Expanding Networks

For more than a year I’ve had a Facebook page for The Writingwolf. There I’ve shared interesting articles, links to both the fun and the profound, and helped publicize my blogging. For longer than a year I’ve resisted branching outward and expanding my social media network, but you may have recently noticed that’s changed: For the past few weeks, I’ve had links to both my Twitter and my Instagram profiles–where I’m Writingwolf2010 on both–but I’ve yet to make an announcement or explain why.

So a few words are in order–why have I branched out, and why should you follow?

I must admit, my longstanding opposition to Twitter was petty: Student leadership scandals are few and far between (at least for me), but there once was a time when Twitter was discussed, and despite having thought we all decided not to pursue the plan, it was done behind my back, so I boycotted the website. It was purely a position of values: I would never have opposed Twitter if they had spoken with me first, even if I had disagreed with its utility, but the fact it was done without discussion offended me. It seemed disrespectful and rude, so I pledged to have nothing to do with it.

Then last year at an advocacy training, I was introduced to the efficacy of using Twitter to raise awareness about social justice issues. Deciding past protests should be set aside in favor of present progress, I created a handle then and there–but as long-time readers may know, I’m a busy guy, and just because I was now on Twitter did not under any stretch of the imagination mean I knew how to use it or would use it regularly. Usually I didn’t.

However, it’s been a goal to use Twitter more, and on the whole I tend to–but I find it’s a different side of media. I enjoy writing lengthier, thought-driven and provocative pieces. That doesn’t fly with a certain blue little bird. Instead I mention social justice issues as I can and elsewise use Twitter in a more colloquially, personal manner: I make jokes, day-to-day observations, and catalog happenings of immediate interest. It is, by definition, a platform of microblogging, and that is how I’ve come to use it. I’m still not Tweeting habitually, but for those who like a little lighter reading, it’s an outlet I’m now using.

Follow me on Twitter: @Writingwolf2010

Next is Instagram–which I wasn’t using simply because I had no reason to. Then, in December, I was with my fiance, and well, he Instagrams. So he showed me how, and I tried to resist–but ultimately it became too much fun. I’ve cataloged trips and events on Facebook, but never have I had an opportunity to share these glimpses of the world with, well, the world. Instagram allows me to do this, and contrasted with my text-driven blogging on WordPress and even Twitter, using it creates a lovely balance for those who may find themselves drawn to the more visual and colorful world of photoblogging.

For the time being, I’ve only posted pictures between March and the beginning of August. I’m an INTJ, I prefer things in order, a big-picture sort of person, so when I began using Instagram, I began with the oldest pictures on my phone and I’ve slowly been working my way to the present. In the future, I may decide to look back and share some pictures from Belize or even Israel, but for now I’m trying to get current and use it as a means of sharing those moments I find most moving and beautiful.

My goal throughout blogging has been to create change–Words and Wonders, as I’ve called it–and while typically I use my words to shape these images, the wonders I see, sometimes words are simply insufficient and these wonders must be visualized to be experienced. Some may argue the use of photoeditors such as Instagram is inherently dishonest, since each vignette is reshaped and slightly altered from how it in actuality had been, but for the most part this hasn’t bothered me: It’s a production of art, not a pure form of archiving history, and as such these mechanics can and should be used to highlight the experiences being shared: the intimacy of a kiss, the beauty of a landscape, the humbling form of an impoverished woman begging for money.

To turn these moments into art is to make them memorable, impactful. To share these moments is to create interest and to create change, and that is how I want to shape the world. Indeed, that is how the world wants to be shaped, or why would so many people be on Instagram and Twitter? To ignore these outlets today is foolish and, yes, ignorant.

More importantly, Twitter and Instagram enable a deeper level of community building than a simple blog. Here I often feel one-sided–I say words and others read them, but dialogue and exchange are limited and uncommon, despite my desire for more. My school, work, and family schedules often preclude me from reading other blogs extensively, and that too hinders my ability to build a community around the Writingwolf. But with Instagram and Twitter, it’s easier to connect and share these moments, and I hope that will help me to build a better network and not only speak to my readers, but hear from them as well.

Follow me on Instagram: Writingwolf2010

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