Here's The (Instagram) Story

(Sunday Paper, Volume I, Issue 15)

This week I made my first foray into the world of Instagram Stories.

I have a weird relationship with Instagram - unlike Facebook, where I want as many "Likes" on my Writing page as possible (Like my page!), and Twitter, where I want as many followers as possible (Follow me!), I'm pretty blasé about all of that on Instagram.

If someone follows me, great.

I don't keep track.

Rarely (I'm really sorry everyone) do I follow people back.

I don't play a lot of games on my phone... Instagram is as close as I come to doing that - it's just something I enjoy goofing around with once in a while.

And this week I started exploring a new way to play around with it.

It was about a month ago that Instagram introduced 'Instagram Stories'. It's essentially their response to Snapchat, a social medium that I never got into at all. (Not that I fall anywhere near the demographic Snapchat is aimed at.)

For most of the past month I enjoyed watching my brother's work on Instagram Stories - he's been having fun with it over at @esmatteo on Instagram, and his work inspired me to give it a shot.

So this week, with the girls off at school, I figured was a good time to start.

I posted my first 'story' (you can see the three images below) on Sunday night, when I made a kind of last-minute decision to take a friend up on a ticket offer to the Red Sox game. I parked my car and played around with Instagram while I hurried over to Fenway Park. I liked it.

I posted a few others throughout the week, one of which - the one you see at the right here - I liked so much that I put it on the Facebook page too. (Then the next night this was surpassed by the one at the top of the post - "me" doing stand-up - as my favorite.)

I like the creative aspect of Instagram Stories - it makes my brain work in a different way, where I think not just, "Oh, this would make a good picture", but also, "Oh, I know what would make this picture even better!"

I also like that you can see who viewed your stories. I'm a big fan of statistics and knowing who is seeing your work, so I like that feature a lot...and it makes me think I'd better start following more people on Instagram soon so that I can see who else is posting Stories...and give them another view for their creativity.

What I don't like about it is the impermanence. Like Snapchat, these posts only stay for a day and then they're gone forever.

Although, as you can tell, there are ways to save your work.

I'll just need to figure out how to get myself to understand that I don't need to save all of them.


*This week was about settling back into my routine. Not a lot of writing work got done, though I laid some groundwork for next week. I think what a good writer would do is have some kind of (or more than one, I suppose) long-term project happening so that in the down time, like I had this week, some kind of productive writing would get done.

Not that writing this Sunday Paper wasn't productive. know...income and all.

*Oh, here's something - this week the biking article turned up in the Newburyport Current. So as far as I know the story appeared in the Lexington, Belmont, and Newburyport papers...wouldn't be surprised to hear that more papers picked it up.


*It's September, so there's lots of great dates to check out at the Calendar page of my website. Two great shows happened this week that I'd like to tell you about: Wednesday night I was at The Comedy Studio. I have to tell you - I love getting up on any stage and performing. But there's something really special about being able to do it at The Comedy Studio. I hadn't been on stage there in a few months - Wednesday night was just a really good time. Every time I leave there I can't wait to go back. I have two more dates there this calendar year - Friday, September 23rd, and Saturday, October 22nd. Fridays and Saturdays are great nights there - if you want to plan ahead on a nice night in the city and a great comedy show - those would be good nights to do that.

Then on Thursday I hosted the show at Speakers in Marlboro. I've written about this show before - it was a monthly show - one Thursday a month - and this week it became a weekly show. I was thrilled to host the first one...and there are more on the way. I'll be hosting on September 29th, October 13th, and November 3rd. Great lineups there too - I'd be happy to see you at one of those shows. (It's also less than 20 minutes from door-to-door for me, rare in the comedy support that room so we can keep having comedy so close by.)

*Quick highlights coming up at great venues (in case you didn't click that Calendar link) - Monday the 12th I'm at Terry O'Reilly's in Newton - great space, great food, and a good comedy lineup, and then Friday the 16th I'll be at Pavement Coffeehouse, which is across from Marsh Chapel on the BU campus performing for a crowd that is likely to be younger than me by almost two decades. Yikes. But both should be a good time.

What I've Been Enjoying

*If you don't mind, I'd like you to read something that I enjoyed this week. Shaun Connolly wrote this piece this week about his hometown of Worcester. I think it's beautiful. Shaun's a friend I made through the comedy scene. It's weird in comedy because sometimes you see the same person for about five or ten straight shows either performing or hanging out, and then you go months without seeing them for whatever reason. Someone told me about Shaun because he's a Mets fan so that helped us finally meet. We got along pretty well right away because of the Mets fan piece, but it doesn't hurt that he's also a nice guy. I saw each of the shows he runs in Worcester before they took the summer off, and what struck me was how hard Shaun works to create something(s) for Worcester. That passion comes across in the blog entry. The shows kick off again this week - it's the 'Sort of Late Show' at Ralph's Rock Diner where I learned about what spurred him to write the piece I linked to above. Shaun interviewed the people who helped bring this world-class mural festival to Worcester. At the very least read what Shaun wrote and be inspired by someone's love for and faith in the place they're from. At most, check out Shaun's website and support what he does to help make Worcester the place he loves so much. (Also...I think it's funny that I just wrote about Shaun's writing with a passion similar to the passion with which he wrote about Worcester. But I didn't cry about it.)


*A week from now is the start of NFL Sundays, which, despite all of the controversy surrounding the NFL these days, I can't help but still get excited about. I did my annual comparison of the schedules for the Jets and the Patriots, to see how many games I'll be able to see on local television this year. (It's been a long time since we had DirecTV here.) I think I'll be OK, starting with the season opener - I can't imagine there are many options better for CBS in the 1pm slot than Jets-Bengals. But, as happens every year, I won't feel confident I'll be able to watch the Jets at home until it's 1pm and the game kicks off and I see it with my own two eyes on my own television.

*The Mets? Well...this week I went from believing that they wouldn't just nail down a wild card spot but also make a run from 9 games out and win the division...then the confidence dipped to zero as I went to believing that they'll miss the playoffs completely. So...just another typical week as a Mets fan.