The demise of blogging is pronounced with such extreme regularity that the patient must either long ago have entered the realms of the undead or, at the very least, be in urgent need of a better qualified physician. But while reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, accusations for hastening its end are most often laid at the door of other forms of social media, notably microblogging apps such as Twitter and Instagram.
I’ve been using Instagram a lot lately. I’ve always found myself reaching for my camera when in the garden – it’s become second nature now to take out my phone whenever I come across a plant, flower or garden view that I want to record. A photo sharing app takes this one step further through the power of social media, but one aspect I particularly enjoy with Instagram is the lack of character limit for the caption (if one does exist, I’ve yet to hit it), such that each photo can become almost a blog post in miniature. Another phenomenon is the existence of supportive communities that spring up around particular hashtags. For me, this is mircroblogging at its best, but while I’ve been immersing myself in the relatively new (to me) platform, I’ve been a less frequent sight than usual in my familiar online haunts, certainly on Twitter, and to an extent, also here on the blog.
There’s been a tab on Gardens, Weeds & Words since the get-go, leading to a page with a direct feed from my Instagram account, though admittedly it’s not the most used area of the website. What I’d really like to do is to capture some of this more spontaneous content and bring it onto the blog, and while I don’t doubt I could automate the process, that’s not something I want to do, for two reasons. Firstly, the blog has always been a place for my more considered outbursts, so abandoning the composition and publishing of regular posts to a piece of software seems a poor choice. Secondly, I’ve long been toying with the idea of publishing a regular post on the current highlights of the various gardens in which I find myself (my own tangled plot included) – partly as an aide memoire to which I can turn for reference in the future, and some authorial and editorial intervention would be useful in providing context.
With that in mind, from this week I’ll be starting a new series of blog posts, a kind of “what’s going on now in the garden” series (let’s hope I can find a less clunky title) consisting of a selection of recent Instagram posts from my own feed, interspersed with the kind of rambling you’re by now used to on these pages. I’m certain I’ll find them useful, and hope they’ll bring some enjoyment to you too.
In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, as on Twitter, at @darwinboerne
An article by Alys Fowler in the Guardian on her pick of the 10 best Instagram accounts for gardeners
An interesting post from David Marsden on the excellent blog The Anxious Gardener, which, while introducing a wealth of new garden blogs, also touches on the pull of different flavours of social media for the garden blogger.