The Selfie Queen. The Instagram boyfriend. The Selfie-stick couple.
We know the type all too well these days. We can spot them in a split second while strolling through town, or while dining at our favorite restaurant. The “Instagram Boyfriends” are my favorite. (If you haven’t seen the hilarious YouTube video “Instagram Husband,” watch it now!) They are the ones snapping awkwardly away while their girlfriend poses in front of some art-deco type of wall or sits elegantly sipping wine (for 20 different angles of the same shot).
People who aren’t “into that stuff” look at these social media obsessed people and chuckle, saying things like: “Silly narcissistic people. Do you seriously have to get everything on camera? It’s so annoying. Be in the present! No one cares where you’re having coffee!”
We have all heard these things said, or said them ourselves.. Am I right?
Up until this year, I will admit it, I was one of the judgy “stop taking so many f%##ing selfies!” person. I was never obsessed with social media, and I’ve always been an awkward picture poser so I don’t get the same satisfaction some girls may get from posting a selfie (probably captioned: #WokeUpLikeThis).
Before traveling internationally, I thought all social media platforms- especially Twitter- was dumb and useless. I reluctantly signed up for each platform over the years after all of my friends were far ahead of me into the abyss of selfie updates. Even back in the days of AOL and Myspace… I can remember still being on Myspace way after everyone had left the party and my “top 8” turned to a “top 4” naturally when I had no friends left online. On to Facebook, I went. Then when Twitter launched I swore up and down I would NOT do it.
Now I know better.
See: “Weekend spent on yacht in Greece” thanks to my TWITTER following. I have had numerous opportunities from all of my social media channels- especially Twitter- while learning ways to use it as a travel tool.
Each platform has a different approach that I have come to appreciate as it enables my audience to connect with me and follow along however they so choose.
Instagram, my now favorite social media platform, took me forever to get into. I was the last to jump on the bandwagon, as usual. None of it was important to me before because I saw no value for it in my everyday life. At least that’s how I saw it before my travels. I mean, how interesting is my commute to work with my venti Starbucks? Not much. That same coffee in hand while frolicking around Barcelona, however? Now, that’s worth posting on Instagram.
I’ve come to view social media as a metaphorical bridge- from me to the rest of the world.
Naturally, blogging changed my perspective (slightly) on the annoyances of social media- Instagram couples and pouty faced cafe selfies and all. I just wanted to write- at first. But “a picture tells a thousand words,” and I’ve needed as many words as possible. You see, trying to effectively sum up in words what it is really like walking through Paris for the first time at night, for example, is not easily done. Words limit the capacity at which you can fully describe how impactful certain places can be.
Pictures and social media help paint a detailed overall picture of an experience than is beyond words.
Social media and blogging have given me a platform to share my experiences with an audience across 130 countries (crazy, right?!) and it’s created a beautiful visual portfolio that I am proud of.
I never thought I’d say this, but I am eternally grateful to social media for how it has positively impacted my travels, and for keeping me connected to the ones I love from across the globe.
Social media took my blog to the next level and connected me with over 16,000 people across 130 countries. That’s no small feat to shrug off.
A few things that happened this year thanks to Social Media:
- Seat changed (on a 9 hour flight!) by tweeting airline- I ended up with my own row.
- Top tip: When you’re having trouble with an airline, tweet them to get help 100x faster than trying to call! I got a tweet back from Etihad Airways within minutes when I needed assistance with my seat arrangement.
- Weekend on a luxury yacht in Greece (in exchange for a review on my blog and live tweets)
- New friends through Facebook groups-
- Join the She Goes Global Facebook grouphere.
- Connections with locals EVERYWHERE- ie. The one who took me on a sailboat to Capri, Italy.
- Multiple free nights of accommodation in exchange for an expert review and live updates.
- Featured photos (paid) of Namaqualand flowers on New York Times after being seen on Instagram by one of their writers. See New York Times article here.
- My collective following of has reached over 16,000 across 130 counties and continues to grow, enabling me to connect with a more diverse, international audience than ever before.
Today, I’m an Expat and Digital Nomad living in Cape Town, South Africa, with a year of blogging and social media-ing under my belt. Now, I’m able to take on clients around the world and act as their Social Media Marketing Manager. I take pictures everywhere I go and now have my very own Instagram boyfriend (haha sorry Rob)! Can you believe it? Am I a walking hypocrite or evolved/changed woman? You tell me.
Perhaps this post is solely one for my mental clarity- justifying all the time I’ve spent on social media- but I think it’s one about opportunity for myself and everyone else.
Many doors have opened for me this year thanks to social media. Things I never considered possible have proven themselves otherwise by finding myself a place in this new digital world. It’s more important than ever, I believe, to find your voice online and establish some sort of brand for yourself.
I’m excited to continue to learn about digital media so I can keep connecting with so many amazing people around the world, while sharing my learnings along the way.
Thank you all for going on this journey with me, from wherever you are.
And a big THANK YOU to the bridge that is social media- it’s one I’ll never burn again.