As an author, in order to sell books, among other things, I have a responsibility to be on multiple social media platforms every day. That doesn't mean, though, that I like to. The responsibility is just that: a responsibility, like doing the dishes, or going to work, neither of which I necessarily want to do. I'm not on nearly enough of the various platforms as consistently as I need to be, but there are so many that I can't keep up. But I am active on the sites that anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last twenty years would recognize by name, unfortunately. Truthfully, I don't like how Facebook encourages its users to argue with each other with the reply feature and tagging feature (why not tag your friends to fight your argument for you?!). Twitter is not a great place to make genuine connections anymore, with the hundreds of auto direct messages I get and the link dump on my feed and even on my notifications (some authors think it's acceptable to mention me with their book links and blog posts without asking me first).
And then there is Instagram.
If you looked at my Instagram feed, you'd see a bunch of young people posting the most stunning photos of novels, a few vapes (though I've unfollowed most of them due to the environment of the industry, but that's another article entirely, or five), and dogs. A LOT of dogs.
Meet Ollie, the gorgeous baby pitbull puppy now with the couple responsible for the IG page @heydognicevan.Prior to his adoption, Ollie was nurtured to health and cared for by Candice, an amazing rescuer in Oregon. She is the owner of the very popular IG page @roofusandkilo and is the one of many foster families making the Internet, and the real world, a better place. Via short videos and photos, myself and my boyfriend fell in love with Ollie, really considering driving fifteen hours to pick him up. We would have had we not had more than enough dogs (and cats) to take care of already (the city laws where we live limit the amount of pets you are allowed to have). Candice posted a video of herself crying in the car when Ollie was adopted - which was always her goal - and I really found myself in tears when I watched it. My boyfriend and I follow countless accounts like this - good people doing amazing things for these beautiful stigmatized animals - and it really does make the world a place I want to live in.
There was only one instance of Candice being trolled or bullied on Instagram, that I know of, and it was enough to make her want to quit. But of course, in typical Instagram fashion, all of her followers came out of the woodworks to tell her how amazing she is, myself and my boyfriend included, and she stayed, after we all begged her to. Thankfully. My life wouldn't be nearly as happy without IG accounts like @roofusandkilo.
@noelaniig is another woman who fosters pitbulls and offers them for adoption, probably one of the accounts with the most followers. She's written countless articles for The Huffington Post including Why a Pit Bull Could be the Perfect Foster Pet for You. One of her dogs whom she helped rescue, alongside @fresnobullyrescue, a personal friend of hers, acts as a mother to every puppy Noelani brings in with the goal of adoption. Her name is Angel and she is the sweetest, caring, most mothering creature I have ever seen in my life. The kind temperament and innocent - and sometimes hilarious - personalities of these dogs brightens my day every single time I scroll Instagram.
As long as you stay away from subjects that are likely to have people trolling as I do, and keep your feed limited to happy people (books and puppies, duh), you will be pleasantly surprised by the kind and uplifting comments on the posts. If there is ever someone saying something negative or downright stupid, you have at least ten more people defending the person whose only goal is to share love and joy.
I wonder about Instagram and the psychology behind people like myself who prefer to spend their time on IG instead of Facebook and Twitter. As an author, again, to sell books, I should be marketing my products on Instagram, being connected with so many literature accounts as I am, but I really don't. I find myself just posting what makes me happy. I used to share some stuff about my books, but after being desensitized from the need to sell sell sell all the time by the kindness and the love I have experienced from the friends I've made there, I unconsciously stopped bothering with it. It has become an escape for me from the bullshit arguments on Facebook and the influx of book links and articles on Twitter I'll never have time to read. The thought of every person with such a supportive nature on every social media site instead of the constant trolling and putting down of people is intriguing, to say the least. What if the comments on your articles and blogs were always respectful, even if they were critical? What if your Facebook threads were filled with more heart emojis than words? What if all it took to brighten the day of thousands of people was to post a video of your dog? Would you do it?
Because that's exactly what the people of Instagram do. Every day.
It's time, in my opinion, to rethink what we are really trying to accomplish in our lives on the Internet, and if the cost of our successes of throwing out our opinions and arguing our point is worth it. Is it worth it? Worth what? Getting mad over? Losing connections? Friends? People you love? I'm afraid of even posting any type of article on this very website because of the horrible comments I get. I sit back and watch how some writers and bloggers think it's okay to talk down to their readers like every single one of them is below them. It's really disgusting, and I think, my plan, going forward, is to just link these kinds of people to Instagram. They obviously need something in their life. Puppies will do.