I've always been wary of social media. After graduating from college, I closed my Facebook account when I stumbled across the quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy." It brought my social media use into sharp focus, and I realized that I wasn't gaining anything positive from the hours I wasted reading other people's over-shares and browsing party photos.
Then I found Instagram. It started as a creative outlet for my own amusement. I was enthralled by the feeling, the sense of nostalgia, that a filter could add to a photo snapped on my iPhone. In the beginning, I was your average Instagrammer, taking pictures of food and random items I came across, consciously keeping track of how many photos I was taking of Daisy so as not to seem obsessed. Those days are looong gone.
On Instagram I found an amazing community of creative people who love the outdoors and their dogs as much as I do. My followers and the folks I follow are not people I went to school with or met once at a party, but mostly people I have never met, who share similar passions. We have come to know each other on a certain level from the window these photos provide into our lives and the positive encouragement we exchange.
I love being transported back to foggy San Francisco with Juliette (@spirson) and darling Laika on their daily walks.
And seeing Delani (@lane_tay) haul ass down the mountain with a GoPro and Baker at her heels.
And witnessing the bond between Chelsea and Gracie (@graciethelabrador), apparent in each soulful look that she captures on camera.
And tagging along on the epic adventures of John (@johnstortz) and Wolf all over the West.
Sure, I have my moments of irritation with people on Instagram. The preachy-types who claim you are "abusive" to your dog because you don't feed them a raw diet. The idiots who lash out at Theron Humphrey (@thiswildidea), saying his photos of Maddie (AKA Maddie on Things) are cruel. But for the most part, it's easy to avoid the drama.
I can say with confidence that Instagram has connected me to people in a way I never imagined possible on a social media platform. It has lead me to discover amazing artists and photographers who inspire me creatively, companies that I am proud to promote on my blog and people who are real, supportive and positive.
With a big move on the horizon to a seemingly isolated part of the world, it is comforting to know that I will always have this community to share with and continually be inspired by.