Are millenials really as entitled and narcissistic as they’re made out to be in the media these days? Going by many of their Instagram accounts, it would be hard to disagree. I can’t be judgemental of them though when I, too, have succumbed to the pretentious need to show people how great my life is when it actually isn’t. Till as recently as the second week of January 2018, I was posting absolutely self-indulgent rubbish on my own account and having a tug of war with my conscience about why I kept doing it even though it felt meaningless.

Paras Gudka, where he is more comfortable--behind the lens

Me, where I’m more comfortable–behind the lens

Then, on January 13th, I had an epiphany: I could actually use my Instagram account for something meaningful by posting the photos I had been taking at chess events since 2011. That way, my work and my subjects both get exposure and good things could come our way in the future in the form of commissions for me and sponsorship for the players—especially those from Africa who are rarely seen in the mainstream chess media—featured in my portfolio.

So, I began by digging up the Flickr album containing the oldest photos from my career as a chess photographer and started sharing the ones that stood out.

In the 2 weeks since, I have managed to publish 27 photos from 4 tournaments in Kenya and 1 in Mauritius and I’m only getting warmed up. In fact, this is what my relaunched Instagram profile looks like as of earlier today:

Screenshot of Paras Gudka's Instagram profile (as seen on a desktop browser)

Screenshot of my Instagram profile (as seen on a desktop browser)

That’s not all, to avoid the minefield that is social media etiquette these days and for a laser sharp focus, I am also adopting the following rules for my Instagram from this month:

  • Follow only accounts/people connected with chess (if you’re a friend/relative and I’ve recently unfollowed you as a result of this rule, please don’t take it personally)
  • Spend no more than 10 minutes per day browsing through or interacting with other people’s posts

So, if you’re on Instagram and curious about chess players and events in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia and/or India, look me up with the username @iaparasgudka or visit my profile at www.instagram.com/iaparasgudka to follow my work. Who knows, you might find yourself on there!

Are you yourself an Instagram “pro”? If so, I would love to hear about the strategies you’ve adopted to grow and manage your account without being overwhelmed. You can comment on this entry or send me an email via the form on the Contact page.


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