Recently, a moon ago to be exact, I joined Instagram. At my sister’s urging. She said I have to, I must. If I don’t, it’d be akin to a mother abandoning her newborn.
You see, I’d written a novel, and incredibly it got published. I felt lucky like I won a lottery, like Brad Pitt picking me out of the crowd and saying, I am the one.
A writer is like a miner, alone, inside a deep cave, and she likes it—this solitude. But now with my book out to the world, I’m told to come out of my cave and join social media, that I must promote my book.
To do this, I had to stop and battle with my conscience. I had always thumbed my nose at social media. I dismissed it. The scourge of our society and culture, I said. I am a mature woman, not a teenager, I said. When a friend created my Facebook page as a present, I told her to please take it down there and then.
Full of trepidation, I peeked into Instagram, and found it’s a world all on its own. It looked chaotic, noisy, and so bling bling, with traps everywhere that you could easily sink deep into and never come out of again.
But by and by, I learned the language of Instagram. And to my surprise, there’s logic, etiquette, rules. More shockingly, some Instagram friends actually share their passions, knowledge and insights. They want to nurture you, make you laugh, make you sigh for beauty.
Each Instagram account then is like a personal imprint, as unique as a thumb print, even when the page is only about bragging and promotion. It reveals a lot about the person behind it. You are not only naked, you feel like you are being X-rayed. It’s your picture diary.
So then, I ask myself—how do I share myself with strangers? What is my first impulse when I put up my post? Is it to brag, to show off, or is it to offer a slice of beauty and repose for the viewers? How do I cope with my insecurity, my competitive nature, looking at those accounts boasting millions of followers?
So I go on at my sloth’s pace. I visit others. I even see lovers of books and visual art, lots of them. I click “follow.” Despite all the bad actors running rampant like everywhere else, I think I will enjoy being here. I embrace it, and I feel embraced. And something whispers to me, “What took you so long?”