Instagram: Is a Picture Worth a Million Words?

How much time do you spend on social media?

Come on, be honest. Since a large percentage of people I pass every day on my walks are scrolling through their telephones as they meander drunkenly down the sidewalk, I’m on to you. Not all of you are playing Pokemon Go–and if you are, please don’t while you’re on your bike or in a crowd. Accidents do happen. In fact, put that phone in your pocket and enjoy the fresh air and your own thoughts no matter what you’re looking at.

Unless you’re taking photos.

My own social media time has expanded enormously.

I started with tentative forays into email loops, until today I have, at the very least, reserved a page at every significant site. I’ll admit I am sometimes slow to catch on. Some of the platforms make little sense to me. I’ve hung back waiting to see what happens to them first. I’m on Google Plus in name only. I think I have a Tumblr account, but couldn’t tell you why. And I’ve had an Instagram account forever. With no photos loaded.

That changed this week. My husband, known here as Proman (Project Manager) has been after me to update my Instagram profile, add a photo and some information so I could begin to use it. Proman insisted Instagram would be useful and I would learn to love it.

I already have an active Facebook Reader’s Page and a personal profile page to go with it.

And by the way, if you asked me to friend you on my profile page, please don’t be unhappy if I didn’t respond. Having a Facebook profile is a requirement before starting a page. I almost never post on my own. In fact I mainly use it to spy on my children and other family members. I don’t want to risk boring you to death. I like you too much to be your “friend.”

If you really want to know what’s going on with me, my books, my life, “like” my reader’s page and if you really, really want to know everything,  let Facebook know you want to see all those posts by clicking on the down arrow beside “liked” on my page and checking “See First” under News Feed. You can post there, too, and I love hearing from you on my page.

But back to Instagram.

After being dragged kicking and screaming to my Instagram profile and updating it, I got a bit curious. So I began to look at other people’s feeds since mine was blank. And wow, what great photos. Plus what delightfully short captions. No scary long posts to plow through. Instant pops of color and information. Suddenly I understood.

Of course I followed up by reading about all the delightful ways authors use Instagram to tell readers about their books, their lives, their pets, their gardens, their signing events, their trips TO their signing events. That sounds like a lot of silly stuff, right? But the fun part of Instagram is that “followers” can quickly scroll through anything and everything.

And life is unbelievably colorful. This isn’t your grandmother’s interminable slide show. You can whiz through the boring spots because, let’s face it, while you might not understand why any sane person wants to see photos of random dogs, others might be on the edge of their seat waiting for the next one. So you get to decide where you want to linger and where you don’t.

Pretty long-winded, huh? Just to tell you Instagram and I are now best buds.

Since I just got started, I don’t have much to show in the way of photos or followers. Right now I’m enjoying posting photos about my summer here at Chautauqua Institution, lecture snippets, scenery and anything else that my smart phone and I find interesting. In the future though? How about snippets of the latest book? Research I found interesting? Books I’m reading and love?

I hope you’ll follow along with smart phone and me. I’ll enjoy looking at your photos, too. That puts the “social” in social media.

Is this another time waster? A reason not to write?

I don’t think so, but you tell me. I’ll see you over at Instagram and we can finish our conversation. In living color.


  1. Nancy Lepri on July 20, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I used to be on a lot of social sites, but now I limit it to just Facebook, and I spend way too much time on that as it is. Once I get on there, hours pass before I realize it and I need to discipline myself to get off sooner! ARGH.

  2. Kim Berger on July 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I’m on Facebook which I usually check in while having coffee in the morning. Sometimes I look at Pinterest, if I remember… I follow several people on Twitter, but never Tweet. Don’t do SnapChat, although my husband (age 60) does. Don’t have an Instagram account – boy, I feel very old school…..

    • Emilie Richards on July 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      You don’t sound old school at all. And if any of us tried to use every single platform, we’d do nothing else with our lives.

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