We seem to inhabit different worlds these days, the tactile, scent-laden, visceral ‘real’ world and the electronic, glass-enclosed, remote ‘virtual’ world.
Only that’s not really true, of course, because they both interweave and blend into each other.
And this is especially true when we get the chance to mobilise our sedentary arses, get out of wherever we live and work, and actually meet, face to face.
I did that yesterday, and it was fantastic. More on that later.
I’ve got so much out of meeting people I know on Twitter, both personally – with long-lasting friendships – and business contacts. Many I’ve met at the brilliant Stratford Tweetup, run by Sharon Stephens and Lou Fox. The next Stratford Tweetup is on Thursday 14th June, 7pm at Veeno in Stratford upon Avon. I’ll be there. If you want details, just connect with Sharon or Lou.
But over the last year I’ve got more and more into Instagram. And it’s not just because, being a photographer and video maker, I’m a very visual person.
It’s because of the relationships.
For some reason, I find the conversations I have on Instagram are much deeper, and warmer than most of the conversations I have on other social media, including Facebook – where most of my family and friends are.
I’ve been fortunate to meet several people from connecting Instagram, and it’s been lovely. And I wanted to give more people the chance to meet their Instagram friends/pals/connections… whatever. Whether it’s for personal reasons, or for business/work reasons.
Do you want to meet people who are on Instagram?
So that’s why I invented Instacake.
It’s a relaxed meet up of people on Instagram. It doesn’t matter whether you have 100,000 followers, or 10. This is level-playing-field country. For more details about the event, you can read my blog here, or the ticket page here.
Before you do, I thought I’d ask some of the people coming to Instacake what they’ve got out of past Instagram meet ups, or what they’re looking forward to.
Rabya Lomas, @sheflourished_, organised her own Instagram gathering in Manchester called ‘Galentines’. I really wanted to go, but couldn’t because of my dodgy, nerve-damaged legs, but she’s coming to Instacake. Here’s what Rabya said about Galentines, and what she enjoyed about meeting ‘virtual’ friends.
Kayte Ferris, the amazing creative business coach, marketing mentor, blogger, writer and photographer, also known as @simpleandseason, said:
Todd, the best social media and marketing trainer I’ve ever known (and also a fabulous and hilarious human being) said:
He’s most used to Twitter, which may explain the brevity! Oh, and he also met his lovely partner Jo, on social media!
So whether you just want to put a face to the Instagram handle, and eat cake, and chat; or ask how other people on Instagram use it to help their business; or see how other people on Instagram take the brilliant photos they do, when you’re standing right next to them… then come to Instacake.
Unless you’re in a hurry… do read on…
If you’ve got time, a cuppa to hand, or you’re on the bus, you might want to read on about my day yesterday – it’s this that prompted me to write this post today. It’s relevant to Instacake too.
First, I met up the fabulous Sian Smith, who Instagrams her life as a Mum here, and writes HILARIOUSLY about it here. She’s also a brilliant freelance marketing and business development wizard, you can find her on Twitter here.
I first met Sian through the Stratford Tweetup, and we’d chatted a few times face to face over the years, and a lot on Twitter. But yesterday we decided to have tea and cake at the fabulous Lygon Arms in Broadway, hoping to meet our pal Jason, the manager (sadly he had to work away at short notice). We chatted for about two hours, about life, business, dreams… the best chat we’d ever had. And we’re meeting again soon to talk about potential projects. We’d have never met had it not been for social media.
Then I popped over the road (literally) to meet, for the first time, the lovely Julia Baynes, who you can find on Instagram here, and as Cotswold Place here, and Istanbul Place here. She and her husband Tarkan (who I briefly met – much tidier beard than mine) are renovating the most gorgeous little flat as a holiday let, in the gorgeous Cotswold village of Broadway.
Julia and I had a quick wander around the Broadway Arts Festival, then settled down for a coffee and veggie burger (for me, I was caked up) and a proper chat. We’d never met ‘in real life’ but because we’d chatted so many times on Instagram, and a bit on Twitter – she’s @cotswoldplace and @istanbulplace there – it was like we were already friends. Julia is a brilliant photographer, as well as beautifully renovating and letting out the most gorgeous properties. And she’ll be coming to Instacake.
I had just an hour at home before packing up my camera gear to get to the launch party of the Warwickshire Open Studios, which I’m taking part in as an artist. You can find my and My Darling Jules’ Open Studio page here, and a free ticket invitation to our own Open Studio Party on 16th June here.
Anyway, back to yesterday’s party. The organisers of Warwickshire Open Studios (who do it all as volunteers, and do an incredible job) knew I did event photography, and as I was an exhibitor they asked whether I’d mind taking some photos.
The party was at the newly opened Temperance Bar in Leamington Spa, and it’s a fabulous venue. A main room with gorgeous, big windows and potted palms, a lovely airy mezzanine level, and then a fabulous nook-and-cranny basement, beautifully cool on a hot, summer’s day, and oozing with character.
Not only that, but until the end of June, Temperance is oozing with art, including my print ‘Dragon Lily’. The coffee is very good too, and I had the biggest and best almond croissant in my life. It took me a good 20 minutes to polish off, and I’m a cake fiend, as you may have guessed.
I’ll do a proper blog about the party soon, but it was lovely to meet Geraldine (whom I’d met, briefly, two years ago via Todd) who manages the Open Studios’ Instagram account, and Rosie who manages the Open Studios Facebook Account and… coincidence alert… she also manages the Boston Tea Party Instagram Account where we are holding the Instacake gathering. I’d no idea she’d be there. Spooky, huh?
Well, that’s a nice little coda, meeting the person behind the Instagram of the Instacake venue. It really is fantastic that social media can bring people together, in the virtual and the tangible world.
It’s all the same thing you see.
I hope to see you at Instacake, if you can make it. Or have your own Instacake on June the 26th, if you can.
You can book for Instacake in Stratford upon Avon here.