How to Immerse your Social Media Feed with Nature

social media addiction mindfulness for nature lovers

Within the recent buzz of the failure of social media (again) to protect our needs (ban #fakenews) and privacy, many people are wondering what to do.  Maybe the answer IS to #deletefacebook and other social media?  Maybe the answer is just to have a social media break or to limit screen time?  Ultimately what we need to be asking is how is our own personal relationship with social media?  

For most it seems to be a love/hate type of situation, for others it's their bread and butter.  Social media can be addictive, there are always the questions of what is happening with our data and at the end of the day people need more downtime away from screens rather than more reasons to continue to be on screens.  But if we can use social media as TOOL there can be many benefits.

One great way to inspire yourself to get outside and explore your local city's natural areas is to add more nature to your social media feeds.  
Perhaps you just want to refresh your feed with a few more positive images and messages or perhaps you need a clean break from spammy messages and accounts that don't make you feel positive?  Now is your opportunity to improve what is being fed to you via these small screens.

Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or the new kid on the block: Vero, seeing stories and images about wildlife and nature can have a positive impact on you and on your day.  And if you follow local people (especially on Instagram which shows locational tags) you may even get some ideas of specific new greenspaces to check out!  And yes, the more green you see (even on the screen) can give you a boost and can really get you interested in the outdoors.  Here's how to go about it in the best, most mindful way:

Immerse your Social Media Feed with Nature by following great organizations

Follow some great organizations on social media:

  • Nature, Wildlife & Scientific Organizations - look for various ones at the local, regional and national levels
  • Tourism Boards and Groups - you could follow both local organizations and also places you'd like to visit in the future
  • Non-profits that are doing positive things and great projects in the green spaces of your city that can bring a smile to your day
When you follow these groups look for both green visuals (especially on Twitter or Instagram if you look at this feed from your phone) and educational content (especially on Twitter or Fbook) as this could be an easy way to get tips and interesting facts about wildlife.

You can look up key words and hashtags such as #nature #wildlife #plantatree #urbanbiodiversity #rivercleanup and see what what organizations appear and then check out their feed history to see what types of things they post.  You can even do this search visually on Twitter by selecting "Photos" or "Videos" as shown above.

You can also see who's posting for special international days like #WorldWaterDay or #ForestDay or #EarthDay or special months like #NationalAboriginalHistoryMonth by searching through these hashtag feeds to connect to like-minded groups.

Girl Unwinding Dawns Ray Flickr Nature Mandalas

Find creative inspiration on Twitter, Instagram and Vero:

  • landscape painters and outdoor nature artists
  • outdoor photographers
  • authors and writers of both fiction and non-fiction
  • artisans and crafters who get inspiration from the outdoors
  • Facebook nature groups
These people can also be found through similar keywords and hashtags that were listed above and on Instagram you can even "follow" favourite hashtags now!  If you are a lover of words and books, choose some that share nature quotes (just use the #naturequote hashtag) or who provide a word of the day like Robert Marcfarlane (Twitter: @RobGMacfarlane)

On Facebook you may find groups who are doing creative things to connect to nature.  Here's a list of what I found recently when I searched with key words (Nature, Wildlife, etc): Learning & Healing in NatureDance to Nature and In Love with Nature (photography sharing group)

See if you can find people and groups who are doing inspiring work and projects that they consistently share whether it's paintings, specific photography (like landscapes or sunsets) or a creative challenge such as making a nature mandala every week.  One that I really miss is DawnsRays' Monday Mandalas found through her Girl Unwinding blog that she shared on Flickr.

Above collage of images from DawnsRays on Flickr

Add Nature and Wildlife to your Social Media Feed

Give a social media thumbs up and follow some businesses:

  • green roofs & green walls
  • great native plant landscapers
  • wildlife/birding/outdoor merchandise
Here again you can quickly scan through the companies feed history to see what types of posts they share.  See what the balance is like between promotion and community sharing.  It might take awhile to find ones that truly resonate for you whether it's great images or great content but these companies are out there and are a joy to connect with!

Some businesses make it part of their business to share educational information with their passionate customers, such as Wild Birds Unlimited (Twitter) or Miriam from Wildflower Farm (Instagram) and others like sharing details on both behind the scenes and finished projects Ecoman Toronto (Facebook).  You'll benefit from the images of lush gardens, flowers in bloom and green roofs and walls!

Image: Movimento90 Instagram account

Follow the Right People on Social Media for Positive Experience Nature and Animal Lovers Wildlife

Follow other nature-lovers & fun nature personalities:

Another great opportunity is to find like-minded people and follow their personal social media accounts.  You can also look for personalities and animals with their own social media feed that add some fun to your day.  I really enjoy Gary Snail, Russell Crow and more recently Woody and Herbie Hedgehog!

One way to find people is through hashtags as per above but another is to join in on a challenge such as the Wildlife Trusts' 30 Days Wild (U.K.) or David Suzuki Foundation's 30 x 30 Challenge (Canada/U.S.) or Remember the Wild (Australia) - shown above - and see who else is participating.  Or look for #100dayproject or #citynaturechallenge and follow what you find interesting.

Another option is to find other urban nature lovers who may be in your city.  This can be done for any social media with hashtags (Read about the basics here in this Instagram #UrbanNature Hashtag post) but with Instagram it can also be done with geotags.  You'll see the location beside the under the name of the person.  It's an option, not every photo shared on Instagram will have the location tag but if you search for a location under "Places" you'll find the ones that have been geotagged.
Great Ottawa Nature Instagram Feed Yow_Vil

You can even search for your favourite type of flora or fauna and see what people are posting about it!  That's how I found Annette at Moss World (Twitter).  And even though I'm in Canada, I love seeing hedgehogs so that's one of the tags I'm following.  There was even a great series on lichen last year (#150lichen) that was done by Troy McMullin.

Try these fun tags: #birdsonawire, #puddlegram, #crackplants, #urbanwildlife, #naturescolours

See if you can find people that inspire you to get outdoors and seek out similar experiences rather than ones that might make you feel less (due to comparison) or make you feel like you are missing out on something.  The best ones to follow are those that feel like instant friends rather than those that you wish you could be friends with.

ONE LAST THING which is important to remember when using social media... may want to control the number of accounts & groups that you follow that share mostly doom and gloom about nature as it can have a negative effect on you and have you worrying too much about the future.  I'm not advocating putting your head in the sand, but do try and manage these types of messages to ensure you have a balanced outlook.  For those you want to follow but may not want to see daily put them in a special "List" on Twitter that you check occasionally to stay informed or limit your interaction with these groups to emails that are sent to a specific folder where you can spend one hour a week, signing petitions or galvanizing yourself to take local action!

There is a lot of good news out there, even in terms of nature.  Keep a balanced outlook by following Good News Network via your social media feeds (check these tags: nature, wildlife) or read Jane Goodall's book that provides some great positive stories about nature:
"Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink"  by J. Goodall (Author),‎ G. Hudson (Author),‎ T. Maynard (Author), 2009.

To start you off consider connecting with these groups that have been profiled in past blog posts:

- Three Toronto Nature (Urban Wild) Initiatives

- Connect to Wild Homes (London, U.K.) and Other Creative Projects like this!

- Consider follow Nature Podcasts via their social media feeds

- Learn more about nature through these Canadian organizations

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If you are interested in learning more about how to mindfully connect with nature through social media sign up below.  This will be a 4-week online course, offered in its first iteration for $33.   Let us know if this is of interest to you and we'll notify you when it launches!

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