I was in Las Vegas recently for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon (blog post about it TK, I promise!) and, as per usual, had bitten off more than I could chew. Not only was I slated to run a half marathon on Sunday afternoon, but I had agreed to document my experience for Elite Daily’s Wander or Bust series (article also TK), which meant that I had a ‘shot list’ of photos I needed to take to be included in the piece.
I love social media, but I’m better at making memes than taking gram-worthy landscape shots, so this was a challenge. Luckily, I had my good friend Chris there to help me. Jokingly referring to him as my ‘instagram husband’ for the weekend, I had him take my photo seemingly every five minutes. Chris was a great sport about it (He’s no stranger to my #freelancelife adventures, after all. He once took a MegaBus with me to Philadelphia from New York for 12 hours to run a beer mile put on by an events company I managed the social media for). But at one point over the weekend, he asked a very normal question: “Which Instagram handle are you going to post these on? And why do you have two Instagram handles, anyway?”
I’m not a celebrity or a 16-year-old with a #finstagram, so it’s probably weird that I have two instagram handles. But I do have my reasons for it.
When Instagram first debuted, I was in college and thought it was just a fancy filtering app. I created a personal account literally to add a sepia filter to pictures of my dog (very cool, I know). Later, when Instagram became popular, I started managing social media accounts for different companies, one being the BeerFit event series—the same event series that Chris and I traveled to Philly for. I loved creating fun memes and content for that handle, so when the event series shut down, I asked the event company to sell it to me and figured I could use the large following I had built for the brand to promote my writing and run coaching business—and maybe get some extra kickbacks along the way. Selling instagram accounts isn’t technically legal so I won’t go into details, but I will say that I now possess that account, have transformed it into a personal handle, and update it semi-regularly.
So now that you know how I came to have two accounts, here’s how they are different: My personal Instagram handle, @erinkellylikethis, is just that—it’s personal. Which means it’s a private account and I can accept and deny who follows me. Despite the fact that I write about my feelings on the internet, I consider myself a fairly private person, so I would rather know who is interacting with any content that I post. My ‘professional’ instagram handle, or running-related instagram handle, is @runfromyourpr0blems. It’s a public account that anyone can access or follow, making it easy for individuals who are fans of my writing, or potential coaching clients to find me. I can promote myself and my work without feeling like I’m ‘fishing’ for likes, and I can repost content and experiment with memes without feeling like I’m posting too much.
Another reason why I separate the two handles is because I don’t want to bombard my followers with running-related posts all the time. Some of the people I follow do this—and not just with their running endeavors, but with whatever their personal interests are—and TBH, it can be a little overwhelming. If you are my casual acquaintance or former coworker, I really don’t need 10 mirror selfies of you in a week. I want to stay up-to-date with your life, but I honestly don’t know how many mirror selfies or lengthy updates I can take! That’s why I like giving people the option: If you want to subscribe to the part of my life that’s focused on running, you can choose to follow @runfromyourpr0blems—but I’m not going to throw it in your face every single day.
I genuinely, for the most part, enjoy living in the moment, which means I often forget to take the gram-worthy photos either of my Instagram accounts deserve, and I don’t update them as often as many other social media mavens do. But that’s okay. I would rather actually enjoy a long run than take a good photo during it and post 300-500 words about it in the caption.