December 20, 2015

Death Becomes Me: How Instagram Shaved a Second Off My Life

This photo was posted by an Instagram account that I've been watching with skepticism. They post some weird content, but they're a fairly new IGer (only 48 posts as of today) so I've been waiting to see how the account develops before following. When this photo was posted three weeks ago, I bit my tongue. When they posted a photo of a fly with the caption declaring it a beautiful bee, I had to say something. Luckily my comment was on the Water Wings photo, as the bee fly photo seems to have been deleted.

I chastised New York Bee Sanctuary for wasting the opportunity to educate. After all, to "educate" is one of the four tenets of their mission. They didn't respond but another IGer did, saying my comment was "immature." And that's where my life got cut short a second. It was distressing to be called immature and I was irritated that this person needed to be educated by me. (Which I did, and she was thankful.)

I don't expect every Instagrammer to take every opportunity to educate, nor do I expect every IGer to be a social media expert. But you can't just say something to 1,976 people and then just walk away. The reason it's called "social media" is because you're supposed to, you know, socialize. If you represent a brand, you're a "brand ambassador." As an ambassador, if you don't speak, listen and respond then you should be fired. Maybe it's a simple TY! or :) but I make it point to respond to just about every comment someone leaves on my posts. It's just common courtesy. Oh wait… that's as common as common sense so what am I ranting about?

Part of why I'm so irritated is that they are applying for 501c3 status. As a board director for a 501c3 that represents a medically underserved community, I find it really hard to get behind an organization that is asking for donations of land or money for bees. Having a rare disease without a cure totally sucks. Feeling bad for bees is a choice. NYBS has a page on their website (which is really broad but really shallow) asking folks to join their Wildflower Boom. What is that, you ask? I don't know. This is what I mean by shallow. The page dedicated to the "initiative" basically says this. Cindy and Bobby came up with a great idea. Cindy is pretty and privileged. Bobby is creative but has trouble focusing. Boom, there it is.

#savethebees NYBS aims to support honey bees and native pollinators but #savethebees is the leading hashtag on virtually every one of their posts. When you see this hashtag the "the" means honey bees, which are not native to the US. Do they realize this? A lot of beekeepers don't, and they wonder why the honey bee has problems here. Seriously, if they expect people to send them donations, they need to offer something of value in return. Authenticity, authority, action. All this run-it-up-the-flagpole BS is shameful. As is not knowing a bee fly from a bee and then cowardly deleting the post when it was pointed out.

OK enough bashing. I'll get back on track now, back to the photo and educational opp, by directing you to this very timely post in which Rusty says, "a wet honey bee is a dead honey bee." Winter hive check: what to look for


Julie said...

From a purely aesthetic point of view, this really is a stunning photograph, but I agree that an opportunity to educate has been lost completely. The caption is misleading in that it sounds like this honeybee is taking a swim so that she can collect water. Also, but the title is meant to be catchy with its alliteration and reference to the water wings that children wear at the pool. However, as you know, once a bee's wings get wet, she can't fly. I probably would've said something, too.

HB said...

If you click on the photo, you will be taken to the IG photo page where you can read the comments. The lady who called me immature mentioned a penguin and a seal, and that added confusion to my hurt. I did not bother googling it, though, as it was beside the point, which she obviously had missed.

As a kid growing up, instead of wanting to become a doctor or a lawyer, I wanted to be a National Geo photographer. This image is one I would have been proud to have captured. As a beekeeper, though, it pains me. The fact the NYBS did not share that makes me wonder if they are even beekeepers. Whoever manages their IG account certainly is not.

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