Always the optimist; a lifelong supply of my Italian postcard books
I just got off the phone with my 22-year old daughter, Isabelle. I had the phone on “speaker” because I got so tired of holding it in the crook of my neck while spending the last thirty minutes trying to set up Instagram on my phone. She was giving me a tutorial from 1200 miles away in Charleston, SC where she works for a catering company and part of her job / pleasure is to do the social media for the company (Duvall Catering.) As Charleston is a hot spot for parties and good food it’s a rockin’ job and she’s happy to help her moderately luddite mother.
I had some idea that I should be Instagramming. I love to take photos. I can set up a shot after spending years as a stylist for shelter magazine photo shoots. I had seen how my friend Anna’s new shop, The Foundry Home Goods Store in Minneapolis, had benefitted from people Instagramming her from here to Texas. Literally. Texas.
I thought, okay, get with it. The majority of my work is visual (interior design) so I need a visual medium. So, I uploaded (I almost said “downloaded!) the Instagram app and that went fine. Then, I tried to set it up, but I couldn’t make it work. Trying to sync it to Facebook was a pain. I couldn’t remember my Facebook log in. Really, can people remember that? I had to set up a whole new account and tattoo the password on my hip so I wouldn’t forget it.
It didn’t take long, but I soon realized that Instagram is a foreign language. I had to log out so Izzy could log in to set it up. “What do you want your Bio to read, Mom?” I told her. She configured it. “Okay now I have to explain how you link to other people.” Well, easy breezy, I’m sure. I saw the “@” sign used. I know what that means. (Thought I did!) How hard can it be? But what the heck is the “#” sign for? Pounds of what? Why does it look like people are talking jive? I looked at a few photos and the text below them looked like Russian.
Then, Izzy starts talking Hash marks. “Hash, Mom, like the drug.” You need to get this down. Or no one will be your friend. Do you have a pen and paper?” Jeesh! No friends. This is too much. I get how to take a photo. I get how to set up the frame and make it look the way I want it to look. But, if I don’t get the hash thing, I will have no friends. I am not entirely sure my brain is wired for this.
“I need a break, Iz. I’ll have to finish this later.” I have a thank you to write. I want to find the postcards I made from my photos in Italy and thank my friends for their house warming gifts. Please. Just give me a pen and my postcards. Now.
Yeah, there you go. I made postcards books. Real ones. Hard copies. 200 of them in fact, which was pretty dumb, but, hey, I have postcard books of Italy that will never run out. Hand made at that and printed locally. And they arrive with a stamp on them. Not with the ding of bell on your phone. Written to one person at a time. And I have to stop long enough to think about that person, his or her quirks and preferences and maybe his / her sense of humor. I don’t think you do that on Instagram. I think you just splatter it on the world canvas, then hope that your droplet in the electronic ocean makes a splash. I’m not sure I’m cut out for this. Even Izzy said, “It’s pretty new, Mom. It would be cool for your brand. But, not many people your age will be into it.”
I never really got Facebook. Don’t care. I’d rather know that someone, somewhere stands there with my postcard in hand, surprised to pull it out of the mailbox, examining the image, wondering something about it’s origin, smiling at being thought of in this way, reading the text, smiling again to know that I care about him / her, this one person in a particular way. So, I’ve turned off my phone and I’m off to buy stamps.