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Jessica Ryan
Jessica Ryan

Hands down, my favorite social media platform is Instagram. I love how people use images to express themselves. Whether their accounts are centered around a theme, use the same filters for every image, or are a nonsensical hodgepodge of pics, Instagram makes for a fascinating collection of people’s and brands’ visual diaries.

I recently read a great piece by Jeffrey Kalmikoff in which he discusses a downside of following just our friends on Instagram: we typically cross-post to other platforms anyway, so we end up seeing the same photos twice. Kalmikoff suggests, instead, that we start following accounts relevant to our interests.

While I don’t particularly think following friends is wrong, Kalmikoff has a point about taking a more strategic approach to how we Instagram. Professional experience tells me that taking on social media without a strategy makes an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Why wouldn’t that lesson also apply to our personal lives?

If you’re stuck in a K-hole of cross-posted content and totally bored of Instagram, I’m here to help you snap out of it. Coloradans are a proud people, and we’re pretty interested in ourselves, so let’s start there. Here are some locally-focused Instagram users with more aesthetically friendly and interesting content than the cliché Flatirons pics and low-budge front-seat selfies.

@ricardonaut: I am full-blown obsessed with this account. The photos are packed with color, perfect for “Colorful Colorado.” Mostly from around Boulder and Denver, they show a side of those cities we don’t usually consider, pointing out the beauty in everyday details of Boulder life like street performers in the Broadway underpass leading to the Hill.

@short_stache: I love the unique, stylized titles in this user’s account. Instagram photos rarely have titles, and the styling lends a sense of cohesion to the different images. Each photo has beautiful composition in the way it showcases the sharp lines of Denver’s urban architecture or the organic flow of Colorado’s mountains and lakes.

@lyfeofanomad: The images on this account are simple snapshots from everyday life in Boulder, from an afternoon on the porch to practicing yoga in the backyard with friends. But the pics — mostly edited with VSCOcam — give the sense of a sleepy summer afternoon. It’s a great blend of city life (including shots from restaurants) and the abundance of nature, including some Boulder, um, greenery.

@thebitterbar: You didn’t think I’d make it all the way through this without mentioning a killer brand, did you? I only recently started following The Bitter Bar’s account, but I love what they’re doing. On top of mouth-watering photos of their specialty cocktails, they’ve done a great job of using the Instagram’s video feature to publish short interviews with staff members.

Whatever your interests, there are hundreds of communities thriving on Instagram in ways I haven’t seen on other platforms. Tapping into these communities will help you find more interesting users to follow so you can up your Insta game.

Jess Ryan is a community manager and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily. On Twitter: @jessryanco.

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