On September 7, 2016, my dog passed away. Instincts sent me straight to my phone and there I was: half tears and half smiles, thinking about how to perfectly craft a commemorative post in his memory.
It was my first Instagram posts in weeks, so I didn’t really know where to begin. I hated obsessing over creating the perfect post, which is why I hardly ever used the platform. Whenever I did post, it was usually during a life-changing event, like the loss of my dog, high school graduation, or a birthday. This process made me really think about my purpose on these platforms and how ‘connected’ I had been with my audience. I was creating posts to increase engagement insetead of connecting with my followers.
One day, I stumbled upon a 365 Project post – a project that challenges Instagram users to post a new piece of content every day. I saw how much this project motivated users to share their experiences every day. It was then that I was inclined to take on the challenge. I wanted to see if I could connect with my followers a little more, learn something from posting every day, and maybe, just maybe, like the platform a little more.
(1/365) a lot of things have happened during these last few days: I lost my best friend, I moved into my first apartment, shoved an apartment worth of stuff in to this car, got fined by Mass' finest, and more. Don't really know what to feel, but hey, I'm going to start posting a picture every day for a year and see what I can learn from it… #project365 #ayearofphotos
I recently hit the halfway mark on my 365 Project. Since then, I’ve added a personal twist to the project. I not only post every day, I also talk about the people who have influenced me throughout the year and give advice to my followers. Anyways, here are the six lessons I’ve leant so far.
1.) People like seeing people. My top performing posts include my face or the faces of my friends and family.
2.) It’s hard to mask reality. Things happen in life and it is incredibly difficult to find a balance with what is appropriate to share and what is not. Opening up about my terrible day at school, my emotions, or even a bad hair day has enabled me to build a new bond with my followers.
3.) People genuinely care about one another. They are willing and happy to listen, give advice, and sometimes bond over life’s speedbumps.
(144/365) in this room I thought a lot about progress in life; personal and professional. How it's important to look on experiences, the good and bad, as steps forward. How, although it's important to strive for the best it's ok to experience some bad, because that helps move forward. One of my professors keeps telling my class, "fail forward, and fail frequently." So, I guess what I think trying to say is that it's chill to fail but fail with a hunger for something better, bigger, forward. Fun fact: I was a terribly mischievous kid and I was well acquainted with trouble and punishment. As a result, my parents used to lecture me on life lessons that they have learned from failures, successes, and more. Being the little turd I was, I chose not to listen. Although I 1000% respect and cherish their advice, my (genetically inherited) stubbornness made me want to learn from my own mistakes. I don't know where I'm taking this post but I thought about this today and how finding the balance between failing and maintaining that drive for success is so important to healthy living and growth altogether. #365project #ishouldsleep
4.) Imperfections are OKAY. The perfect post does NOT exist, and that is completely fine.
5.) Posting daily has pushed me to become a better photographer, to write more, and to try something new every day.
(108/365) behind the scenes. • • • I've been thinking a lot about the things that make us different; what we are taught to believe and what we make from our life experiences. From early in life we are taught to have manners, respect the rules, and do as we are told. But I feel as if personal experience, and the development of our characters through friends, family, role models, and environments have a greater impact on who we come to be and how we interact. I feel incredibly blessed and privileged to have grown up, and continue to live, around people who are driven by respect, loyalty, hospitality, generosity, humility. It shapes who I am today and who I aspire to be. Thank you friends and family 🙂 #365project
6.) Which brings me to my last lesson learnt: doing what makes me happy is all that really matters. And if that is expressing myself through the 365 Project, then so be it!
(183/365) Running Springs // @jgeneral is a strong believer of celebrating the sunset, and realizing its importance to us and how we've been taking for granted this thing that it does at the end of the day for centuries. thanks for reminding me to appreciate the powerful subtleties of life bud #365project
Navigating this challenge has been very interesting. It has allowed me to reflect on my social media presence; including the accuracy of my images, the purpose of my content, and the audience I attract. And now, instead of posting for the sake of posting, I will post with intent to reflect on who I am.
Have you tried the 365 Challenge? If so, what have you learnt from the experience?