But don’t you see, T?  Your niche is you

Hmm I hadn’t thought of that when I had a wobble on Instagram a few years ago.   I kept reading that to be successful on social media people need to have a niche, a curated feed, a USP that made people want to follow them and devour their posts.   A planned grid so the pictures when looked at all together had a theme.   Posts should be planned in advance and various editing tools used to crop, add text, blah blah blah. Consistency yaddah yaddah.

If I am honest the more I read about it the more it made me want to hurl my phone at a window and never return to Instagram.  But Instagram is my happy.   Twitter is just too full of self promotion, scheduled tweets or politics and whilst I would never leave Twitter it doesn’t make me happy when I scroll through my feed, Instagram does.   I don’t even think about Facebook as being anything other than a wall that people shout at, it is far from social for me.

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This is me today. Sitting and pondering what the hell I am doing with Instagram. Do I need a niche? I don’t have a niche. Yet I keep seeing that we need one to really smash Instagram. I’m not a foodie blogger (though we all know I bloody love my food) because I can’t really cook. I’ve got all the gear and no idea when it comes to photography so I can’t share incredible pictures. Tess Holliday has the plus size modelling market sewn up and I have zero fashion sense so that’s out. I’ve never even mastered smokey eye let alone any kind of beauty routine so beauty’s out unless “sad middle age woman looks like a drag queen who got made up in the dark” is a niche waiting to happen. My kids are now in their early twenties (or about to be) and have their own accounts so don’t need to be featured on my feed. Don’t even think about interiors, our house is a disaster. I am not exactly bursting with body confidence or positivity and there are already some incredible women nailing this niche so I’m not going to try and muscle in anytime soon. Travel would be nice but since we’ve only managed one night away in the camper van we bought last year I don’t think that’s realistic. Unless anyone wants to hear about its view of our bins. So I’m not really sure what’s left. I am a photograph it, share it kind of person, too stupid to plan ahead or make use of amazing editing apps. Which right now is leaving me feeling a bit meh. As much as we say it’s not a numbers game, it is. Instagram only gives certain features to people with a certain number of followers. Opportunities only land in the inboxes of people with engagement some of us can only dream about. It’s all about numbers and niches isn’t it? Or have I just got out of bed on the wrong side today?

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I posted on Instagram that I was having this wobble and I got inundated with people telling me that the reason they like my feed is because I am me.   There is only one me and that is my niche.   The insight my feed gave them into our life, my honesty in living a life that is far from dull was what they liked. People actually sought out my posts as I spoke about what they were thinking, or said something they needed to hear as they scrolled.

It made me happy that people thought that about me, whilst at the same time a bit sad that I hadn’t been able to see it until it had been pointed out to me (in the most part by people had never even met yet whom I view as friends).    Which also reminded me of why I love social media so much: the friendships.    If people ask me what the favourite thing is that I have got from being on line so much, it is undoubtedly the friendships.   Without hesitation the single best thing is not the holidays, the gadgets, the FA Cup for a day (don’t get me wrong they are fabulous)  it is the friendships I have developed over the years, many of them now friends in real life.

So as I pondered that evening about what I had said online, and the responses, a lightbulb went off in my head.  Why not start a little #CommuninT (see what I did, did you see what I did?) of people who like a little snapshot into other people’s lives.    My plan at that point was to share a picture everyday at 10am so we could all see what I was up to or what I was doing, and what other people were doing.   Or were doing at 3pm because we forgot to post at 10am.  You get the picture.   By using #10AmWithTea people can maybe do the same and then we can all see what people are up to.   if we have. a question, or need some advice, we can find each other and offer some help. Fast forward two years and this feels more important than ever right now.

The world is a tiny place when viewed in these squares and we are all much closer than we would otherwise be so I would like to do a little something to help foster that feeling of all coming together for a cuppa.

After all when something goes wrong in a TV drama the first thing somebody does is put the kettle on.   When we get together with friends we do it over a cuppa and cake, so maybe we can do the same virtually?

I started posting and then sort of stopped but with another lockdown in place now more than ever feels like the time to build a community around just chatting, having a virtual cuppa and feeling like we aren’t so alone.

I really hope to see you there: #10AmWithTea

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