I’m starting a new little series here on the blog, Instagram for Architecture Students. I thought of this while I was putting together the “11 Instagrammers Architecture Students Should Follow” post, and I thought before I publish that article I should begin this series with a simple question, why Instagram? Why should you, an architecture student, invest time into Instagram? I mean, it’s just another social media platform, right?

Before getting deeper into this, I do want to address something that is typically associated with Instagram. There have been surveys and studies which link Instagram to mental health issues, even going as far as “Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing.” It’s quite easy to dismiss Instagram by these articles, all the selfies and constant need for attention that can be displayed, the reliance on ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ and how Instagram is a lie because we only show our highlights, not the lowlights. However if you accept that there is a section of Instagram that is toxic, and you choose to not engage with that, then your experience will be much healthier.

I have a cool little story which involves my use on Instagram, but before I get to that I thought I’d just quickly share the history of my Instagram. I started my account under the name @ant_richo (my name is Anthony Richardson in case you didn’t know) and if you scroll right to the beginning of my account you’ll see my first post back in January 22nd, 2014. However this wasn’t my very first photo, for some reason I decided to delete all of my photos from my first year of Instagram in 2013. The first photo I did post was of our 2A final 1:5 model of the Birds Nest. Over time my account name moved to @thatarchitecturestudent, @anth_rich and currently @byanthony__.

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Finished! 1:52:04 time, pretty happy even if my legs aren't currently working. I did have a little emotional moment during the run, thinking about my experience as a baby/child/teenager at the @rchmelbourne with mum and dad. Heading towards the finish line with goosebumps and crossing was a great feeling. Thanks @runforthekids and all the amazing volunteers with the encouragement and high-fives. I probably won't move from this spot for the rest of the day #r4k #runforthekids #runforthekids2016 #thatarchitecturerun #goodfridayappeal #16km #runners #running #16kmrun #runningram #melbourneinstarunners @melbourneinstarunners #runnerspace #finisher #sorelegs #runnerslife #runnersworld #runnerscommunity #funrun #instarunners

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At the beginning it was a collection of photos which mainly revolved around being an architecture student and working as a draftsman. It maintained this theme for a while, even using it to cover the student congress #People2015, Open House Melbournes,  Super Studios, progress through studios and work projects, and eventually started sharing non-architecture things such as my attempt at running, making things and recent travels and adventures.

What I love about my Instagram is when I scroll right back to the start and slowly scroll back up, I can look at a photo, or a series of photos, and remember vividly what I was feeling, what was my life was like, what I was interested in… I get a huge dose of nostalgia, and it’s an amazing feeling. It is literally like looking through a photo album and having memories flood back. Some aren’t as good as others, but it’s all part of the journey.

Now my little Instagram story, back in November 2015 I attended the Summer Portfolio Workshop hosted by SONA at the MPavilion. At this time my Instagram handle was @ThatArchitectureStudent, as I was building this brand up. There was a talk beforehand and then we split into small groups where a bunch of us architecture students can get feedback from an architect. I took the portfolio I was working on for admission to MSD, and pretty glad I did! Anyway, during my own time as Deakin’s SONA rep I became acquainted with Peter Malatt, who was the President of the Victorian chapter of the AIA. At this workshop I saw him and went over to say hello, and he was with Jon Clements, who (at the time) was the National President of the AIA, and a director of Jackson Clements Burrows Architects. Peter introduced me to Jon, in which Jon said “Oh yes That Architecture Student! I see all your stuff on Instagram” Yes I know, I couldn’t believe it either!

Since starting my account I’ve been “regrammed” by MPavilion a couple times, hosted Parlour’s Instagram, been invited to architecture events, have had other students send me direct messages with questions and even won an Instagram competition! In fact as lame as this sounds, I can’t imagine how the last 4 years would be if I didn’t have Instagram, and here’s why.

I use Instagram as a way to network and engage with the local architecture community and build relationships with architects. I use Instagram as a way to document my time during architecture school (and hopefully beyond!) so in five years times I can scroll back through and remember moments. Lastly, I use Instagram as a way to express myself, either creatively, personally, politically, or however it may be.

Without Instagram perhaps I wouldn’t have developed a big interest in photography? Without Instagram perhaps memories of studio would be forgotten? Without Instagram perhaps I wouldn’t know half the people I know today? Instagram can be a tacky, narcissistic, egotistical and cringe-worthy, but it can also be a great networking tool, memory holder and creative outlet. Why should you be using Instagram as an architecture student? Have I not convinced you yet?