blogging, facebook, and instagram

I read a post at a business blog in which the author said his blog was more popular than ever before, but that comments were diminishing to a commensurate degree. He sourced this issue to other social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. His solution was to close comments at his blog and participate more in those other media.

I have seen a similar thing at my own weblog - more readers than ever before (hi everyone!) but fewer comments, and not even much use of the anonymous "reading quietly" button. I don't think this is a reflection on how blog reading in general has changed, for plenty of blogs still get a lot of comments. I think it is more a matter of how people read weblogs like mine.

I imagine if I posted more about my days, and about my daughter's wonderful adventures, I might attract more comments. That kind of blogging would be a drawing in. Famous people and popular bloggers also get a lot of comments - people want to be part of the experience. What I do here is more a giving out. The energy makes for a different audience response.




To be clear, I'm not complaining, nor asking for more comments. I've always been interested in these background issues of web journalling, and now and again like to write about them.

This post is actually not about comments, but about how blogging continues to shift - moving, I think, closer to the heart of what people love best about internet connection, which I believe is the connection aspect. The chance to experience, through words and especially images, the experiences of other people, kindred spirits, those doings things we wish we could be doing, those who are able to articulate our own half-dreamed thoughts, those a little ahead on the same path we are travelling. I don't believe we (generally speaking) use this as a substitute for "real" friendship, but as a special kind of community of its own, and yes a kind of friendship. (Would you refuse friendship with a blind person just because they couldn't see you?)

I've seen several weblogs which I love go silent as their authors move over to Facebook or, more commonly, Instagram. I haven't followed many of them to either place. Public Facebook lacks soul, and there's something about Instagram which troubles me, although I can't entirely articulate what that might be. Something about oversharing? About speeding towards a future way of being in society that we haven't considered deeply enough? Or maybe it's just me not wanting the extra expense of buying data for my phone.




So because Facebook and Instagram don't offer me a sense of real connection, I'll be continuing on with my little weblog for a while yet. (I mean public Facebook, not my beloved private feed.) But the truth is, I am an overthinking late adopter and always feel a little silly when I finally concede to the merits of an idea or experience. You are all welcome to laugh at me when I do open a KTW Facebook page or an Instagram account. In the meanwhile, I'll keep trying to open my life experience so others may share the beauty of my surroundings and the goodness I find in the world.


Photos processed with Kim Klassen textures for Texture Tuesday.

40 comments:

  1. The last few lines are humorous only because I've been visiting for years. That's okay if you decide too. xoox I don't use either, for an un defined weird feeling. I use the like button you have here, but I don't always comment, because I leave with a lot to think about for hours, but then I would write it up and change my mind about posting it. Of course almost all the blogs have I'm not a robot box now. xoox

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  2. That I'm not a robot box is so annoying! I actually have actually checked the "no authentication" option for my blog comments, and yet, here it is. I don't think it was there with embedded comments, but too many people were having trouble using those, so I had to switch to this pop-up box.

    Thank you for your comment, which illustrates beautifully what I was saying about my style of blogging - that the energy goes out, into the reader, rather than drawing them in. I hope that doesn't sound egotistical or strange or anything, I'm just wrapping my thoughts around the whole thing.

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  3. I even had to tick the captcha box myself, although I'm the author of this blog! Ridiculous. At least though blogger doesn't have ads attached to its comboxes, which I believe Disqus has started to do??

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  4. "Public facebook lacks soul" - how true this is. I have a public facebook and I almost always only post my new blog posts to it (I have many readers who only are alerted to new posts through it!). I don't get much interaction at all, but from what I've seen from other pages, yes to the zillionth degree to your comment!

    I was very uncomfortable when joining social media under my pen name to promote my creative meanderings... it seemed counter to my personality (quiet, introverted) but now I'm seeing it link up and spark some of these lasting connections. It's been invaluable in some ways. I'm looking to join instagram but don't worry... my blog is always my base, as yours is for you. I'd love to see KTW around in other places, if just to remind me that you have a new post up!

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  5. I also really love what you wrote about friendship. Since getting married, we've lived in seven different places. I have very few local friends (there were 6 month and one year periods in which I had no local friends) so I do feel as though I get some of that through the blogging connections. It's been lovely, especially give the kind of work the mythic arts lends itself to. <3

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  6. It's funny, I chose a pen name pretty much at random, and now it's beome so connected to the world out there, I could not possibly change it without considerable difficulty. I've often wished to go by Ada or Adie, which is a shortened version of my real name - but online I am just Sarah, as if she has become her own person. I can not imagine you as being anything other than Raquel Somatra, of the bright rich colours and the gorgeous smile. Now I wonder what your "real" self is like :-)

    KTW is on twitter. I feel very cosmopolitan about that!

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  7. I've been blogging since 1999 and I've enjoyed watching how it has changed over the years. For me, there is something far more organic and personal about making the effort to visit individual blogs rather than congregating on a social media platform.

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  8. How very observant of you, Sarah/Ada/Adie ;-) about your blog's purpose. I've never thought about it, but indeed, you send energy outward. And like Butterfly's comment above, I spend a considerable time thinking about your posts, and even "hang out" in the comment box with unfinished thoughts, then come back later, and usually change my mind or re-think the energy-level I want to put in to expressing myself and delete it (much in the way you write a post and then pull it, lol).

    There are some things I enjoy about Instagram, but the feeling I get after viewing the pictures is that everything starts to look the same. Or at least, a lot of photos look like they're trying to achieve the same thing. I've seen photos moms take of kids (and ones that kids take of themselves) that are too posed (but trying not to look posed), and for some reason it rubs me the wrong way to keep teaching our culture (through the often unintentional lifestyle of over-sharing) that life is a stage. I have more reasons, but they're not relevant to your post today.

    Because you *do* go deep here, I return daily to ponder your words. You know, if you ever got tired of being public with this blog, you could always do an email subscription. I would welcome your ponderings in my inbox each morning. :)

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  9. Thank you Niffy and Barb.

    Barb, so much of what you say here I resonate with. I'm especially interested in your email subscription comment, because I have been wondering about whether I wanted to do one of those little newsletter things ... but actually you have made me reweave that thought, and now I wonder if I would like to offer something briefer and more frequent, a thought for the day ... like a drawing from some source (oracle, sky, wind, picture) ...

    hmmm.

    We'll see :-)

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  10. I just discovered your blog right before Christmas---when Santa gave me a tablet. I love reading your blog. The problem I have commenting--I have trouble typing on this small keyboard. :/ I HOPE that you will continue blogging indefinitely. :)

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  11. Thank you for your kind words :) I feel the same way about "Sarah Elwell", that feels like you to me, but Ada is really lovely and matching in vibration as well (I have a thing with names). In "rl" I am also Raquel, so named after my great-grandmother Maria Raquel. But my surname was the one that needed reinvention- my maiden name is the same as an extremely famous author, so famous in fact that other authors use his name as their pen name-- which I didn't want. And my married name has three 'l's, 2 'i's all in a row, sounds like a strange lalala-song, difficult to say and remember, so 'Somatra' came one evening and has stuck. I think I'm going to change my given middle for it this year, legally. And I bet you wouldn't have a problem, perhaps, adopting Sarah Ada Elwell if you wanted to incorporate it. It might be less difficult, plus that has a gorgeous sound to it. <3

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  12. I must join with the others' about the energy of your blog. It draws me in and I want to linger a while. I check your blog every day for new posts. I am on fb mostly for family connection but have been considering closing that.

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  13. Oh my goodness, I completely understand this. I was a very regular blogger and then I got instagram. I often say that Instagram killed my blog. It really makes me sad. I've been trying to get back to blogging lately and I'm doing okay. But really, it's hard. You were one of the main inspirations for me in getting back to blogging, so thank you! xx

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  14. One of the reasons I dislike the pop-up combox is that it doesn't have threaded comments. Oh how I love threaded comments!

    Anyway, Angie, thank you for that lovely comment, it so warmed my heart.

    Amy, thank you also. I absolutely love what I just read at your weblog and think every homeschooling mother should read it.

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  15. It seems to me, in blogging and also in real life conversations, that people are most comfortable with known, everyday subjects. I'd probably get a massive following if I were strictly a knitting blog, where I myself see those little things as an aside. I guess that's why I don't talk to a lot of people IRL either, LOL. Because I don't need that comfort of sameness and ordinary and so I run out of things to say very quickly. And I feel scattered having to check for messages in a million places, so I gave up on Twitter and FB.

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  16. I far prefer blogs that 'give out' than blogs that talk about their days. Your blog I believe is one of my favourites, if not my favourite... People are always reading, even if they don't comment :) not everyone has to jump on the Facebook bandwagon!

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  17. Agreed that blogging is about connection and authenticity.

    I think the I'm not a robot box is very time-consuming and that's why fewer people are leaving comments. (If you turn on Comment Moderation, then we won't have to type in word verification...)

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  18. Alas, Lady Fi, as mentioned above I have turned off comment moderation, but because I've switched to the pop-up combox, it comes automatically. Even I have to do it. I prefer embedded comments myself, but people say this pop-up box makes commenting easier.

    Tiikeri Flo, thank you for such kind words!!

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  19. ** Sorry everyone, but I couldn't cope a moment longer with that horrible pop-up window. I've changed back to embedded comments, with apologies to those who have trouble using them. Hopefully it will also get rid of the captcha which the pop-up window insisted upon although I have it disabled in my settings.

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  20. these are the same thoughts I had a while back about blogging, it really is about connections and sharing and sometimes oversharing. but that's normal. I, too, am not quite into Facebook or Instagram or really any social medias. I think people believe they need to update and share or else feel like people have forgotten them. I am the same. If I don't post for a week or a month, I would feel people have forgotten about me. I guess that makes me sound needy and desperate but I'm okay with that. let's be honest, that's everybody. that's human nature.

    I hope you have a great day.

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  21. A new day :) and I'm on my laptop now with a full keyboard. :) I discovered quilting blogs years ago and started 'lurking' or a more lovely description---'quietly reading' :) them. One thing led to another and I was coaxed into starting a blog of my own. I have never been very committed to posting blogs; however, I am making a more concerted effort in this new year. :) I loved finding new blogs of various interests to me. Some of my favorite nature bloggers have gone over to the 'dark' side (FB) LOL and I desperately miss their blogs. I don't have a 'smart' phone so I don't do twitter nor instagram. As I said last night, I'm on FB less and less. SOOOOO all of that just to say that I have fallen in love with your blog, and a couple of others very similar to yours', that I have just recently found. I would be so disappointed if your stopped blogging any time soon. Hugs.

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    1. No fear of me stopping, sorry if I gave that impression! :-)

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  22. I LOVE your blog - and, as it turns out - it's just what you said: Your blog is quiet and you speak of things that I can relate to at this point in my life. I find it inspiring, but I don't always know how to respond. Sometimes I just want to write "yes"!
    I find twitter and instagram and even Facebook to be so much "less". Less heartfelt - less time to develop a thought - less personal. There was a book called "the Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer where she spoke of sharing the things that move you, that inspire you, that make you laugh and cry etc. It's what I look for. Authenticity. It matters. I hope you stay.

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    1. Thank you. And I've read that book, it's so lovely.

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  23. I find the commenting on a blog much more personal than comments on FB or other social media. First, they tend to be longer, more thoughtful and conversational. I don't think that blogs in general get as many comments anymore , maybe just for this reason - it takes longer. I think a lot of people are now more comfortable with the quicker pace of FB, and instagram but I don't really think these are the same as a blog format. It's not quite as detailed and intimate. It's like FB is the equivalent to "work friends, "school friends" or "mommy friends" and blogs are like long distance friends, the ones whose calls and letters and emails you look forward to and think about later. Maybe it's just that blogs attract different types than social media sites. I think those who enjoy writing and telling stories are more likely to blog. I'm glad you are still blogging and I hope that blogging continues to find it's own unique place in the world of the internet

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  24. Sarah, it is so easy to read about popular topics like bloggers' wonderful days and amazing mom experiences (and so easy to comment on them) but it is the small things - like how the light looks on your patio when you are dreaming of the person you love - this kind of blogging that is so personal but also NEEDS to be shared with others because it really connects. And there are also many things one wants to say in the comments box, but shy away from saying them as it is a public space. I have been thinking massively about these topics recently and yesterday I deleted my Facebook account (and instagram/twitter and my blog maybe going the same way very soon) and started an email newsletter, as for someone like me - who is def. an attention-phobic person but still in need of connection and a desire to share my thoughts with others - I think that this is the only way I can survive on the net. I do worry about how I am ever going to find anyone who would want to sign up for my emails without using Twitter or Facebook but I guess if people want to read what you have to say, they will come and find you and it isn't about the numbers anyway. So, yes, I think you have caught onto something here; a whiff of a new trend going around the blogosphere and its exciting to be at the forefront of it. Plus, the blogger comment box absolutely sucks and is soooooo frustrating, I hate it ;-) often is it so much easier to just say you are 'quietly reading' and have done with it.

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  25. Blogger/google seems to be throwing up the capcha comment verification thingymabob quite randomly these days, regardless of whether or not the blog author wants it there .... Even on the separate page for comments (as my blog is set to). Annoying. Makes my iPad hang right up. ... Istragram is just .... For me, it's a bit too much, images every day that people share. I'd rather read? It's like picture book blogging. Picture books can be gorgeous and wonderful. But, so are novels and letters, no?

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  26. i also think on these things from time to time.

    i do share on FB, only because i would like to sell my photography and art.
    i share little of my personal life, though i do feel my arts are intimate.

    i enjoy blogging so much more, the offering feels more complete, like a gift if taken.

    my sense is that all these things/places are creating people who prefer glimpsing and clicking 'like' and moving on. Unless a blog post really catches someones attention then they will not take the time to read it. I think the first image or words must be appealing or people move on. I don't think i would be as interesting in blogging if people did share with me by leaving messages.

    against my snowy world (which i love) your flowers made my heart leap to life ;-)

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  27. Wonderful discussion! I read your post and all the comments just before I went to bed last night--on my phone, which meant I couldn't reply back in depth. So instead I went to bed and lay there mulling over the conversation. I have so many thoughts on this topic that some may spill over onto my own blog. :) Indeed the subject has been much on my mind this month as I approach my ten-year blogging anniversary and have been reflecting heavily on its role in my life. :)

    I think people comment less because they read differently now. Ten years ago I couldn't read blogs (or anything) on my phone. Nor could I carry my computer around the house--no wifi, no laptop, no iPad. So *reading* was an activity completely linked to *writing*: at a desk, with my fingers on a keyboard. Though even then I suppose I was often nursing a baby & that was my excuse for being a poor commenter in those days. ;)

    When I look back at the comments on my early posts I see a lot of names of friends (online and real life) who now communicate more regularly on Facebook, and to me that seems natural. Not quite as intimate and cozy as a blog conversation, but I grok that it's easier for people to gather in one central place than to visit each other's houses individually every day. I understand that I can't expect all my friends to come sit down for a chat at my house every day; if I want to talk to them I have to visit them where they are. For a few that means their blogs (and I love that!); for most it seems to be Facebook. My husband is an introvert and (in real life and online), if people don't want to come visit him, it's no skin off his nose--he's just as happy being alone. :) I like company! (With limits. I seem to be equal parts intro and extro.) I make visits to my friends' homes as often as I can but some days all I can manage is to drop by the village well and catch up with whoever happens by. The thing is, I know and love all the villagers--that's why we're Facebook friends. And so many of them (cousins, old school friends, kidlit community friends) aren't themselves blog-readers. Before Facebook, we saw each other only at reunions and in Christmas cards. I'm grateful for the increased contact, in whatever form. And for the handful of friends who used to blog a lot but fell away from it after social networks came along, I do miss those visits to their lovely homes that their blogs used to allow...but I tend to think it would have happened anyway, the drifting away. I think those of us who have stuck with blogging are rooted to it in a different way, so that we could hardly quit if we tried. It's part of how I live and think and process. Actually I've been in a state of quiet agony these past few weeks, with work eating up my precious blogging-time. I have a new job and it's a bit consuming at the moment. I'm possessive of my blog time and want it back. :)

    (Eek, my comment is so long I can't post it all in one go! Part 2 to follow.)

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    1. As for Instagram--well, I admit it's always a little bemusing to see people finding fault (in the comments, not your original post, Sarah) with a social network I love. I always think, Oh! Then you're not following the right people! Of course I don't mean the 'right' people--just that if you (collective you) were following people who brightened your day as much as the people I follow brighten mine, you would feel differently about it. Or maybe not! I follow wonderful people on Pinterest but the form there, so MUCH visual stimulation all at once, is a bit overwhelming for me. But I know many people who love it and thrive on the sharing that occurs there--so I can recognize that it's a case of the form not being a perfect fit for the way my brain works. Instagram brings visual images at a pace I can just about manage. :) And here's what I adore about it--the artists. Oh my goodness. Between the children's lit world and the comics world, I have many illustrator friends. Their talent astounds me and it's such a treat to see their work. And Instagram turned into the place where they share it. Freely, frequently, casually. 'Here's this sketch I made today.' 'Character designs for a new book.' 'Doodle while sitting on the train.' Art everywhere, alive and raw. It brings me such joy. And they aren't posting these things on Facebook or blogs or anywhere else. For whatever reason, Instagram is the platform that grabbed them. (It's so easy, I can see why.) So I'm there too and I love it. I post infrequently myself, or in bursts. But I can say that it has improved my photography, which makes blogging a bit easier--the increased importance of images to blog posts being one of my personal stumbling blocks. I suppose it's worth noting that my love for Instagram is connected to friends who share themselves through visual art rather than language--for me, blogs are where I find the sense of connection you write about so beautifully above with fellow word-people. Or friends like you and Leslie, who speak both languages fluently. I read Visual Image much better than I speak it. ;)

      An Instagrammer I don't know personally but love to follow is @augustwren. She does a thirty-minute painting daily and posts it for all to see!

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    2. That's a wonderful description of instagram! I must say, there are some people over there I would love to follow, but I don't want to buy data for my phone. Also I guess its fairly easy to avoid all the oversharing trendy people. I'm going off Pinterest in quite a big way - its still a good resource for writing inspiration, but I seldom look at my feed any more, and I deleted most of my boards again because even when I sourced the artist and credited them, people would just remove the credit. One person removed MY credit from my picture, and when I asked her to put it back on refused twice! That was the straw that broke Pinterest's back for me.

      I think FB is starting a long slow decline, Instagram is certainly the place to be.

      Your analogy of at home versus in the village is perfect. And it speaks to why I think blogging is changing/fading. Our ways of socialising IRL are changing. We still visit each other at home, but its less predominant than it used to be, whereas eating out, internet/phone communication, sharing activity, is increasing. At least in Western cultures. THIS is why I love thinking about social media and online community - I love seeing how it relates to social patterns IRL. Maybe when I am old and grey I will go back to uni and study anthropology :-)

      Thank you so much for your wonderful, interesting comment!

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    3. You can visit people's Instagram feeds on the web (desktop verson) -- www.instagram.com/username -- but to leave comments you need to have created a profile via the app, I think. There are also third-party sites like gramfeed.com that allow you to follow multiple users. I seldom do go to Instagram on the web, but at least there is the option.

      <3

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  28. Interesting comments about the evolving nature of the blogging world and comments. I've been wondering about that myself ... I'm with you, though. I'll keep blogging. Also interesting about the type of writing we do on our blogs being the sort to either draw people in, or give out. I never thought about it that way, but I do understand what you say. It is an entirely different energy. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. Very interesting. I, too, will keep my blog. It is my outlet to those who are interested in using Photoshop to adjust their images in the way they visualize the image to be. Almost any image can be modified into something that you like. I try to show you how to use the tools in Photoshop to modify your image so that it looks the way you want it to look.

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  30. Thinking of this post again this morning as I watch discussions on my latest Downton recap unfurl delightfully all over Facebook--but not a single comment on the original post. And what strikes me for the first time, really, is that even though the ease of conversation at Facebook (with reply notifications, user tagging, all the bells and whistles that keep people tuned into the discussion) seems to have given it an edge in the comment department, it's the *blog* that makes it possible—one permanent link for the original post, easily shared across a variety of networks, with embedded images and links. I could post a full recap at FB, say, let alone Twitter or Instagram or anywhere else. So no matter what platforms we all drift to for our *discussions*, we still value the blog format for its completeness, its portability, its whole package. Truly, we can't do without it!

    When I speak to groups of writers, I always urge them to have a website or blog where they archive their own writing, even if they are more active or comfortable on Facebook or elsewhere. An archive of one's work is a treasure.

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    1. Argh, I meant to say "I COULDN'T post a full recap at FB etc," obviously. Wouldn't be possible!

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    2. Great point! I began on the interent in the forum era, which was a great time and a terrible time also. Oh, how the flame wars still burn my memory! FB reminds me of those fora - such ease and liveliness of communication. I don't know why that kind of thing isn't as possible in a blog combox, but it's not. I could theorise ... and I probably wlll all day inside my head, lol! ... but I don't have time right now. And maybe that's one part of it. I go to blogs to read, but I go to FB to opinionate ;-) My time and energy are pre-set for each.

      It's actually pretty great that we can spread one idea over a whole array of networks. Thank you for that thought, its really quite cheering :-)

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  31. Always late to the parties ... but then I'm always late to adopt new social media, late with my blog posts, etc., etc..... :) I, too, will hang on to my blog, although it has changed in untold ways since its inception. There are things I love about Facebook, and Instagram, too -- I'm just slow to figure out how to balance it all. But I'm grateful, always, for the beauty of your blog and your writing, Sarah, and I hope you're always here. :)
    And a great, big ditto to the irritation with the "I'm Not a Robot" thing on my Blogger comments. Where did that come from?? I didn't choose it in my settings -- it just appeared one day!

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  32. hey guys i found old website for a buy instagram followers!
    it's very cheap!

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