Let’s Be Real Online

“When ambition ends, happiness begins.” – Thomas Merton

I have been active on social media for about 5 years now. I used to only post on Facebook to mainly showcase what was happening with my family. When I started to get into photography in 2017, and I enjoyed the photos I had taken so much that I wanted to share them with the world. I started to post my photos on an Instagram account I created that focuses mainly on photography and my life as an elementary school teacher. Over time I started to connect with other photographers and teachers. Many of them have inspired me to be a better person, understand more about education, find great places to take photographs, and show me more techniques in order to do better. Social media has been a tool that I have used to grow in my understanding of many areas.

I think we all know that social media has a dark side to it. We have all heard of the stories of fake identities and bullying that happens on social media. However, I want to focus on the self-centered side of social media. When I started to become active on Instagram, I noticed that different accounts would follow me, and they had a high number of followers. At first, I felt honored that some social media guru thought my little photography page was so good that someone great was following it. A few weeks later I noticed all of a sudden, the person who had all of these followers stopped following me after I followed them back. I learned later that this was a social media tactic used to gain followers. It’s a little shady in my opinion. Instead of this person getting follows for great content, they get followers by following then unfollowing. I personally do not do this. If I follow you, it is because I like your content, and it adds value to my life.

I want to share the ways I try to be a good citizen on social media. Hopefully they will help us all be better.

📱Follow other users because you value their content, and it adds value to your life. There are billions of people on the internet, and not all of them are worth the time to follow. Only follow people who help you become a better person, help you improve your craft, and add value to the world. I do not follow people with the goal of having them follow me back. If they do, great, it not life goes on. I will continue to follow that person as long as their posts are something I enjoy looking at.

❤ I strive to be kind online. There are too many people on social media who are rude and bully others online. I strive to be kind because I have had others be unkind to me. I remember when everyone at my school was required to wear a mask while in the building. I posted about this, and I remember one person’s angry response with me. He told me that I was responsible for sowing fear into the lives of children, and I was causing them irreparable harm. I tried to have a conversation with this individual, not to win him over, but to see if he would try to see my side of the situation. After my first comment, he then wrote an even worse diatribe about how I was killing the children. After that, I deleted his comments, and unfollowed him. I have also had people criticize my photography before saying I should just buy better equipment if I want to take better photos. Both of those are examples of people who were not kind. If I don’t like an image I see online, I just ignore it and move on. My goal is to offer encouraging words when possible.

🖼 My goal is to post good and authentic content. I try to be my real self when I post online. I don’t want people to see a fake version of me that is not real. I try to post photos and content that others could potentially be interested in reading.

I took these photos over on the corner of Trade and Tryon Street in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. This section of Charlotte is considered to be the center of town. These two streets are the main streets in Uptown. I was riding my bike around Uptown a few weeks ago, and the sky was not really clear at the time. I took advantage of the cloud and did some slow shutter speed photography at this one particular water feature.

I want to hear from you. What are some ways you practice being a good citizen online?


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