It didn’t take long for Dawn and Jonathan—Pivot’s newest team members—to become a portmanteau. Affectionately known as “Dawnathan” to fellow Pivoteers, Dawn joins the team as a writer, and Jonathan as a strategist. Recently, “Dawnathan” sat down to discuss their favorite social media network—Instagram—and the effect it has on Indy’s creative community.
Three years ago, both Dawn and Jonathan were new residents of downtown Indianapolis. At the time, there was no Foundry Provisions, no Thirsty Scholar, no Hotel Tango, and no Milktooth. In the last few years, however, Virginia Avenue and 16th Street have become culinary excursions, and Dawn was curious to know whether Jonathan considered restaurants as part of the creative community.
“Well, chefs and restaurateurs seem emboldened to try new, creative things,” he says, “and the public seems receptive.” He suggests that restaurants are a part of the creative community because they help build it; they attract individuals to a particular area, which encourages further growth and the addition of more restaurants, stores, and art installations. “It seems people in this city can’t get enough of these types of amenities, especially public art.”
Dawn nods. “I’ve noticed that whenever someone posts an image of an interesting piece of public art, a dozen people will comment, ‘WHERE IS THIS?!?!?’” She laughs, and stresses that social media—especially Instagram—inspires individuals to see and experience, for themselves, what’s pictured.
In Indy’s case, some of the most popular restaurants—take Bluebeard, Bakersfield, and Petite Chou Bistro, for example—are also some of the most Instagrammed. Diners photograph and share on social media their mouth-watering entrees and laid-back atmospheres, which encourages friends, family, and even strangers to patronize the establishments.
“Social media really does have the power to grow, shape, and showcase a creative community,” says Jonathan. “@igersindy is a perfect example.”
Dawn, one of several administrators for the @igersindy account, suggests that the Instagram community in Indianapolis provides exposure to both the city and to the creative community within. She asks Jonathan, the former director of operations and development for People for Urban Progress (PUP), if PUP benefitted from exposure on Instagram.
“From a brand perspective, it’s exciting because you now have over 300 million users who can become content creators. At PUP, I always loved seeing others post pictures of our work around the community.” He describes how rewarding it was to see people interact with the PUP brand and share how it shaped their experience in Indianapolis. “Those are always unique posts, because it’s that combination of everyday life andcreative life in the city,” he explains. “I hope that delineation is disappearing.”
After talking briefly about Instagram trends and how users’ photos provide free advertising for companies, talk turns to the “Indy” sculptures, which continue to migrate around the city.
“Be honest,” Jonathan says. “How many times have you been the ‘I’?”
Dawn pauses. “I have a secret for you—I’ve actually never taken a selfie with the ‘Indy’ sculptures!”
“I haven’t either!” Jonathan responds. “You know what I’m thinking? A ‘Dawnathan’ selfie!”