We’ve all heard the debate. The internet is destroying human interaction & ruining our youth. It’s not uncommon for individuals to have more interaction on their smartphone than a real person right in front of them. We’re here to highlight the other side of that coin. We’ve partnered with Ricky Staub of Neighborhood Film Co. to show how Instagram can help connect people through the outside world. Follow Ricky’s journey…
Author: Ricky Staub
A year ago Instagram meant nothing more to me than a social media app lost amongst the hordes of others. Until one day a client mentioned she saw my company on Instagram. I didn’t even know we had one. But if clients were looking at it then I should probably pay attention to it.
So I took it over. At first I felt like an old parent trying to figure out their kid’s new video game. But then the world of Instagram started to become clearer to me – it wasn’t a photo app at all. It was a community. A continual conversation with friends. Free of spam and annoying ads.
I am the Chief Creative at a film production company and always thought we had really great stories to share behind the camera. So I had the idea to hire an Instagrammer I’d been following named @LittleCoal to shoot behind-the-scenes photos and tell stories of our company from his perspective.
I never thought in a million years he’d respond to the request I left in the comment section of a photo – I mean the guy was getting 13,000 likes per picture and hundreds of comments. But minutes later I got this: “Yeah, I’d love to shoot for you.”
Thus began the shift in my social media paradigm. Followers were no longer Followers. They were becoming my friends. And real ones. @LittleCoal became Eric Ward. Became my friend Eric. My first “Internet Friend” as I always joke.
Almost a year later I was passing through Toledo, Ohio (his home town) and was planning to stay in a hotel. When he found out I was passing through he immediately offered, “Sweet, you can stay with me and my family.” He’s a 4th grade teacher, married, 3 kids, and a close friend of mine. But he was an internet friend – isn’t that weird to stay at his house?
Our society might think so. But I figured it’d be better than spending money on a hotel. So we hung out for the night, shot around, I met his awesome family, and then I stayed at his house. It was this trip that I realized my Instagram story might not be the only one. What if their were others?
So Eric and I decided to find those stories and tell them. Over the next 8 days we’re embarking on a cross-country adventure from Chicago, through the Southwest on old route 66, and then heading up the coast of SF shooting, and meeting, and staying with old and new friends that we only know from Instagram.
We’re telling stories of both big name Influencers like @JasonMPeterson – sharing how Instagram has connected him globally with friends his normal path would never intersect. But also the stories more intimate, like that of Mom, @ErinRBrooks who defeated depression through photography and the support and love of her IG community.
We have set out to pay tribute to the culture of encouragement that has been bread amongst the Instagram community and show the world that we are much more connected than some might think.
Follow along on our journey: @NeighborhoodFilm / #NeighborhoodFilm. Or better yet – meet up with us along the way!