Twitter is dead. Long live Instagram.
OK, so perhaps that’s not really true, and for the longest time you would find me espousing the benefits of life on Twitter and how it played a huge role not only in my professional development, but also in my transition from life in England to starting all over again in America and looking to find a new community.
Twitter is changing, that much is true. When I first jumped off of my island and on to Twitter I was able to hand pick a select group of go-getters, teachers in my field who were quite literally crushing it! They were the early adopters of twitter, and using google hangouts, and creating online communities, and twitter chats, and some even created their own free, online, global conference. Some of those voices are still around today, and some have moved into other spaces online.
January sees my 8th anniversary of being on Twitter and I use my @carmelhealth account strictly for professional development. It allows me to share ideas, collaborate with teachers around the world, follow experts in fields in which I need to learn more, and promote some of the conferences and projects in which I am involved. But, recently I’ve used Facebook and Instagram to find educators, and messages that I haven’t found on Twitter. Adding some niche Instagram accounts to my list of ‘follows’ has been a way for me to find powerful messages and imagery from creative educators and service providers who are able to convey their message through the medium of photography and graphic design. Their language, their imagery and their message speaks to millennials and younger and keeps me on my toes.
Here are ten of my favorite Instagram accounts who continue to share consistent, strong, health related messages on a regular basis. Some of the material is triggering and some definitely NSFW but it still informs me, and provides me with up-to-date information from people ‘doing the work’.
I’m drawn (no pun intended) to accounts like this one from Mary Purdie which is full of cute drawings of positive messages, mostly focusing on mindfulness and mental health but also encouraging physical health. Similar accounts are those from @positivelypresent and @stacieswift.
The illustrations from this Boston based account deal specifically with sexual empowerment and consent. When I ask my students to create advocacy posters, they would benefit from seeing how effective these images are and I like the way in which they seek to address stigma about some of the topics that we cover in Sex Ed. However, I’ve not taken them up on their ‘custom penis portrait‘ service (!)
I’m a big fan of LoveIsRespect.org and use their materials when we discuss relationship safety in class. Their aim is to empower young people to build healthy relationships and end dating abuse. You could print these images and use them as posters in your classroom, or use them as bellringers or conversation starters.
This account seeks to bring together the world’s best minds to make violence against women and girls a thing of the past. Based in Australia, their online store donates 10% of their profits to help prevent Aboriginal family violence. Images on this site are cool and fresh and deal with consent, freedom of choice and LGBTQ awareness.
I like to follow local service providers so that I can send my students in their direction if they are in need of service, or want to work for them in a volunteer/leadership capacity. NWTSYD are dedicated to supporting and promoting non-profits working to eradicate sexual harassment and violence through awareness and education. Keep it zipped.
Get consent, then get sexy. Project Consent began in 2014 as a simple Instagram page that showcased participants with the word “NO” written on them to symbolize the end of sexual assault. Since then, they have become one of the leading voices in the fight against sexual assault. Again, great graphics, simple message – scroll through their timeline, their halloween themed messages were awesome.
Emma Duehr’s account is triggering, sobering, and so powerful. Her ‘talking tushies’ artwork shows how advocacy comes in many forms. Her goal is to start conversations about sexual violence in our country, and help each survivor feel less alone in their healing. You can purchase these pocket patches from her website – $15 or 2 for $25.
Another Chicago based organization, we have a guest speaker talk to our students about HIV who also does some work with Howard Brown, the Midwest’s largest provider of health and wellness for the LGBTQ community & people living with HIV.
If you are looking for a valid and reliable source of information for your health students, point them towards sexetc.org. Sex education by teens, for teens. Published by Answer @sexedhonestly. This account is humorous and included a series of ‘sex term of the day’ posts that could be useful in your classroom.
I’ve included Josie Bensko’s account because she is a reminder to me that not all great teachers are huge on twitter. Josie is HUGE on Instagram (56k followers huge). Not only is this science teacher doing really creative things in her classroom, but she also does things with her Insta that I wish I could do. I get inspiration from trying to work out how she does certain things in terms of posting, keeping her feed fresh etc. If you are looking to be inspired by the energy and creativity of a young professional, check out this account. Oh, and her blog is ridiculously good too!
Although I still enjoy my twitter addiction, you can find me on Instagram where I am still experimenting with ideas and ways in which I want to increase my online presence.
I currently follow around 650 accounts (with my personal Insta account) which is much more manageable than my twitter crowd of 3.5k. There are a ton of great health related accounts out there, honorable mentions go to @healthysexual, @journey_to_wellness, @thesafeapp and @sexpertsslay.
I also want to give a shout out to two of my favorite accounts in that they make me smile every time they post. They are both currently blowing up social media – @donte.colley and @kidthewiz. Trust me on this.
What am I missing out on? Where are the Instagram accounts that I should add to my list? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, or on twitter using the hashtag #slowchathealth.