By Ourit Ben Haim
Having a presence on social media today is standard fare and basic for communication with individuals and businesses alike. The digital age has made bloggers of all of us, and with this development is also a deepening world of range for how to go about it in a rewarding way. The blogging platforms that we’re now all familiar with such as Linked In, Facebook, and Instagram are themselves evolving in ways that transcend the platforms themselves. Today it is less about the particular blogging platform and more about if and how we use the tools that they all provide.
At the moment, my personal favorite blogging format on social media is the Stories channel that can now be found on most major social media platforms including the popular WhatsApp. Stories are unique in that they have a 24 hour lifespan after which the moments shared then disappear. For the past year and since lockdown life, I’ve found that the Stories space allows for a kind of intriguing authenticity. As well, comments on Stories are sent as private messages, which offers a less performative and more direct relationship with audience engagement.
Below are a sample of recent stories that I’ve shared on my personal accounts on multiple platforms simultaneously. All of them were made in the same moment that is shown. I used the Instagram Story platform to create them, as Instagram currently has the best tools for making Stories. Once I posted on Instagram, it shares automatically to my Facebook Stories and I manually download and insert them in to my WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Fleets by Twitter Stories when applicable. This means a vast and wide multi-platform network is able to tune in to my Stories as I share them.
Above, local Sira Yoga Jerusalem teacher Lula Almog demonstrating a Yoga pose on a shelf in a packed class. While old school blogging was primarily text with the occasional photo, these days the situation is inverted, with occasional text atop a photo as the popular way of sharing. I didn’t document and share the Yoga parts of life on my social media channels until I started using Stories. The ability to share a transient moment in a transient way opened up a natural possibility to express more aspects of my life.
Photography is the main subject of most of my personal social media accounts. I’ve been an avid street photographer for well over a decade, and sharing my images online has been a deeply rewarding and cherished part of my life. This also meant that I limited my usage of the platforms to that particular purpose, and was less likely to suddenly express my personal review of a restaurant or share moments of a party I attended the night before. With Stories there is now a specific digital space for all moments, and sharing them can add dimension to your general online presence in a way that doesn’t confuse it.
Above is my review of the bike sharing system that has recently been installed in the city of Jerusalem. This kind of review felt easy and natural to share in my Stories, and created high engagement within my accounts. Some who messaged me asking to know more about the new bikes then took a look at my portfolio of street photography on the main pages of my accounts, and from there went to my websites. In addition, the ability to tag relevant accounts to a Story, like the account of the City of Jerusalem above, enables larger purpose, in this case a kind of civic duty.
Even within the niche that I usually share, the Stories medium creates the possibility to deepen the experience. Above is a street photography style video I shared in the moment that I was seeing it one morning. Showing the live moment allows a kind of sharing of the eyes of the street photographer live in action. The Stories medium can tell the story about the story that you’re already telling, and this added layer of connection can be very illuminating and precious.
In accordance with its transient nature and 24 hour cycle, the Stories medium has a natural ongoing rhythm to it. At first, this can seem overwhelming to some, as the thought of creating content in a never-ending way can seem tiresome. The wonderful thing about Stories, is that as you allow it to follow your natural flow of life, it will reveal your content for you. Below is a snapshot of what I now label the Friday Flowers, after it showed up as a pattern that I was sharing the particular flowers I got every week. I didn’t plan on this being a thing I share, but now if I miss one week I might get a message asking me if I neglected to get flowers that week.
Usually it’s just one bouquet that I get for myself but the purple roses above were for my friend who was getting married the following Sunday. Below is the Story I shared as I was picking up her veil on a Friday afternoon. This was an instantly aesthetic moment to share, and in terms of telling a story this served as a precursor to the posts I was to share the following week from the wedding event itself.
The above Story of the veil I picked up was shared in between my other Stories showing street photographs I was making that same morning as well. For the portion of my audience that follows me for my street photographs this kind of story is of interest within that context too, as it showcases a behind the scenes of what brought me in to a neighborhood where I then made street photographs.
Below is a street photograph made on the same street where I picked up the veil. Taken with an iPhone 11 pro max, this boy selling snacks and toys on a hot and quiet Friday was a moment that couldn’t be missed.
To see more of Ourit Ben-Haim’s street photography, and to view her stream of personal Stories, follow her on Instagram: @Ourit , Facebook: facebook.com/ourit , or visit her at www.SheSaidUnprintableThings.com. To consult with the UnprintablethingS communications agency by Ourit for how to use Social Media strategically and successfully, e-mail Ourit@unprintablethings.com