Social media update and a new Facebook Group for writers and readers of personal story

I quit Instagram. After they added Reels, which is their answer to TikTok, the time I spent on Instagram ballooned. Reels was remarkably compelling — and the most complete waste of my time ever. I couldn’t keep my hand out of that cookie jar, so I deleted the app and closed my account.

I enjoyed the connections I made on Instagram. A past president of Pentax Corporation used to comment on my photographs! That was fun. But I couldn’t make Instagram bring people here, the primary place I share my creative work. I’d rather invest my time in this site, and in bringing new readers here.

Facebook is a much better place to share my work, because it does bring readers here. So far this year, just shy of 6,000 people have visited this site thanks to my articles being shared on Facebook, mostly in Groups. In the last few months I’ve participated in a lot more Groups in topics I write about, and have begun to share my articles in them.

One Group was for personal essayists, which is the genre that matches my personal stories the closest. I’d gone along liking and commenting on others’ posts there for a while and recently shared my own work there for the first time.

Doing that got me banned, with no explanation and no recourse. I had shared my recent story about my family’s brush with Child Protective Services. Perhaps that was too challenging a story for that Group. I know it doesn’t cast me in a favorable light, as it involves me being quite angry with one of my children. Perhaps that ran afoul of the group’s rule against “triggering” topics? But I’ve read stories there from women processing sexual assault, so I thought my story wouldn’t be over the line. Who knows; like I said, they wouldn’t explain.

I have been surprisingly hurt by this. If my post was unwelcome, why wouldn’t they just delete it and send me a message to explain? It’s not like I’d broken any rules there before. I’d be happy to comply with what they ask.

Before I found and joined that Group, I had created my own Group for people who write stories from their lives. It’s called Personal Essay, Personal Story, and Memoir, and you can join it here. I felt kind of silly for creating it when I discovered the other, already thriving group. But if they don’t want me there, all I can do is seek to add members to the similar group I created.

The point of this group is for people who write stories from their lives to share them with people who like reading them. It’s that simple. If you publish a personal story online, just create a post in the group and paste in a link to the story. If you’ve written a book of personal stories, feel free to plug it there, as well (as long as you don’t spam the group, and participate in it otherwise).

My group may have only 25 members compared to the other group’s 30,000 members, but all good things have to start somewhere. With good participation, this group can be something fun and valuable. I hope you’ll join the group! Click here to join.

One last note: I’ve added a new social-media sharing toolbar to the site. If you’re on your phone, it’s at the bottom of the screen; if you’re on your computer, it’s at the bottom right of the browser window. If you like something I’ve written and think people you know will enjoy it, click one of the buttons to share it via email, on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Reddit. Thanks!


14 responses to “Social media update and a new Facebook Group for writers and readers of personal story”

  1. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    It was honest and will help others dealing with the new dynamics and stress of a family going through a divorce.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you. I thought so, too. But perhaps a divorced mom might have found that story to be especially challenging.

  2. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    Maybe you hit their sweet spot … who knows if they don’t explain. That’s why they are called a-social media – it’s not based on basic democratic rules.
    BTW: Is your data included in the FB breach from 2019, where the data come to public now?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I must have struck a nerve there. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t explain!

      I don’t think my data was included in the FB breach.

  3. Victor Villaseñor Avatar
    Victor Villaseñor

    I perceive Instagram as high effort, low benefit. I do post there from time to time, but I treat it as a youtube of sorts, mainly consumption, highly produced content with sparkles of spontaneous content here and there. Too bad about the ban on that group, it’s really hard to do anything when there is no explanation nor recourse.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat — all high effort, low benefit. Fun for consumption if you can avoid getting sucked in. I can’t, so they’re all gone from my phone.

  4. DougD Avatar

    Dang, Instagram is the only social media I do, although reels don’t really do much for me.
    My daughter told me my Instagram account is just like me. Vehicles, guitars, alcohol and dumb stuff. I took it as a compliment.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      One of my sons followed me on Instagram, but the other didn’t. I have no idea what the one son thought of it!

  5. thedullchannel Avatar

    I don’t get anyone from IG to my blog either. I only use IG in a browser and completely ignore reels. I use it mainly to stay in touch with local photographers and photo bloggers. I don’t put much effort into it posting an image every other day. IG is still on probation for me….I might delete in the future.

    I got banned on Facebook as well because I seemingly went against one of the many “trigger” or “microagression” rules. Being actually born in an authoritarian country I developed a strong dislike for any kind censorship. I want to put most of my effort into my own site which is something I own, my place and independent. That is why I like the blogging community more than FB or IG.

    It’s sad that they banned you for this story in particular. I thought it had a valuable lesson for others to learn.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Were you born in the former DDR then? I am okay with a Facebook Group having rules for what’s okay to write about and what’s not, but not if they ban without explanation for an infraction.

      1. thedullchannel Avatar

        Yes…I grew up maybe half an hour from the Wall. It was fascinating to see all the change after it fell. I was too young to actually photograph this time period though.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Oh wow. I got to see the Wall, and I got to spend parts of a couple days in East Berlin, when I was 16. I’ve written a number of stories here in which I touch on that time.

  6. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Lots of truth in Instagram being a time suck and not driving traffic to your website. I tried so many times and different ways. I found people who reposted my work without asking permission first just because I happened on using a tag. That’s why my account is no longer maintained and emptied of its contents.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If you’re willing to just use Instagram as a means of wiling away time, it’s fine, fun even. But it finally hit me: I don’t want to be shunted down the path Instagram intends for me. So I let it go.

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