The advent of social media has completely changed the way we interact and engage with one another. Filters and hashtags have become somewhat of a lingua franca. As millennials, we are often referred to as hyper-taskers and our teenagers are now screenagers. We live in the information age, an age where one chooses to be ignorant as information is readily available with a click of a button.

With this in mind, it was quite refreshing to be a part of an event that puts the ‘social’ back into social media. I’m talking about the first #NMMUWalk that was hosted by Cityofpe together with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in March, as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations.

The #NMMUWalk is essentially an Instawalk (Instagram Walk) which is about getting the community together to take pictures of our beautiful city/campuses and share them on Instagram. It’s an opportunity for people to get to meet the people behind the Instagram accounts and interact with them on a human level. “It’s about growing the community, that’s our emphasis” says Joshua Terry, one third of Cityofpe. The community in this case, was the NMMU community.

The walk began at Madibaz CafĂ©, with some quick treats, because you know – food. Whilst enjoying the delicacies, I couldn’t help but feel like an amateur (which I am) when I heard these guys and girls talk about their lenses and cool cameras. Canon 550D’s, ISO’s and Insta-lenses were the order of the day. Did you guys even know Insta-lenses existed? I didn’t. Apparently some company in Cape Town manufactures these, a pretty nifty gadget for you iPhone users.

We then missioned down to the kraal to begin our expedition, in search for the coolest shots of our beautiful campus. Bar the odd selfie here and there, our Instawalkers achieved this with aplomb, as a plethora of beautiful pictures of the campus can be seen under the hashtag - #NMMUWalk on Instagram.

What was even more interesting was how 25 completely different students, with everyone studying different courses and from different backgrounds could come together for a new experience and enjoy it so much. We all came to take pictures of a beautiful campus and share these on Instagram but the bi-product of this was that friends and connections were made and for some, followers were gained.

Barriers were transcended at the #NMMUWalk; people you would normally speak to over an app using a smartphone were now standing right next to you taking the very pictures that would leave you awestruck on Instagram. Not only that, but societal barriers were also dismantled, this was evidenced by the diversity of the students present. This goes to show how social media – which is famous for rendering active-users as anti-social can now be used as a socializing agent, which can only bode well for social cohesion in our beautiful country.

It’s really cool to know that we go to a university that encourages creativity, diversity and a vibrant student life. Kudos to the lads from Cityofpe for hosting this event with NMMU, I hope this was the first of many.

Have a look at some of the creative photos.