What Instagram has taught me so far

I’ve been on Instagram for about nine weeks and here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Everyone is having a better life than I am.
  2. No, they’re not. It just seems that way. It’s the place where people put on their best face.
  3. Real photographers use a proper camera. They don’t muck about with a mobile phone. Technologically speaking, mobile phones can’t touch a real camera. Yet.
  4. The trend in photography is to saturate photos with so much color and gleam they look like ads for LSD. Why does that feel like an appropriate reflection of our times?
  5. People are too lazy to write a pithy word or two in comment sections. Emojis are the last refuge for the verse-challenged.
  6. Instagram has revealed that I might have a latent addictive personality disorder. I check it far too often. I’m hoping the newness wears off soon.
  7. I’m disappointed over my desire for more followers. It’s not dissimilar to when I first started blogging. I got over it here. I’m sure I’ll move on there as well


My bride and I went out Saturday night to see comedians John Mulaney and Pete Davidson. I enjoyed Mulaney but found Davidson vulgar and unfunny. In all fairness, we are not Davidson’s target audience. The same people who find him funny are the same folks who’d attend Coachella, which is something I’d never do.

They announced that cell phones would be locked in a Yonder pouch so the show couldn’t be recorded. The pouches are unlocked on your way out. We didn’t want to deal with all that so we left our phones at home. We sat at the dinner table and tried to remember the last time we left the house for a night out (or ANYWHERE) without our phones and we couldn’t. Initially, I was concerned that not having my phone might give me an anxiety attack but do you know what? Dinner + show – phone = emancipation. We didn’t miss it one bit. An uninterrupted dinner was a genuine pleasure.


After all these years, having kids finally pays off. I waited a long time for this day to come.

Oliver and Alice say hello. They want you to know they’re fine. Send treats.

50 thoughts on “What Instagram has taught me so far

  1. Pingback: What Instagram has taught me so far — Exile on Pain Street | Mèir Weiss/z 's Blog

  2. Well I’m not speaking to you, not only have you NOT followed me back on Instagram, but you haven’t even commented on my fabulous new blog post. Instagram did that to me too. Made my head like a bland dollop of magnolia so that I was incapable of writing a pithy comment – though at least I CONTINUED TO TRY. In six months time you will be thinking in emoji and you will banging on my door begging for advice on how to get your brain back.
    *Exits in a huff of scarlet*

  3. Your take on Instagram is spot on. The novelty wears off eventually. My daughter is the instigator when comes to me posting. She lives and breathes that damned app.

    I once forgot my phone and actually survived the entire day! And it was incredibly freeing. We are all so hopelessly addicted and I’m convinced all this screen time is slowly sucking away what’s left of our little brains. Hard to believe a mere 6 years ago we didn’t own a single cell (not even a flip phone). Oh, the humanity! Now I try (try!)to take a long break on the weekends. This involves turning the evil thing off and stashing it in a drawer so I’m not tempted. In the immortal words of our leader…Sad!

    • Boy, I sure hope you’re right about the novelty wearing off. I don’t want to tell you how many times a day (an hour!) I hit refresh. It’s embarrassing. The little ‘like’ button goes off and I get a shot of endorphins. Is it just me? Both of my daughters are on Instagram CONSTANTLY. They don’t give a damn about FaceBook. That’s for old folks.

      If I could wave a magic wand and uninvent cell phones, I would. I readily admit I’m addicted.

  4. I can only check and comment on “The Gram” (which is what the hip kids call it, sugar) BECAUSE I have not bothered to replace the battery on my iPhone or upgraded or accepted my daughter’s offer of her “old” iPhone (I don’t even know what version it is, but I was using a 5s, so it way newer than that). At first, I missed it, but then it was a meh feeling and now, well now I.HAVE.BEEN.RELEASED. (I hope you heard that in Bob Dylan’s voice)

    But, back to you. The infatuation will wear off, but I do hope you’ll continue to post your gorgeous photos there and still continue to blog, sweetpea!

    Re the indentured servants, I mean, the daughters. Well, I sure as hell miss the Krewe of Four around here! Even when they visit, we do get free labor out of them still. You and your fine bride have much to look forward to! xoxo

    • I’ve never heard it called The Gram. Do you know why? Because I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t know if I ever was. You are a wise one for divorcing your phone. I only wish I could. I get too much joy from it. It helps shorten an insufferable commute. It’s the numbing agent. I need it.

      Thanks for your kind words. I love my photos! The only creative thing I’ve ever done, really. I think they deserve a wider audience but it doesn’t look like that’ll ever happen.

      • My 40 yr old daughter told me to the new word. 🙂 Totally understand the need for a phone on a commute. My commute these days is from the bedroom to the kitchen/coffee pot. Also, having the MITM at home negates the need for a mobile, but that will end soon enough.

  5. Good insights, here, top to bottom. I went ten days without a phone or internet access of any kind on a retreat not too long ago. It was so great. And so easy to get re-addicted afterwards. The good news is this addiction is not like substance addiction. It’s easy to shake. But someone’s got to take the thing away. That’s the only way it seems to work.

    • I have a friend who’s about to go on a silent retreat. I’m THISCLOSE to signing up for one myself. It sounds like just what the doctor ordered. I say bad things about my phone and my Instagram hard fought wisdom is a little negative, but I don’t derive some joy from both. I’ll be glad when the shiny new toy has lost some of its luster.

  6. Re the seven learns Mr Exile… I think I am mostly impressed that you got from number one to number two so quickly! I imagine there’s many who have been on Instagram a lot more than nine weeks who haven’t had the moment of realisation contained in number two yet (and are therefore still struggling quite a lot with numbers seven and possibly six).

    • I think I was at #2 before I even signed up for Instagram. I know the workings and the truth behind social media. I have tread lightly on purpose. I am less prone to get caught-up in someone else’s nonsense today than I would’ve been a few years ago. It’s probably the only benefit of getting old. You care less and less.

  7. So far, I’ve managed to avoid Instagram since I’m on two other photography sharing sites (not that it gets me anywhere). Your girls are doing a great job with that driveway – send them on over to my house. I have cookies.

    • The other two should suffice your need. As long as you have an outlet, you’re good to go. What’s harmful is looking at those outlets to validate your work. Does it please you? That should be enough but for many folks (ahem…including me) approval is desired from outside sources. It’s absurd.

      What kind of cookies? I might do it myself.

      • I hear you about validation. I drive myself nuts every time I post a photo, waiting for feedback of any kind. I never think my photos are quite good enough. sigh

        Whatever kind of cookies you’d like, but they might be store-bought (in-store bakery, however). Oh, wait, if I can’t get out of my driveway, I might not be able to get cookies ….

  8. The funniest Comedians make everyday simple stuff very funny. No need for extreme cussing or politics. Comedy subjects are personal, how much and who/what do you hate? There is hater Comedian for everyone.
    Cell phones are also very personal. I use it 10 minutes a month. It is very convenient when you need to call/text. You need to get the girls a snowblower. Do the Cats like the snow? Neighborhood looks nice.

    • Do you know John Mulaney’s work? He’s pretty funny and works clean and about 90% free of politics. Very enjoyable. And the kids like him, too! He sold out Radio City Music Hall four days in a row, multiple shows each day. He’s a big deal.

      I really like my phone. I try not to let it get the best of me but it’s fun.

      My driveway isn’t long enough for a snow blower. I can’t justify the expense. Plus, I honestly don’t mind doing it. It’s a nice workout.

  9. All these social media platforms are shallow and vacuous, you know that. You’ll connect with a handful of good people and the rest are just out to get many likes and follows so they can -ummm- I dunno, become an influencer or something, water the f**K that means.

    Enjoy it for what it is. Besides, I follow you and actually like you as a person so that’s worth a million likes 😉

    It’s good to put your phone down for a while. I do that on holiday and it’s liberating but it makes you realise how much you are attached to the damn thing which is very unsettling.

    • Sure. Shallow and vacuous. But also pretty awesome! Where else can I share my photos? I’m not saying I have a big following. It’s actually quite, quite small. But the people who have hooked up seem to enjoy my stuff and that’s nice.

      You can follow me anytime. Tee-hee.

      I’m going to try and have a set period during the week where I don’t look at or pick up my phone. I’m not exactly sure when that’ll be–I always seem to be on the damn thing–but it sounds like it’s be a healthy endeavor.

  10. I’m following you there! My favorite pics should be of those you’ve taken in the museums, but I’m shallow enough to admit that the ones you take from high up in your office (particularly of birds) are my true favorites.

    Every time I leave the house and forget my phone I feel completely awkward now; like I’ve forgotten to put on pants or something. We are too dependent on them.

    Congrats on your kids doing the shoveling. Did you make it a true experience and stand there in the window staring at them the entire time? I still have irritating memories of my dad doing that. 🙂

    • It just dawned on me who you were in my Instagram account so I followed. I am very, very clueless when it comes to this new social media platform–which isn’t new at all but has been around for quite some time. I’m trying! And are you kidding? Those falcon shots are totally unique. You’d never get that close in the real world.

      I always run a check when I leave the house. Phone. Keys. iTouch. Wallet. It’s like a mantra.

      I stood in the window and watched but they didn’t know I was there. That’d be just mean! Who would do that?!

      • I had to think for a second just now how I found your Instagram page. I’m pretty sure you mentioned it in a recent post of yours here. Hey, you post a link and I’ll click on it. It’s a wonder I don’t get more viruses on my computer, honestly. I swear I’ll click on anything. Anyway, yeah, I love those shots from your office window. In my heart of heart I’m still a big city boy…

  11. Apparently, going phone-free is the next Big Thing. The young-uns in my life told me that. Which is interesting coming from the under 20 crowd. But, I do go phone-free when I’m on holidays. I love not having to deal with it.
    Great kitty photos. The orange/white kitty looks like she’s (he’s?) a charmer.

    • God, I sure hope it’s the next big thing. That would be a healthy development. Some kids at restaurants are putting their phones in the middle of the table. The first one who picks up their phone has to pay the bill. I like it.

      Your personality assessment of our Cats is dead on. That orange cat likes people. The other one does as well, but from a distance.

  12. My ‘phone is about 6″ away from my right hand.It is switched off. Has been for days and will not be turned on until I need to use it to make an important call.Like losing the intertnet (our landline now runs through that)

    Your young ladies are gold.But you know that.

    And as for those furry critters … 🙂 🙂

  13. Insightful stuff, I often keep my phone in hand for the sake of safety. Growing up I had very protective parents so my promising to keep my fully charged phone in hand was my ticket to the outside world, now it’s just habit. Although I honestly don’t mind staring of into space instead of pretending to be busy on my phone. Great photos btw, love the “verbally-challenged” quip!

  14. I’ve got an old Nokia 1100, in which the height of technological advancement was the game Snake. I’m quite happy with it, but people have now turned into phone pushers — I’m constantly getting offered “smart”phones when people see my little old internet-free thing.

    My middle daughter is 20 and she’s more or less completely nocturnal now. Yes, she doesn’t finish work till 11 or midnight, but then it’s hour after hour on Instagram. Her sleep patterns must be fucked up by now.

    How I wish we had snow like that over here!

    • Hello, sir. It’s nice to see you. You have an admirable lifestyle. It’s probably not to everyone’s taste but I think you run an interesting show. Stick with your Nokia. You’ll seen trend hip.

      We make our daughters keep their phones in the kitchen overnight. They’re not allowed in the bedroom. They’re still young enough so that we have control but I’m sure as soon as they’re out of our clutches they’ll do just as your daughter is doing.

      Don’t wish too hard. Snow is only fun when you’re a kid.

  15. I agree with most everything.
    1. Pete Davidson isn’t funny at all. And he is boring. Heard him on Howard Stern and I was like, “So people pay you to be funny?” All Howard could find to talk about was that he was having sex with Ariana Grande. And now that’s over. So yeah, no need for that dude.
    2. People are for sure getting crappier at writing from not flexing that muscle. That’s why guys like you and me hold onto our blogs. Keep it going, man!!!!!

  16. Oversaturated phone photos is a big beef of mine. And, with social media, those radioactively glowing photos get glowing “oohs” and “aahs.” Makes me wonder if I’m seeing color wrongly, after awhile, but then I take a walk and see a sunset without the aid of a cell-phone camera. That’s refreshing.

  17. The last time I ventured afield was ten years ago when I joined Face Book and my blog Past Imperfect has suffered since – as you know. My son beseeches me to join What’s App but I refuse to complicate my life further and constantly poring over a phone – or whatever would plague my indigestion. You and Scarlet have convinced me of the folly of it.
    Cats? I love the redhead but what about your dog. I know you weren’t in love with him but this is a right volte face.

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