Instagram at LIU Post
“Find me on LinkedIn”
“Add me on Myspace”
“Are you on Pinterest?”
“Check out my blog”
“Follow me on Instagram!”
With the continuous advances in technology, increase in the number of social media sites, and creation of new “apps” for smartphones, it is easy to feel left out of the virtual loop. In this technological age, it seems like almost everyone we know has a smartphone. Whether it be your 11 year old nephew or your 90 year old grandmother, it is rare to see a person without some sort of device in their hand. The internet is a useful tool for reaching out to the billions of people who log on each day. At the touch of a button, we can share tips and tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Dietitians are passionate about educating people on making choices that can benefit their health. Time is also limited when counseling clients. There are only so many topics one can cover at each session and planning and discussion only go so far. Would it be great if we could accompany our clients during some of those vital, sometimes difficult [“food decision”] moments: trips to the grocery store, family functions, girl’s and boy’s night out, and dinner dates? Does that seem unrealistic? That is where Instagram comes into play! This trendy smartphone app allows us to connect with people all over the world in real time. We can connect with clients and expand our business network by linking with other RDs and healthcare professionals to exchange ideas and information in literally an…. “instant” (hence the name, “Insta”-gram).
You may have likely seen or heard about this hip, new app, as it was recently acquired by the ever so popular Facebook (for a measly 1 billion dollars!). As of 2013, there were 100 million Instagram users and this number is growing every day….every minute for that matter! It is estimated that approximately 40 million pictures are posted each day. Celebrities like Oprah, famous athletes, retail brands, magazines, President Obama and even Chobani are currently using Instagram.
Instagram describes itself as, “A fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.”Instagram allows users to change the look of their photos by using filters that enhance the picture’s color and style. It is free to join. The only requirement is that you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android device. In addition to changing the look of the photo, users can apply hashtags to describe and categorize their photos. Hashtags act as labels that make it possible for other users to easily search for specific things like pictures of food, celebrities, or puppies. For example, #nutrition leads users to a group of pictures posted by people who have taken a photo and categorized it as nutritious. Instagram account holders use hashtags to find pictures posted from people all over the world to gain ideas and insight into other lifestyles.
After hearing many students complain that the campus dining hall was lacking a variety of healthy choices (which we knew was false), we decided to take our “advice giving” to the next level. Rather than providing our clients with a list of menu items and tips on how to mimic the features of Myplate, we created an Instagram account so that we could show them. Healthy options were available and students just needed a push in the right direction; to show them how to be creative with the resources available. Eventually our clients became our followers. Daily posts at each meal became routine and did not require too much effort as we were eating in the dining hall ourselves. Fortunately, we did not stop there, we began to post pictures of snack ideas, sale items at the local grocery store, health & wellness events on campus, classes offered at the gym, and much, much, more! Eventually, we expanded beyond LIU Post campus and connected with friends and food enthusiasts all over the world.
We truly believe Instagram is an invaluable tool. Not only have we been able to help others, we have received useful tips and ideas in return. It is important for RDs to support each other by continuously exchanging successful ideas to ensure that the role of the registered dietitian remains relevant in health care.
Download the app and see how great it can be…and don’t forget to follow us @liunutrition!
By: Melissa Levine & Amanda Proscia
About the Author
Lisa Samuels is a Long Island native who is currently a Dietetic Intern at LIU Post. She has a B.A. in Art History from Ithaca College, a B.S. in Nutrition from LIU Post & was also a practicing baker for two years. Lisa has finally found her calling. Combining her love for food, writing, and nutrition, she strives to bring you the latest news in the field.
Check out even more posts from Lisa at her website: