a follow up :)

Isn’t it wild to look back on our lives and see the hand of God? He really does write the best stories.

I realized that what I wrote last week could have come across a little holier-than-thou — unfortunately, I’m great at doing that.

When I was a freshman in college I kept notes of people’s Instagram names on my phone so I could look them up and try to be like them.

I
am
not
kidding

Instagram makes it easy to spend time scrolling through curated accounts, and I remember finding the accounts of these perfect girls, Christian and in a sorority at a school like Arkansas or Ole Miss and probably Young Life leaders, and I had this visceral desire to be them.

The parts of our lives we choose to share can be so aspirational, meant to create desire or longing in other people for a life as exciting and busy and never-boring as ours. Or what we share can just regular snippets of a life lived, stumbled through, and appreciated – but because of my strong, strong desire to be somewhere other than my own life, what was shared left me feeling empty nonetheless. Continue reading “a follow up :)”

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aesthetics, power and instagram

A few days ago, I was scrolling through the Instagram Discover page and tapped “Read more” on a relatively long caption — a few paragraphs. That tap on the “Read more” button is one way Instagram tracks engagement, a critical data point to weave posts up your feed that you, specifically you, will engage with.

Tech says this: engagement is king, queen and the whole court.

When I was in Miami visiting a friend this past weekend, we talked about how you choose how to use your influence. We also walked through the Wynwood Walls, and before we rounded the corner she said, “just so you know, Miami is pretty superficial. Everyone will probably be taking solo shots.” I hail from the fake-candid-laughing-big-group-shot-with-friends world, where we shy away from asking for solo shots to avoid looking vain. But she was right — lots of solo posing, lots of serving looks, lots of Instagrams, some for #sponsored posts, I’m sure.

Once I tapped “Read more” on that photo a couple days ago, I kept scrolling and saw how the Discover algorithm placed post after post in front of me with the exact same formula: girl, white, pretty skinny, posing profile or with her back to the camera, in an exotic perfectly-saturated location. At least 10 of the same formulaic photo appeared before I got spooked and decided to do something else.

(Engagement is king, right? So we go where the likes are.)

Since brands hand out clout (and money) to those with largest followings, and sponsorship can so easily become aspirational, contrived, toxic — how do you make the choice to be authentic? Continue reading “aesthetics, power and instagram”

line items

Isn’t it fascinating that the line items we create in the budgets of our lives sustain the lives of others?

Lots of people buy ClassPass memberships each month, and because of that, I can pay my rent, buy groceries and do other things with money that adults do. Because other people made room in their lives for ClassPass, I can make room for Trader Joe’s, and so on and so on.

Clearly my unit economics are wrong. Clearly this model isn’t about making line items to support people, it’s about the service we’re getting.

But what if it were about the people? What would change about my attitude toward money and where I place it if I thought about the people behind that money?

Continue reading “line items”