instagram matters

instagram is a little portfolio. it could be of your life, your art, your shop, your products, or your perspective. but the truth of the matter is that it can do almost everything a website does but better. i am not suggesting that you game the platform, but maybe figure out the best way to use it.

as with any creative endeavor, find the people who do it well and identify what makes their profiles work. i am a huge fan of the way aoc uses instagram, so i tried to think about what was good about it. her posts feel authentic, not over-polished, and full of useful information that relates to her mission. thus, i try to shape my presence in a similar way.

i recently did a bit of consulting work for a cafe. “why do i need instagram?” the owner asked me. i told him the truth: when a customer considers coming to your cafe, instagram will likely be the first or second thing they check when they decide whether or not they’ll stop in for the first time. and, being near a train station, this is especially true for out of towners.

for you, how can you make a first impression on instagram to show your audience what you’re all about? who does instagram well, and how can you take parts of what they do and make them yours?

finding your professors

we are very lucky that we have the opportunity to follow very smart people on twitter. we can follow journalists, entrepreneurs, artists, experts, amateurs, you name it. sometimes it feels like i am creating my own curriculum when i am curating my twitter and instagram feeds.

this leads me to my ongoing obsession with joi ito, the current director of the mit media lab who shares his conversations with smart friends via his podcast “joi ito’s conversations”. listening to these conversations makes me feel like i am strolling through the mit campus and having lunch with people doing cutting edge work. it is invaluable.

previously, i would have to get accepted to mit to have this kind of experience, so even have a glimpse of what was considered cutting edge. but these podcasts bring me so close to the frontier in a way that the new york times never could. primary sources, though they are sometimes difficult to fully understand, contain some of the realest information that is “crunchy”, or contain substance that usable.

since joi ito’s thoughts are so ready available, i latch onto them with dear life because it is the one place on the internet where i feel i am getting honest and relevant information. further, each of the people he talks to opens up another door for me to figure out what is possible, and what the smartest people in the room are working on.

who are your professors and mentors, and what gifts are they sharing for free online?