Guest post by Neely Beattie
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I spend a lot of time on Instagram. I love it there!
Today I want to tell you a few reasons why I love it because the reasons might just be something you’re seeking right now.
1. It’s simple.
All you need is an account and a phone capable of using apps. To set up your Instagram account, download the app from the app store, and use your email to sign up. Super easy!
If you’re new to Instagram, you might be a little apprehensive, but it really is pretty simple. Just give it a chance! You post a picture. The end. You can choose to add captions and hashtags if you want to (I’ll tell you later why you want to). But that’s all it is. It’s a platform to share images that mean something to you.
2. There’s community.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with hashtags, but on Instagram, you can bundle your images into categories. These categories are communities, sort of like your neighborhood!
For example, here are a few hashtags that I use for my images: #illustratedfaith #biblejournaling #journalingbible. When you add these hashtags to your posts, it’s like they get thrown into a big pot with other people’s images that are tagged with the same hashtags. When you go to a specific hashtag, you can see your image and tons of other images that have been posted by other people all in one place.
What I have found is that most people have a theme for their Instagrams that aligns with their interests. Mine are bible journaling and hand lettering.
For some people, it’s traveling. For others it’s jewelry.
Whatever your interest, there’s probably a hashtag (more than likely many, many hashtags) for you. And if you hang around the hashtags long enough, you’ll start seeing familiar faces. And then eventually…
3. You make friends.
I have met some AMAZING women through these hashtags. Other women who love art, bible journaling, and God. These women are encouraging, loving, and kind.
Connecting with these women calls to mind 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
That’s how I came to know Abby and all the rest of the tribe! She found me on Instagram!
I have gained affirmation, confirmation, a sense of community, and love from interacting with these women. Of course, it depends on the hashtags you’re frequenting, but the ones I look at are always extremely loving, so make sure you're visiting the right ones. ;)
Consider Hebrews 10:24-25 when connecting with others through Instagram.
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
4. It’s Inspirational.
Again, it will depend on what you’re looking at, but I spend a lot of time in art and religious-themed hashtags. It’s amazing to see the things that people are doing! It’s inspiring and encouraging.
I also love looking at hashtags about hiking and nature. It’s just amazing the places people go. I live vicariously through them.
Another thing I love is to look at hashtags about plants. That might seem really weird when you read it…it sounded weird typing it…but there are people out there with amazing house plant collections, and I love looking at them and learning about these different kinds of super cool houseplants.
5. It’s educational.
There are tons of talented, neat people on Instagram. I have learned so much by looking through different hashtags.
I’ve learned about plants and some of the really crazy, cool types there are.
I have explored different scenic locations and learned of all the places I want to go someday. I have watched people replay iPad videos of hand lettering and attempted my hand at it as well.
And one of my favorite, most rewarding things is reading the mini devotionals of people who share their hearts in the caption below their bible journaling pages. I have found authors, books, and products that I’d never have found otherwise that have really been great.
Proverbs 16:16 reminds me what a gift it is to learn from others—How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!
6. It provides opportunity.
Since I have been posting on Instagram, I have been blessed with so many opportunities to do cool things that I would never have been able to do otherwise. You’re looking at one of them!
Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days, and what doors have opened thanks to Instagram!
I have met people I would have never met before. I have shared my testimony and love for Jesus across the whole platform to people that I could have never reached otherwise. You never know how God is going to use you!
If you’re looking for a place online that has endless opportunities to connect with people who love the same things you do, Instagram is a great place to do that!!
Of course, interaction is important. If you see someone’s post that you think is awesome, let them know! You can’t make friends if you don’t say hi. :)
If you’re craving encouragement and kindness from community, there’s a chance that someone else is too, and your feedback will brighten their day!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Sometimes they may not respond if they have a HUGE following and just can’t see all their comments. Most of the time, however, the regular Janes will respond and be encouraged by your kindness and will usually return the favor later on down the road.
Please keep in mind no online community can ever replace the people in your life or going out and making friends IN PERSON around your community.
Sometimes people from across the world can become your great friends and could be just who you need. God will know. They don’t always have to be in your backyard :)
I hope to see you around! You can find me on Instagram at @neelysphoto! Come say hi!