POPULARITY: UPS AND DOWNS by Marilyn Armstrong

Recently, I got “set up” with Instagram. Assured that I could be very popular on it, I set up a password and was left still baffled by how come I can’t use one of my laptops. I don’t have an iPhone and I’m not really comfortable on my mini iPad. But no matter. I could work it out.

All I need to do, is want to make it work. Which I haven’t done.

Assured that I could be very popular, I realized I wasn’t sure I wanted to be more popular. I think maybe I’m entirely popular enough. I feel obliged to respond to commenters. As it is, I barely have time to do anything but work on the computer.

When I have a busy day that requires I do outside stuff — like shopping or cooking or spending the day on telephone hold — I look at my “inbox” and there are hundreds of new emails. I know I won’t be able to even open them, much less answer them. As bedtime rolls around, I delete almost everything, saving a few things that I really want to read and hope I’ll find time for.

Tomorrow is another day. Another few hundred emails will show up. If I leave today’s stuff until tomorrow, I’ll be buried. I may never dig out.

So is that the only reason I don’t want to be “more popular?”

Not entirely. To me, at least, popularity is responsibility. People in my world — online and off — expect me to respond to them, to answer their comments, to pay attention to what’s going on in their world — and rightfully so.

Except — I’m out of time. I can’t do it.

I can not do one thing more than I’m already doing. I’m stretched thin. Of those hundreds of daily emails, I’m able to read fewer than half. I barely have time to entirely read even the few I open, much less thoroughly read anything. Of the (too many) blogs I follow, I read maybe a third of them on a good day. On a less good day during which I’ve got other obligations than computing, I may not get to anything. I find myself at midnight looking at a mass of unopened emails and knowing I can’t do it. I’m tired. All I want is to read for a few minutes and fall asleep.

I’ve run out of conscious hours.

Too much of something is very similar to nothing at all. Having mountains of material to read and being unable to spend any time digging into it is very much like not reading. The result is nagging guilt. This is not what I had in mind.

I don’t want to give up on the people I follow, but I’m in over my head and that’s without adding anything more. So no Instagram for me. No more anything. Garry’s surgery is two weeks away and I’ve got to find time to deal with him and me and our lives. Everything else will have to wait.

Being more popular is not what I need.  What I really need is more time!

Categories: Art and special effects, Blogging, dogs, Pets, Photography

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35 replies

  1. I find that a lot of these platforms (FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc) entail a lot of busy time so I’ve tried not to get involved. It just takes too much time from other projects.


  2. I know exactly how you feel. I follow many, reply to several, miss too many. What I am able to read and follow fills me with delight, it’s a window on the world filled with warmth humour and contact. I love that about this blog and the people such as you I’ve met here. So when you can, drop by say hi, and if you can’t due to time constraints, we’ll all understand. It’s good to know your here and touch base, read your thoughts. Makes my day 🙂


    • I really do try. Mostly, I realize I can’t. I’m not even sure I would ever have been able to follow this much material and still turn out any of my own. And that is the bottom line: I can’t write if I’m reading all the time. It’s the fatal flaw in the process.


      • Its true. I cancelled all the emails except yours and a few others. I follow on reader and those I respond to. There really isn’t enough time in a day. I’d love to read more than I do, but I really can’t. For someone like you with thousands of followers, it would be overwhelming. I have 851 on w/o,2000 on Twitter. That’s more than I can handle. Lol


  3. Yesterday, I purposely stayed off my devices mostly. Since I did not post for the blog, I didn’t read any. It was a slow day due to the Independence day holiday. Last spring I took a 4 month blog break because of the overwhelming expectations of reading too many wonderful blogs, while working hard to set up my university course and teach it. I kept up with a handful of bloggers with whom I’ve developed relationships. I spent some good time on Instagram because I need that creative outlet that photography provides me. Being online is certainly a choice and I think most people understand if one doesn’t read every post. I admire folks who can publish blog posts daily, but I can’t do it. Hosting Sunday Stills keeps me busy enough ☺ Bravo for your choices, Marilyn!


    • One of the worst things WordPress did was remove that central support and now I feel like I need to respond to all the hard-working people who have started prompts. Impossible. So I do what I can and if I find it’s too much, I will have to find a way to do less.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t follow the “popular” bloggers mainly because I already know there isn’t going to be a mutual interaction. Someone who had hundreds (or even thousands) of legitimate followers (not just spambots or human spambots) can’t possibly keep up with everything unless they hire a staff to read and reply to everything. I’ve often wondered how they keep their loyal masses, but I guess once you attain the blogger version of celebrity status, just the occasional pat on the head is enough to keep the faithful faithful. I’m very happy to be unpopular, and have lots…. er, a fair amount of other unpopular people in my fold!


    • I try to rotate so that I get to everyone in the course of a week, but at this point, no matter HOW interesting a post is, I don’t follow it. I just can’t add another one to the list. Am I the only one who feels guilty because I can’t answer everyone? I try to answer all the comments, but when it comes to the posts, it’s hopeless. It’s simply beyond my hours. And I do need to occasionally NOT be reading everyone else or I’ll never write anything. But I still feel bad about it. People with a strong sense of guilt should beware of over-committing to projects. I’m sure it’s all my own fault.

      As for who is a popular blogger? I think we all ARE popular bloggers. That’s part of the problem. We didn’t start out that way, but we’ve wandered into it.


    • Squirrel, sometimes you can be surprised. I’ve emailed popular sportswriters who I enjoy. I’ve gotten responses 3 out of every 5 times. I’m always surprised.

      Squirrel, you’re a popular blogger. Are you responsive to all your fans? No judgement here. Just curious.


  5. I’ve never been popular so it’s not even a word I roll around in my head. 🙂 I do two blogs, the second being a nonprofit, and two Instagram accounts for these blogs. I spend less than twenty minutes a week on Facebook because I find it so superficial and full of drama I just avoid it. Same thing with Twitter. I have had to come to the realization if someone blogs once a day or more, I can’t follow them because I don’t have the time, and I get my notifications through email as well. I just have to check in periodically. Instagram for me is all about the photos – many good photographers show case their best shots. I’m a laptop person too, but I send some photos to my phone, save them, then upload to Instagram. I can go through both Instagram accounts in less than fifteen minutes because there are hardly any comments on there. Good luck with finding balance – tough job. I’m feeling guilty that I’m causing you more work with this long comment. 🙂


    • For Instagram, I would have to send pictures to my mini iPad and then to Instagram, but I find that relay so annoying, I don’t do it. Partly on principle, partly just because my life is already hopelessly inconvenient. What happened to all those empty hours I was going to get by retiring? Where did that time go? How did I ever find time to work?

      I haven’t got any problems with comments. I consider that “part of my job.” But I have a list of things I’m supposedly following that is ridiculous. I don’t want to unfollow anyone because I like their work. It’s good. But I don’t have time to participate. I think of you as a friend, as I do a dozen or so others. But all the others, no matter how good they are, I don’t have the means to be in all those places at once. I keep trying, though.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I love Instagram, and most often people will “like” the post – sometimes they comment, but not that often. I keep my Instagram account private- too many haters and crazies out there-you need to be given “permission” to follow my account, and so I only have mostly friends and a few bloggers. I love following many different people on Instagram- there are wonderful photos out there!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Totally agree. I do have an Instagram account but never uploaded any of my own photos. I use it to send tiny little (love) notes to friends who use Ig rather than other medias. The very same reasoning as yours applies to my not having a blog. I am informing my nearest and dearest but don’t feel I could cope with having my own blog too. As it is I spend too much time already with my keyboard and iPad/computer…..
    And a last word: To me you are HUGELY important and popular. Although I found you very late and only read you for a short time, I enjoy every communication coming from you. And yes, I too am a person who only wants to stay in contact with like-minded people. Why pour out my heart and soul when you NEVER get a feedback? Obviously they don’t care enough if I don’t merit the occasional reply?! On the other hand, I feel a deep connection with some wonderful people I only know ‘online’ and with whom I most probably shall never have a chance to meet up properly. I’m just thankful for ‘this’….. it’s more than many others have!


  8. I agree, I know there are many fascinating people out there blogging but I don’t feel I have the time to look for them and still read the ones I follow now regularly. I do use the reader because if I got them as emails I know I’d be overwhelmed and end up deleting everything unread or be afraid to open my mailbox. You love to write so you want and maybe need to keep blogging but you can’t enjoy it if it consumes so much of your time that you can’t do anything else. I love to read posts and comment and write my own but I also love to take photos, do stuff with dolls, read and watch TV as well as looking after the pets and all the boring household stuff. Those of us who always read your blog would not be upset if you didn’t always have time to comment on ours. We all have times like that. We’d only be worried if you had disappeared completely in case anything was wrong.
    By the way how long will Garry have to be in hospital for the surgery?


  9. I know what you mean about the lackof time, Marilyn… I wouldn’t want to add anything else to the day either… the clocks already chitter at me for overworking them 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I use email and my blog — no time for anything else. I do have a twitter account, but only occasionally read it, partly to enhance my political understanding, but never tweet! That’s enough for me!


    • I use twitter for ‘publicity,’ but not for communication. I feel overly communicated already. And when I find myself with real-life people I have nothing to say. I’m so used to writing, I’ve forgotten how to talk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope that’s not a harbinger of things to come — kids now spend so much time on-line that they may well forget (or never learn) how to talk!


      • I think we forget how to talk if we spend most of our waking hours on line. It’s ironic because we tease the kids about their obsession with on line time.

        I don’t use twitter. I was trying to send a birthday message to someone yesterday — A prominent Yankee Doodle fella –and I Kept banging into twitter. Persistence paid off and, finally, I found a way to send the message on the fella’s Facebook page. But it was so time consuming because Twitter was the first option at every turn.


  11. I read very few emails, just personal messages, otherwise I cancel them. I work with the reader where the important stuff for paying attention is. Otherwise if someone really needs my attention they can use the Facebook messenger system.


    • I get messages about postings in email. This is because I don’t like the reader, but I’m beginning to think I should reconsider my options. Because this really isn’t working out well. I feel like I’m back at work — but without the paycheck.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Too much popularity and not enough time are two reasons why I neither tweet nor Instagram.
    Good luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to make a decision and I realized that sometimes, what you want is not what you think you want. I want more time to just BE. Read, write, take pictures. Hang out. I want some of that time I was supposed to have in retirement but seems to be missing. So no tweeting or Instagram for me. I know people who maintain multiple blogs. I have NO idea how they do that.


    • Where do people find time to stay current with all this on line stuff? Is there life outside of social media for these folks?


  13. Agreed. I won’t even join Linked in. My blog and Facebook and e-mail keeps me busy enough and I’m trying to wean myself away from them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Life, I dumped Link’d In and they’re still trying to Link me in. Like you, i’m busy enough with Facebook and the Blog comment exchangers. It’s hard to wean. Sometimes I discover half a day has passed while I’m busy with this stuff.


      • I signed up years ago at its beginning, never used it, have never linked with anyone, and still i get a notice most days that someone wants to link. I don’t see the point of it. I never hit the link button!


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