Sometimes You Gotta Say WTF

Do you remember this scene from Risky Business? Back before Tom Cruise was Maverick in Top Gun. Or Tom Cruise the Creepy Scientologist Guy?

Sometimes you gotta say what the fuck. Take your chance. Kinda like deciding to take a pause from Instagram to get back to a little more authenticity in writing postcards. To really work on real connections. To chill a little.

So, you might be wondering how I came to this idea. It’s multi-pronged, but let me give you a list:

  1. Massive time suck. Huge. I gasped when I discovered I spent an average of 29 hours per week on Instagram. I have lots of things to do, but that IG alert going off is a drug.
  2. Content delivered to fewer and fewer followers. I have a lot of followers, but on a good day IG showed what I published to fewer than 500 of them.
  3. Feeding the beast is exhausting. Receive cards. Photograph cards. Write captions. Determine timing for posts. Respond to comments. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
  4. Is it about connections or social media recognition? There is good to be had on IG — that’s the connections. But it morphs. And it can rapidly become about likes and exposure.
  5. I don’t own my content on IG. And neither do you. If Instagram decides they don’t like what I post, down it goes. Same if someone angrily “reports” you.
  6. Not enough space to write meaningfully. I like writing captions, but there’s a moment when it’s nice to have a little more breathing space to write. That’s here.
  7. If you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product. Notice all those ads? I mean it was getting to the point where every third post I’d see was an ad. Had to search for friends’ posts.
  8. More creative freedom. I want to do more than post photos of cards I receive. It’s a feed the beast issue. I want to write more about postcards and connections.
  9. More time to work on The Postcardist Podcast. I’ve enjoyed making that show. And I plan to make many more. That takes a lot of time to produce. Now I’ll have more time to do that.
  10. More joy; less stress. Those of you who know me know that I’ve dealt with a pretty serious health issue for three years. I have more to deal with. Lowering stress is good for all of us.

That’s a list. I could write 10 more or 90 more reasons. I think you get the point. I’m not saying I’ll never go back to IG; it’s just a pause. I threw the circuit breaker. I’m not a person who announces something then changes my mind. It’s why I didn’t give a warning before I pushed pause. But I do reserve the right to wander back to Instagram someday with some guardrails in place. I’ll miss out on the interactions with kind people. And I’ll miss seeing some photos. But I’ll be glad to reclaim my time.

Just to show you something I could never show on Instagram without being reported, here’s a postcard I got from my Sugar & Kiki subscription this month. And it’s the words I said when I pushed pause. Kate knows me. And it cracked me up that this was in my mail that day.

If you’re here — thank you. If you’re not, neither of us will be the wiser. Let’s work on getting back to basics. Postcards connect people. Let’s do more of that.

13 comments on Sometimes You Gotta Say WTF

  1. OG says:

    That’s a lot of good reasons and the consistently right decision Frank.
    Instagram takes up so much time and you always have the feeling that you’re not doing enough.

    I want to take nice photos that do justice to the postcards, but I’m running out of time for it. It feels like I’m a slave to the Instagram system and that’s no fun. So I follow your example and will also pause my original.gitti account and just write cards!

    1. Frank says:

      OG, I was inspired by your thought process around original.gitti. I listened. And imagine that we can spend time writing cards instead of checking Instagram. That works for me. Side note: Yes, about the “not doing enough.” I could have that on my list. I would get exhausted with people asking if their card arrived, when their card will be featured, etc. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel.

      1. OG says:

        Absolutely Frank, you can definitely use your time more sensibly than on the hamster wheel. But I’m also happy, without Instagram I would never have met you and many other fabulous people!

        1. Frank says:

          You’re so right about Instagram being a good place to meet people. I met you there. And I’m delighted about that. I’m sure there’s a lot of good with the site; just right now for me it’s a place I’ll take a rest from.

  2. fiona austin says:

    Totally get this. Instagram is a monstrous timesuck. Sounds like you’ve made the best decision for you, so that you can get back to doing what you love x

    1. Frank says:

      The idea that I was making what amounts to a full-time job messing around on Instagram told me everything I needed to know. I must admit I was shocked when I looked at my phone stats. What was I doing?

  3. Ana says:

    All your reasons are good reasons. But the main one is you needed something else. And we do not usually listen to ourselves. So, I’m happy you did.
    And won’t complain because I love blogging. You can write longer and whatever you want. The possibilities are infinite.

    1. Frank says:

      Thank you…I have a thousand reasons why. These are the ones that popped in my head at the time. And yes, more writing, fewer demands. This could be fun. It’s a big leap — but so far I’m glad I did it.

  4. Eluse says:

    Good for you Frank. Life is short, enjoy the things you want to do and take care of yourself!

    1. Frank says:

      Thank you! It’s been liberating, that’s for sure. Even though I miss the interactions on IG, right now it’s a good plan to focus more on the creative and less on the social (except to say I’ll have a lot more time to write postcards).

  5. ed says:

    Bravo Frank, like a guy I know said to me: “Instagram just wants to sell you stuff”. Time is our most precious resource, and who wants to have yet another censor judging. I support you.

  6. Hi, Frank! I’m not active on IG and am glad you’ve moved your content to your site. I love getting your stories and pictures delivered to my inbox!

    I envy your frequency. When I started my blog, I decided I wouldn’t push myself to post according to any schedule. My audience grew over time, especially since I share my posts on Twitter and FB, which I know you also do . I feel certain that your IG audience will miss you and come looking for you here.

    Congratulations on deciding to blog more, and best wishes for many happy hours in content creation!

    Karen Commins

    1. Frank says:

      It’s been a week And I have to say I don’t miss IG like I thought I would. I figure I can do more here for a smaller audience. And all of us, I think, will be happier. I’ve already written more like I’ve wanted to in this past week than I did in the entire year leading up to this.

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