I had a tough time embracing Facebook and Twitter as my go-to social channels for storytelling. Crafting compelling 140 character blurbs on Twitter continues to be a stretch. I still find Facebook a challenging place to engage my audience with meaningful content.

My previous role as creative director gave me access to great DSLR gear, a 5D MkII and an arsenal of L lenses. Yet, I lost the inspiration to just go out and shoot. Shooting became just a task, revolving around projects and events. When I left my role last year, all the SLR gear was returned. I only had my iPhone. I’m still experiencing some withdrawal. I hope to pick up a mirrorless camera in the future.

Then Instagram came into my life. Instagram reignited my love for photography and storytelling. I am now compelled to look at everything around me in a different light. Life became one big photo op, a never-ending opportunity to tell a story. Instagram also made social media finally make sense for me.

The storytelling potential with Instagram is huge. It’s a (hopefully) a compelling photo coupled with a (hopefully) compelling story. The audience engagement has been mind blowing. The reach of a story is now enormous, a potential Instagram audience of 100 million. You can also share your Instagram post with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and foursquare. You’ve just anted up on the exposure factor.

I do think that photos alone can tell a story but it isn’t the whole story. What do you think?

  • Very well said, Dude: photos alone can tell a story, but they don’t always (or often) tell the whole story. I’ve enjoyed putting extra thought into the captions I post with my photos on Instagram. Sometimes they are long, other times short, and sometimes even a few words, but I nearly always think hard about what I want to say and how to say it.

    • I hope you don’t think too long or hard about your captions, Tim. That’s one thing that I’m working on. My perfectionist ways serves as a barrier to sharing more thoughts. I’m also not a writer type. I think it’s important to be intentional about what you communicate though. Life is not random.

      • So, I’ve finally figured out (or am starting to figure out) the whole Disqus thing, which is how I realized you responded to my comment 3 months ago. Sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I know what you mean about perfectionism getting in the way of sharing thoughts. I guess I do fancy myself a writer, but that doesn’t make perfectionism any less of an enemy.

        • Ha! No worries, friend. Looking forward to your shared thoughts on the blog!

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  • New love, same hobby! Glad you’re back into doing what you love and gifted at. It’s a difficult question posed about what a medium can accomplish and even with the medium itself, how one wields and utilize it effectively. My thought is “it depends” on what we mean by a story. Is it a long narrative like a Dickens or short story? Or are we trying to make a point which is shorter still? And what is our intent of the story that we want to tell? To make a point, alter a view, or document our life? I think photos are effective at arousing an emotional response from the viewer. When that emotional connection is made, the viewer adds the narrative and fills in the blanks from their context or experience. But as a whole, a collection of images or photos can tell longer narratives and stories when pieced together from the viewpoint of us as historians looking into a culture. I love this medium but I’m glad we are created to receive different mediums like books, motions pictures, and music. I’m always interested to learn different views and see what works well so we can tell a compelling story. You’re the man Dan!

    • Great points, Tony. I also agree that “it depends”. Depending on the intended goal and context, there’s an infinite number of possibilities. In the context of IG, for most feeds, I see fragments of images that collectively, don’t tell a story. The stories appear in the detail and accompanying caption of each shot. Ultimately, we’re all wired to communicate, just differently.