As a real-life introvert and internet extrovert, Dimple Punjaabi uses her piece of Instagram real-estate @selfworkco to educate and inspire
It started with asking myself if my online life represented the stuff that I truly cared about in real life. We’re the first generation to be spending nearly half or more of our lives online, and I just want to make sure I’m doing this in a way that’s aligned with my interests and values. I’ve been a digital educator for nearly half my career, and writing and creating have been my tools of expression for life. So I decided to create something meaningful for people by putting it all together using Instagram, where it’s possible for people to be informed and educated as a part of their daily scrolling and screen time.
This kind of creative education or activism is often termed as “slacktivism” because it doesn’t require live, in-person involvement. But even so, social media activism has managed to create serious impact. We saw how user-generated educational guides informed people world-over in the BLM movement and even inspired action. It doesn’t replace the labour of proper research and education, but creative Instagram carousels are catchy and instantly shareable. They can capture the essence of complex topics and help create mass awareness quickly, which is a great way to spark an interest to dive deeper into important topics. I always encourage my readers to inform themselves better in the areas that interest them by providing them with further reading resources.
I hope to create a space that activates people to be emotionally empowered and responsibly human. My topics are often more personal and revolve around self-help, self-care, relationships, human emotions, social justice and challenging old ideas and social stereotypes. I focus on themes that are intimate, important and often difficult to put into words. A lot of the comments and DMs I get from people are something along the lines of, “Wow, I’ve experienced that before but couldn’t really articulate it” or “I didn’t know this was a thing”. It’s amazing how many of our experiences and emotions are validated simply by expression and being able to specifically pin them down and name them.
As a lifelong learner and explorer, I consider it my purpose to construct and research the most helpful ideas and bring them to people in ways that are easy-to-digest and understand. I’m also currently working on putting together a website where people can engage with this kind of content more deeply. As an introvert, it helps that I get to do this from my tiny corner of the planet and still be able to speak to thousands from around the world.
On one side of the internet you find trolls, bullying, hate speech and vitriol. On the other side you find information, inspiration, art and breathtaking creativity. I’m more interested in what the good side of the online world can accomplish. The best part about social media for me is that it gives everyone a platform and an audience to speak for what they believe in. We can all be leaders, shapeshifters and changemakers if we want, and there is no such thing as too many of them.
Dimple Punjaabi is a writer and educator with a special interest in digital DIY media. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from King’s College in London, and a Bachelor’s in Communication and Psychology from Mount Carmel College in India. Connect with her and start your own #selfworkinprogress journey at her Instagram, @selfworkco.