I’ve become my own carnival barker. I have a published #book, and now I am on social media, hawking it to anyone who will view a post.
I never was interested in social media. I never did Facebook. For me, joining Facebook would be like living in Disney World; I didn’t think I could handle the constant carnival. I dabbled in it just enough to stalk my children, but that’s as far as I allowed myself to go.
So instead, for my first foray into social media, I opted for LinkedIn, which is a fairly tame, buttoned-up professional network. It was perfect because I didn’t have to say a thing, and I could send out invitations for people to join my network each night while I was falling asleep. This was my kind of media!
Unfortunately, LinkedIn was not enough. When you’re #published, you have to put yourself out there, all over cyberspace. I had to pick another network, one with teeth. I could choose between Twitter (not me), Facebook (already voted down) and Instagram, which won by default. Plus, if I had to jump on the social network train, I figured I might as well jump on the newest car in the station.
Instagram and I are pretty #happy together. For one thing, it’s fairly streamlined. It’s basically pictures on an app on your phone. You take a picture and post a short caption and add few #hashtags so that people all over the world can find you and like you and, hopefully, follow you. If you’re an advanced Instagramer, you can also create mini “stories.” I quickly learned the Insta-ropes, namely, how to bait strangers with hashtags (go #atlantaunited!) and photos of food.
I started an account at my first book signing with practically no millennial assistance at all. (OK, I took the pictures all by myself and the nice staff @davincidonuts showed me how to open the account.) But the thing about Instagram is that it’s somehow connected to Facebook, so that if you’re already on Facebook, your Facebook friends can flow seamlessly into your Instagram account. Since I wasn’t on Facebook, I started off #instapoor. (Which rhymes with #rusticdecor.)
There’s nothing more humbling than having fewer followers than someone who doesn’t even have one post. No, there IS something more humbling, and that is when you’ve been scrounging for likes and followers for months, and then your son gets two times more likes on his first post than you have total followers … or when you see that someone’s pet has more followers than you do.
I managed to start off with six followers because I begged my family to follow me, and I discovered that somehow I had an old Instagram account that I started years ago, which allowed me to follow myself.
And to add to my humiliation, I got schooled by my youngest, who gently suggested that I check out the unwritten rules of Instagram (which are helpfully written all over the internet if you only know to look for them), and I learned to dial back my postings.
I also learned how to post in incomplete sentences. (Just for fun. Because … Instagram.)
Now I feel like I’m back in high school trying to get into the popular crowd. “Like me, and I’ll like you,” “Follow me, and I’ll follow you.” (Unwritten rule: you never post “follow me and I’ll follow you” — but believe me, you imply it.) And the irony is, I ended up starting a Facebook account after all.
Yes, it’s addictive, and yes, it’s great fun.
So here I am, @robincontewriter, barking to the cyberworld, but it’s all #instagood.