incredible person, so follow him for that alone)
@rhschoolfiled (Robert is a great painter. I get the privilege of getting to see his work in person alot of the time, and it's just so great.
@adventuresofeliot (Eliot goes shark-diving and on crazy road trips on ice roads in his Camry, nuff said)
@chris_michel (Chris goes all over the world and takes pictures of everything and every photo he shoots is beautiful)
@robbyoungsfinewoodworking (I knew Robb when I lived in Hawaii when I was younger. He's a master of his craft)
@brad_andersonnn (Brad is a friend who is starting up his farm in North Alabama. He posts farm-life, which is something I'm generally unfamiliar with. It's all really cool and interesting. He needs more followers!)
@micheleandersonart (Michele is an incredible portrait artist)
@preglives (Jonathan is a good friend and I love seeing his paintings pop up in my feed)
@alanbrockimages (I ran into Alan on the Ocoee River as he was shooting with a large-format film camera. He flies planes, shoots film, and makes videos.)
@elijah_bankhead (he's in semi-retirement from photography now, but I enjoy following his other account with all of his athletic adventures in the meantime @elijah.bankhead)
Those are some people I know, but here are some people that are possibly famous that I just like keeping up with:
I suppose I like day in the life stuff, but I do like good-looking photos, I just like good-looking photos with context other than simply existing for social media. I said I would make a blog post as a comprehensive list, but I keep blanking out because I've been running around like a crazy person lately. I'll probably periodically update this list every once in a while.
Anyway, you should probably follow all these people (especially the ones I know, support them!). Maybe I could make a list with all my favorite "film" accounts (I included a couple of my favorite film accounts here). Notice I also like following chefs because I love seeing passion in a non-photography related field. I'm a big fan of painters too. (There's so much to discuss and delve into about food and painting, photography is a pretty limited conversation and gets boring fast)
Once you can dig past the saturated blue water, insta-models, and "travel-influencers", Instagram is a pretty creative and cool place. (Go follow @insta_repeat, a wonderful account that makes fun of the travel photos we've all seen that all look the same, not since Hipster Barbie have we had such a insightful commentary on Instagram culture)