Insta{nt} friends: the case for social media

I'm one of the many people who has utilized social media to drive traffic to my blog and grow its following while simultaneously wingeing about all of it. I've complained about the changes in Instagram's algorithm {please, let things go back to chronological order, k thanks}, and deleted my Facebook account for months at a time. I can't remember the last time I used Snapchat or Twitter, though I'm sure I could check and find out if I wanted. I've never downloaded or used Tinder, Bumble, or any other dating/friendship apps. I'm just not into it. And that's alright. 

But, right when I'm about to swear off the internet in its entirety, I'm reminded {in big ways and small} that social media has brought me some incredible opportunities. Not just for this blog and not just for travel...but for my offline life. 

Here's the thing: when we use social media as a bridge, it becomes a tool for real-life collaboration and connection. Which is exactly what I found with Kirstie, who wrote a killer piece on the relationships that can come from social platforms. 

When I first told people I was going to fly to South Korea for the Olympics and to see my friend...I left out the part about me having never met her previously. People probably think I'm insane for flying from China to South Korea to meet someone I had only ever spoken with via Instagram and to those people I say...yeah, it really could have gotten weird, huh? But I lucked out and it didn't and I knew it would all be okay because we've been blogging buddies for long enough that by the time I landed in Seoul, I felt like I already knew Kirstie. 

By connecting with Kirstie online, I got the chance to meet not only her, but her friends. She picked me up from the airport with a hug and a handmade sign, and off we went to meet her friend, Todd. Kirstie and I spent the night at his house before the three of us made our way via train to Gangneung, where the ice sports are being held for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Todd was generous, friendly, and made me instantly feel comfortable staying in his house even after I accidentally pushed a panic button in his bathroom that sets off his home alarm system. 

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And it didn't stop at meeting Todd. I got to meet more of Kirstie's mates and even Todd widened my Seoul-circle by introducing me to his friends. It was an absolutely epic time with quality people and I just can't help but be grateful to the little app on my phone for connecting us. Instagram and it's little life squares finally put the "social" in "social media." 

I want to be clear that I totally believe social media creates a lot of unnecessary shit storms. People ripping off others' ideas. People having platforms to bully or harass and then hide behind. False expectations of destinations and overexposure to insane beauty standards. Pressure to constantly buy the latest thing and consume, consume, consume. And, let's not forget my least favourite part-- a blurry line between what remains private and what gets shared. It's a line I've finally drawn hard in my sand but it's always something to think about, aye? 

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Despite the issues it causes, the reason I've kept blogging for so long is the same reason I've kept up my Instagram account and the same reason I re-activate my Facebook-- the community and potential for collaborating with people is such a thing of beauty. 

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing my time with Kirstie in South Korea in the form of blog posts, Insta pics, and a video {epic!!}. And with every post or picture or video I share, I want you each to know that it's all the product of a friendship started thanks to {of all the things in this world} Instagram. Cool things happen when you empower others, reach out to them, and create community online.

Let's build friendships that translate offscreen and make memories, some that we share and others that we don't. 

And special shoutout to Kirstie, for planning the most epic week/weekend. You the real MVP. 

Let's connect! Follow me on Instagram here xx