Yep, social media can be overwhelming. What should I be worried about with this stuff? What is the best privacy setting for me? Why would I want to think about ONE MORE THING?!
I ALWAYS have too many spinning plates, but I feel like Instagram is like a little picture book or magazine of inspiration designed just for me. So start there — do it just for your own joy, not to communicate with family and friends. In fact, you don’t have to post a darn thing! You can set up an account and make it full of things that make you happy. Pop in there now and then, and fill up your soul. And you can make it completely private, so if you decide to post, it only goes to folks who have your permission to follow you.
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When Facebook took over Instagram, it changed no-sharing restrictions (people were screen-sharing without giving credit) to option buttons for you to easily share a post to Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and email and maintain the source information. But you can also keep this little treasure to yourself. Accounts look for follows, hearts (likes) and comments, and for you to dig further and check out their website and who they are from their profile page. My Instagram @GrandyCamp page is fairly new and full of cute and creative things I hope you’ll be interested in seeing, and hope will send you to the website.
WHO TO FOLLOW
I am a designer at heart, though, so my “feed” (accounts I follow) is full of color from pretty sites like @rsadventures (Road Scholar’s Instagram) and @dominomag, (a design magazine) and @smittenonpaper (a paper goods company) — you get the idea. It is like a fine design magazine with no ads. From a search, go to a profile page of someone you might be interested in, check out their "mantra" and samples of their posts and push "follow."
There may be folks you look to for a quick inspiring quote, like @supersoul or @brenebrown. Add @fortheinterested to your list!
If you like to cook, follow your favorites just to see their pretty staging or table setting, with no pressure to actually make something (but you can click the bookmark tab, too, to save it). Many have created landing pages on their profile page with the recipe or a link to the recipe like @pinchofyum, @smittenkitchen.
Follow some brands if you would like to see their latest products or a new idea using them, but keep that list slim. “Unfollow” if they only have a “meh” approach on Instagram. And, you probably already get email notifications from those anyway. I follow @stitchfix just because I like to see how they put outfits together, but I don’t have a stitchfix account.
There aren’t very many grandparent sites. Use the search button and try some out! You can find favorite crafting sites, too! Don’t be afraid to “unfollow” as you craft your perfect feed.
Certainly, you can follow friends and family, but I mostly keep that to Facebook, unless they are good photographers or make things. Remember, I am not keeping in touch here, I am feeding my soul.
These are short little video stories to give you a little more “story” behind someone you follow. They are popular, but so far, I haven’t been entertained much when I click on one. It may be my age, or the artist in me, but I think I just want visual inspiration on my Instagram – like stop talking to me and let me just look.
Check out Road Scholar’s blog about hashtags! Hashtags are just a way of organizing subjects and connecting, and there are thousands of versions. You don’t have to use them in your post at all unless you want folks to see it who might interested in the subject. You can now follow a hashtag you are interested in – just put it in the search and see what comes up. So, if you like knitting, you can be as general as #knitting to #knittingbaby, #knittinghat, #knittingisfun, #minnesotaknitters, #grandmaskills (who is actually a young mom doing grandma skills), etc. Following a subject will help you craft your feed to follow just your favorite sites from the general hashtag. It comes in really handy when you have an obscure interest. If your Instagram is about family, you could create a hashtag for your next family reunion, and be able to see all the photos from everyone at the event in one spot. If you go on a Road Scholar program, you can use #RoadScholar so the organization can see how much fun you’re having or create a hashtag with your specific group to compile everyone’s photos. If you post a picture that we would be interested in, absolutely tag with #grandycamp so we can find it! We want to see your Grand adventures, Grand cuties, and Grand creations!
If you have any questions about how to set up an Instagram, or about how to use it, Road Scholar has some great video resources that are easy to follow. Check them out here as well as their Instagram page here.
About the Author Karen Ritz, creator of the popular grandparent website Grandycamp, has a degree in Children's Literature, is a long-time children's book illustrator, and more recently, author, which has kept her in the loop for what kids are into. She has two young grandchildren of her own with whom she loves to play and be creative with when she’s not providing helpful grandparenting tips as well as insider event info curated just for you.
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