I used to spend my days running the social media accounts of a brand. Before I changed jobs, my superiors – all ten years my senior – asked who I followed and why specifically on Instagram. They were asking because they wanted to “crack the code” of student engagement and figure out why people use Instagram.
But it got me thinking. Who do I follow? Why do I follow them?
In 2011, when I first joined the social media platform, I shared overly edited photos of my feet, my food, and flowers. That escalated to sharing screenshots of vague text conversations and inside jokes that I only shared to make myself appear more important than I really was. Even at the start, I interpreted Instagram to be a means of showing off.
Now it feels more like Instagram is the place to be seen and heard – a place to become a success. There are Instastories and branded accounts. Bloggers who hashtag #ad or #sponsored before rambling on about products I either don’t care a thing about or that will revolutionize my routines. There are hashtags that have started movements (here’s looking at you, #irunthisbody) and others that unite a group of people for one cause.
Instagram is more beautiful than it was when I first joined. Feeds are curated. People post photos just for the aesthetic. And I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes compare my bad days with the filtered feeds I scroll through. But it has some redeeming qualities.
I’ve shown support to small businesses who thrive on the app. Quotes and life coaches have inspired me. I’ve found books that changed my point of view. And I’ve also spent a lot of money on cute things I didn’t need (and one straightening brush that saved my life). Most importantly, I discovered community exists in the most surprising places.
Here are the top 4 accounts that are almost guaranteed to get a double-tap heart out of me.
Kat Goldin (@katgoldin)
I can’t remember which fiber/knitting account led me to the wonder that is Kat Goldin, but I wish I did so I could personally thank them. Please stop what you’re doing, and look through her Instagram feed. The first thing you’ll notice is how beautiful her images are. The second thing you’ll notice is that you kind of secretly wish you lived on a farm in Scotland with rambunctious sheep and goats.
She is a maker, designer and photographer windows, and her Instastories are a delight.
Rosie, The Londoner (@rosielondoner)
I found Rosie through a blog post on Pinterest, the Anti-Diet. From that blog post, I knew she would be a great internet role model – a big sister of sorts across the pond. She writes with such confidence and inspires other women to advocate and stand up for themselves while promoting luxury brands and experiences. She openly shares her life, at the risk of being criticized, because she loves the community she has built. Plus, her hair is literal #hairgoals. (See aforementioned hair straightening brush.)
Carly the Prepster (@carly)
Y’all, Carly Heitlinger is the reason I want my own personal brand just so I can have it monogrammed on a quilted Patagonia pullover. She’s a great blend of keeping it real and keeping it poised. I love her dedication to being transparent as an influencer, and I also appreciate that her main goal of blogging/Instagram is writing. She’s only blogging because it is what she loves to do. It doesn’t hurt that her dogs are adorable, too.
Jeff Mindell (@jeffmindell)
I follow Jeff Mindell because of his wife Kelly, or better known as Studio DIY. Jeff is a photographer, father, lover of Dunkin’ Donuts (but we won’t hold that against him) and a true joy to follow on social media. His photos are simply stunning. He leans towards the bright, colorful spectrum, so his feed is like a digital dose of Vitamin D.
Over the past year, it has been encouraging to watch his business flourish and his family grow. He keeps it light and happy most of the time but keeps things 100% real.
So there you have it. My favorite Instagram folks. Who do you follow?