See you later, Instagram

by | Mar 15, 2018 | Uncategorized | 22 comments

I joined social media in order to promote The Typewriter Revolution. My reflections on this situation have previously been posted on this blog (here and here).

Pinterest, Vine, and Tumblr didn’t do anything for me. Twitter was unpleasant and unrewarding, and I discontinued it a while ago. Instagram has been the most enjoyable experience by far, but that’s part of the problem. Today I posted the following message.

I’m not deleting my Instagram account, and as I said, I may return to it occasionally to post something significant, but I need to stop using it on a regular basis.

This leaves Facebook as the only social medium where I’m actively promoting my book. I’ll probably keep that page, but I’m going to feel less compelled to use it to share every little news item about typewriters. For me, the main use of Facebook is to participate in the typewriter collectors’ groups, where the site’s software is admittedly excellent for multiparty conversations. But I don’t trust Facebook with my information, so I use a pseudonym and never post anything on my personal timeline.

As for blogging, as I suggested in my Instagram post, there’s no doubt that the blogosphere has declined since the rise of social media, and that includes the typosphere. Interactions between authors and audience are not as efficient and quick on blogs as on Facebook or Instagram. Readers may have to make some effort to find posts and spend some time understanding them. That all flies in the face of the craving for quick and easy “hits” of information that the Internet is designed to deliver. But although my audience here is small and may be decreasing, I continue to enjoy typecasting, so for now, this blog will continue.


  1. Chad

    Please do continue here, at least. It's one of my favorite blogs, and one of many I use an RSS reader to keep track of. What a cruel irony it would be for typewriters to surge in popularity at the very time the movement that made it happen would fade. Let it not be so!

  2. Richard P

    I appreciate that. I make no promises — writing and reading blogs should be purely voluntary — but for the time being, I still enjoy blogging.

  3. Joe V

    I'm guilty of not commenting other bloggers' articles as much as I should. Part of the reason is, unless you stay logged in on Blogger and WordPress, and don't delete your cookies, you have to log in every time you want to post a comment. That said, it's probably an inconvenient sacrifice worth making, to encourage others to keep blogging.

  4. Peter

    My friends- the real variety, and not digital ones- have ribbed me about "affirming the written word" digitally on my Facebook account. But as you've written previously, the digital and the real do have their proper uses. Here's hoping you find a happy balance of the two in your life.

  5. Chad

    Indeed, my online writing happens purely on an at-whim basis, as it should be. You can usually tell when someone's on autopilot. It's then when one's attention is best directed elsewhere.

  6. Words are Winged

    I'm with Joe in that I don't necessarily comment as often as I perhaps should, but I do certainly read a good majority of posts that stream through the almighty Blogroll. I prefer the lengthier format of the Blog over that of the "quick-know" nature of Facebook and the like. You get wonderful repositories of information that can easily show up in google searches with blogs, and more in depth discussion on a particular topic.

  7. Richard P

    Of course, typecasts don't show up in searches — a disadvantage (or an advantage?).

  8. Chad

    For the one typecast I've done thus far, since I (digitally) typed it out ahead of time I just pasted the whole text into the Alt Text field of one of the images. I did this for the sake of searchability on my own site, but secondarily for the wider internet as well.

    But for someone who typecasts regularly that would get onerous, and indeed might run counter to the whole purpose of typecasting!

  9. Caladh

    I found your blog when I was looking for a mat to put under my typewriter, so the search engine was helpful. I bought a mat from you and liked your blog so it is on my blog list. I went to see the movie, California Typewriter, and I am in the process of making a font from my typewriter. I enjoy your writing, and I do think about it all. Thank you!

  10. TonysVision

    "But although my audience here is small and may be decreasing…"
    Perhaps, but of high quality!

  11. Bill M

    You make a good point about readers may need to take some effort…
    A major problem with the next generations; no effort, instant, believe whatever you read on twitter.

    I know my blogging has decreased over the last year. Too much in the way with moving.

    Even though I have slowed on posting I still like to continue blogging when I can. I am not a social media anything.

    Oh, and this year not one mention anywhere (including my blog) about I.T.A.M.

  12. Walter

    I find that when I abstain from social media altogether for a few days, I have more desire to read (print), type, write letters, write poetry and meditate. It also slows the clock. I find now that I'm more of a lurker on social media. I always enjoy the typewriter blogs in mt feedly aggregator. Feedly will be the last thing I give up before crawing into my cave with a Hermes 3000 tucked under my arm (and extra onion skin, carbon paper and ribbon). Liked your post– ~Tom~

  13. Richard P

    That's because every month is now International Typewriter Appreciation Month! Or maybe just because we forgot. In any case, let's remember June 23, Typewriter Day.

  14. Lucas Dul

    I never wanted to join any social media, however when I tried Instagram to contact an old friend, I was intrigued. Unfortunately the internet is designed to captivate momentarily, and to melt the mind. Every small thing sucks brainpower, enabling people to become captivated by increasingly simpler things. Hence the meme. So don’t stop blogging. Someday, when we’re trapped in a nuclear winter, people won’t wait to know “lol I ate a tide pod,” they’ll want to hear “this is a typewriter, it revolutionized the business world.” Even an audience of one is still an audience. One more intelligent mind who took the tools they had to better themselves. And then, when the intellectuals are all gone, you can be an audience unto yourself.

  15. Ted

    Me like blog. blog permanent memory storage in handy place. blog not forget your post or its replies in a day or two. blog is *yours*, as long as you can hold the levers that run it. (well, maybe debatable when it comes to free corporate-hosted blogs, but at least *mine* is most certainly mine.)

  16. Richard P

    Good points, Unfrozen Caveman Webmaster!

  17. Robin Heilschild ????

    I'm not on the Instagram, but on the DeviantArt instead:

    Yes, the Blogger's and WordPress' activity has decreased, whereas the activity on mainstream social media (the Facebook, the Twitter, the Instagram, etc.) has increased. But I prefer reading a blog despite its slow updating instead of what mainstream people posts on social media, specially considering the fact people from the blogs has usually better drafting skills than people from social media (specially Mexicans and Americans, whose ortographic flaws drive me out) and the fact I usually find unworthy things on social media, disregarding the language it has been post. xD

    My blog:

    The other thing, regarding blogs, is related with time: Writing a post requires a lot of time. Sometimes, a post requires to be corrected and re-post again, specially if it's about literature. Besides, I post in Spanish, and Spanish-speaker world (which is mainly Third World) is not into reading either books or blogs at all. I'd post in English instead, but my English is not good enough yet. So… I'll keep on posting typecasts on my blog anyways. :P

    There was an age when I wanted to conquer the Internet, and I had about 400 social network profiles. Today, I just keep the Blogger, the DeviantArt, the VK and and the Google Plus with me. xD

  18. Becky

    I’m in constant turmoil, lately, over my social media usage: lose my attention span, or lose touch with my Facebook friends? Stay perpetually antsy and short term, or risk missing something substantive or critical?
    I can tell a sad tale: there once was a group of about 25 women, who all “met” on an interest board on AOL, over twenty years ago. We became dear friends, saw each other in real life, helped each other in crises, and wrote “reams and reams” (whatever the digital equivalent would be) on our private list serve—about our personal lives, our educational philosophies, our children, politics….ten, twenty letters a day! And, then, we all gradually migrated to Facebook, where life is immediate and easy, but also flip and necessarily impersonal. The flood of communication became a trickle, the trickle dried up all together…now, we only seem to correspond—and briefly! None of us write in the sustained fashion we used to— during grave emergencies. Facebook destroyed our collective communication.

  19. Richard P

    That IS sad. The Internet enables all sorts of activities, both shallow and deep, but it does seem to make it especially easy to create environments that foster a skimming mentality. That's what I came to dislike about my use of Instagram: I learned to glance at images without pausing or reflecting, spending less than a second on each one, occasionally "hearting" them without really caring. Much of what happens on Facebook works the same way.

  20. C.M. Mayo

    Dear Richard, I share your concerns about social media. I too got started with it to promote a book, back when social media was shiny new scene. Long story short, a couple of years ago I deactivated my FB; I never got started with Instagram nor Pinterest; and have been winding down my Twitter to what I think of as "courtesy tweets," an occasional tweet with the URL, say, of a Q & A with another author or book review on my blog. Speaking of blogs, after 12 years of blogging at "Madam Mayo," I continue posting on Mondays. Yes, I have noticed that most of my erstwhile readers migrated, I suppose, to FB. And so many people, when I see them now in the real world, are so continually interrupted by their tick-like needs to check or search for something on their smartphones, I cannot fathom how they could follow such thing as my blog, never mind my articles and books, anyway. However, I do hear from thoughtful readers on enough occasion that I don't feel like a nutter, and as with my print-articles and books, I accept, as I always have, that the written word goes out to an often opaque response. I myself am now reading a first edition of a memoir from the Mexican Revolution, published in the late 1920s. The author and her publisher have no Google analytics or amazon numbers to crunch about that; she passed on well before I was born– and as for when that was, let's just say, people who don't imagine I have something better to do have suggested that I start coloring my hair. But what I really want to say is, I appreciate your blog and I am very much hope that you will continue to blog. Kind regards, C.M. MAYO

  21. Richard P

    Thank you very much. These are endangered abilities: for readers, dwelling on a long text (which, of course, means choosing to forego skimming a thousand other texts); for writers, composing a text and tolerating an "opaque," delayed, or simply absent response; for all of us, thinking without depending on others' feedback. But I do enjoy all comments from readers of this blog!


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