Saturday, July 20, 2013

@nel234: My Oh So Brief Love Affair with Instagram

Moose Reflections, Denali, Alaska
Moose Reflections - Denali
 Instagram broke up with me on July 9th.   It was the shortest "Dear John" letter I've ever gotten!  Apparently, I had violated the terms of use.

Hmm, you might be thinking, what exactly did Nancy do?

To be honest, I don't know.  I can tell you the last thing I did before I was summarily dismissed.  I had noticed that my short tag line had gone missing and had just finished adding it back in (having copied it verbatim from my Google+profile):

Advocate, writer, traveler, photographer, baker, collector of flotsam and jetsam. Any opinions are my own.
Within five minutes I got a notice about violating terms of use and that perhaps I should review those and the community guidelines.  The notice went on to tell me my account had been turned off and that anyone looking for me would not be able to find me nor would they be able to find any of my photos.  Not to put too fine of a point on this, there was no mechanism for retrieving my photos.  Fortunately, of the 600+ photos I had on Instagram, just over 400 were cross-posted to Facebook.  This included most of the photos from my expedition to Alaska with my niece Kristen (reconstructed on this blog in my last post, #thetravelingkristen).  I didn't have an opportunity to say good bye to my followers (all 88 of them) -- or to those I follow.  So, good bye gentle people.  I will miss your posts and your comments very much.

Unlike when Pinterest pulled the iconic Annie Liebovitz photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (Pincensured),  there was nothing about what my specific violation was so we (Kristen and I that is) reviewd the terms of use and the community guidelines.   They are, shall we say, pretty generic for a social media site.  No nudity, no spamming, don't mess with our computer code, respect others, don't bully people, don't stalk (mind you this is my loose translation of the terms of use).   The terms very much parallel the social media policy of the organization that I work for.  In a nutshell, #Instagram wants you to be a good citizen.  Perfect for someone like me who is a good citizen.   Oh, there's also a lot of gobbledygook about what Instagram owns and what you own and what rights in your photos you are ceding to Instagram by using the program to post photos.

Rusted Tools, Alaska, Fairbanks
So, like any jilted lover, I wrote the Instagram folks a note asking them why and if we could get back together again.  Instagram and me that is.  Radio silence.  Admittedly, they don't really make it easy to write to them online (I basically hijacked a reporting functionality of theirs that offered the opportunity to "write in" my query since the folks at @Instagram don't appear to want to hear from their users unless the user has a problem that fits into some pretty constrained descriptions).

After a couple of days of "nada, nothing, zilch", I wrote Facebook (the parent company) asking them what could be done to restore my Instagram account.  It's been almost two weeks and neither Facebook nor Instagram has responded.  Before anyone suggests that I do so, I did try setting up another account This time with the name of this blog (scribblesandphotos).  I successfully posted one picture, added my tag line, and within a nano-second, I was locked out for terms of use violations.  Again!

It's a little disconcerting to find myself in this position after I had just waxed rhapsodic about Instagram on this very blog in Vacation Mode:
  • Instagram:  Love it.  I think it is the most fun of the social media platforms I've been playing with -- or on -- since joining Facebook.  So many great photographers, so many beautiful images, and now video -- what's not to like?
Well, I guess I now know the answer to that last question.  I don't particularly like the way in which Instagram broke up with me!

A snail mail letter to the co-founders seems to be in order.

Dear #KevinSystrom (@Kevin) and #MikeKrieger (@MikeyK):

I am hoping you can help me out by telling me why you blocked my account.   I must confess to being a little sad.  You see, up until now, I pretty much loved your platform -- it reminds me of the Polaroids of my childhood (yes, I am that old) and the filters are so very fun to play around with.

I like to take pictures of lots of things (#thefreedomtower, #NYCarchitecture, #NYCbridges, #graffiti, #padlocks, #public art, and #NYCtaxicabviews.  There are slices from my daily life (primarily #NYCstreetscenes) and it's always fun to upload a vacation picture or several.  In fact, I was midway through documenting my Alaska travels with my niece Kristen (#thetravelingKristen) when you pulled the plug on me.  I even won an Instagram contest -- the #BGWindowsFollies (full Web address for whomever may read this in print is:   A selection of photos from my brief #Instagram career is below (and attached if you are reading the printer version of this letter).

I am not 100% sure what I did to cause Instagram to break up with me but I promise to never do it again if you restore my account (@nel234).

Thanks in advance for considering this request!


(aka Nancy Lundebjerg)

There, I've done it.  I've written a letter to the founders of Instagram.  Now all I've got to do is print it out, find a stamp, and mail it to: 181 South Park Street, Suite 2, San Francisco, CA 94107.  If that doesn't work, I can call them at 415-857-3369.  Seems terribly old-fashioned but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Well I await their reply, I'll just have to satisfy myself with playing around with the Facebook filters when posting pictures.  It's just not the same though.

@nel234 #Instagram Photos:  A Sampling

#nel234 #instagram @nel234

#nel234 #instagram @nel234

#nel234 #instagram @nel234

#nel234 #instagram @nel234


  1. Well, I tried googling your tag line "Advocate, writer, traveler, photographer, baker, collector of flotsam and jetsam. Any opinions are my own," on the theory that perhaps it was too close to something else. But other than your other accounts (including Pinterest) it doesn't seem too close.

    Rember what they say: people make mistakes, but it takes a computer to totally screw things up.

  2. Thanks Chris! Now it would be just entirely too funny if someone else had landed on the same tag line. I am trying to use the same one across platforms -- mainly so i don't confuse myself!