100 Things That Make Me Smile
My friend Lara (@LaraInTheMiddle) started a hashtag last week that has struck a chord with many around the world: #100ThingsThatMakeMeSmile. Not 100 things that make me happy. Just make me smile for a moment. It’s an important distinction, and one which is making the hashtag a runaway success.
This hashtag is such an oasis of normal in the middle of mounting Instagram pressure to be always authentic, always styled, always upbeat. I commend it to you: join in. Pay attention to small moments in your day that make you smile. Take a photo and share if you want to. Follow some fellow normal people (eg me @EmmaDaviesPhoto) sharing moments of their days that made them smile, and I challenge you not to smile for a moment too. (And if this way of thinking appeals to you, you might be interested in my Mindful Photography course starting next week: details at the end of the post.)
I had a chat with Lara about the hashtag:
Why did you start #100ThingsThatMakeMeSmile?
Like a lot of people I feel that Instagram has lost its friendlier feel. These days it’s all about the bigger accounts, the influencers - Instagram doesn’t show you the accounts you want when you want. I know hashtags can be a good way to bring likeminded people together, but even they tend to be about the material things, often dominated by the same accounts.
I wanted something more inclusive, that anyone can take part it. Something that wasn’t time consuming and didn’t involve lots of staging and contrivance.
Where did the idea come from?
A couple of years ago I joined in with #365DaysOfHappiness. It was a lovely tag but by its very definition it makes you feel like you should be happy every day, and with the best will in the world, no one can be happy every day. I thought finding something that made you smile, even just a little smile in a bad day, was more achievable.
What does it mean to you?
Hopefully it’s a small piece of dust in the oyster that is Instagram. I just wanted to show people that everyone can find something small to smile at in a day. I’ve been amazed at the similarities in what people are sharing - hardly any material ‘things’ but lots of small moments.
What do you hope people will take out of it?
There’s a saying, ‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.‘ I am just as guilty of not noticing the little things as everyone else. I really hope this will help people notice the little things.
(Note: it really does.)
What’s it like, hosting a #?
Busy! I had no idea it would appeal to people so instantly. It’s obviously important to those who are joining in and I feel a big responsibility to make sure everyone is recognised. I’m going to try and make sure it’s not the same people featured all the time - that’s definitely something that annoys me about other hashtags. This hashtag doesn’t care whether you wear Prada or Primark, have an SLR or an iPhone.
Mindful Photography course - starts next week
My online course, Mindful Photography, digs deeper into the ideas behind Lara’s hashtag: stopping to pay attention, directing that attention, and noticing how things like simply smiling have a lasting effect on your mood. The course starts on Monday. It’s 14 weeks of guided, very practical, steps to set you off on your journey to a slower, more considered, more joyful photography practice. More details and registration here:
If you’re reading this after 11 November 2019 the course will already have closed. You can join my “stay in touch” newsletter so you will be first to hear the next time the course runs (it usually runs twice a year). This newsletter goes out 12 times a year, in the last week of each month. It keeps you up to date with the next courses I’m running, new books launches, and latest blog posts. Join here: