Sunday 4th February 2018 | Blog #3 Why we use Social Media
I’ll jump straight in with the good bit – this week we did our first interview! It was pretty cool, super-fast and gave us a firm deadline to get the majority of the Kombi renovation done (hence no post last week). Which we did! Mostly…but it also reminded me why we use social media. Us, as in Kylie and I, not general humanity.
About a month ago we were contacted by Bryce and Rasa from ‘Living Big in a Tiny House’. They run a successful YouTube channel travelling across New Zealand, Australia and the US interviewing people who have decided to build and live in tiny houses.
In case you’re not familiar, these aren’t just really small brick and mortar houses. Tiny Houses are mobile, wonderfully individual with people making a clear decision to live small. It might be driven by finance, a desire to downsize, or simply to try something different – perhaps even all three. Half way through the States last year we were fortunate to stay with an old school friend and her husband in their newly built tiny. They’re pretty cool!
Just a micro house for now
But right now, we’ve just been doing up the interior of our Kombi. By luck, the Living Big team were doing an Aussie tour and widening their interest to include #vanlife. Which is where we came in. They spent the day with us on our favourite farm, Mount Cotton Organics (just south of Brisbane), asking about the build, about Willie and giving her the photoshoot she deserves.
It was cool enough to just watch the guys work. Switching between cameras, firing up the drone and breezing through the interview. But, it was also great to be able to chat with Bryce and Rasa about how they got this far and how they find it. How they find building their own business out of a personal interest. Working with social media, and learning as they go. Growing from a casual irregular vlog around four years ago. To what is now a weekly, professionally shot and highly successful YouTube channel.
For all the different tools they were using, and that Kylie and I are learning to use, it’s all about telling a story. At that particular moment, it happened to be our story from the perspective of living in a van and travelling around Australia.
Social without the cynicism
We’ve been on a steep learning curve (me far more than Kylie) on how to use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and this website to tell our story. We’re not doing it for our own personal attention but to share a passion and interest. And importantly for us, to share the stories of those we meet. This is a key point we are working on for the next year – how best to project those we meet.
Before, for me social media was a bit of a time killer. I’d dip in and out just for a bit of casual non-committal semi-interested, glazed eye browsing. From time to time, it still is. However, perhaps because I now have a reason to use these tools properly, I actually quite enjoy what you can find and be involved in. Now, I look at and use social media with a little less cynicism, and a little more interest. This is certainly not me trying to persuade anyone that these tools are perfect or anything like that. Simply that they can actually be useful, interesting and that once you get past peoples updates of what they’re having for dinner, they’re pretty cool.
Find your community
As we’ve been working on the Kombi renovation, posting our updates as we go, it’s been great to get suggestions and ideas of how to do things. Sometimes just through the comments everyone sees, but actually through a lot of private messages fly back and forth that others don’t see. This is what these online communities are all about. We’ve actually met a good few people through social media, of course including ‘Living Big in a Tiny House’.
At times it’s hard to balance getting something done whilst learning how to capture the journey of doing it. Trying to learn how to use our camera best, what adds to the story and what we want to say. Plenty of times we both wonder why bother and get frustrated. It can consume a lot of time working it out. It’s even harder to explain what you’re doing to others as it’s ‘just’ social media…
Our equipment is far more basic than most who do this professionally. But we keep working and tweaking, trying new ideas to get our journey across, and in case you hadn’t quite picked it up;
Our story is about learning to live more sustainably. To do that, we’re meeting others who already live that way, and telling their story as we learn from them.
(And the interview, that should be published around May 2018, I’m pretty sure we’ll make a big deal of it once it’s ready!)