Let me set the scene: last Tuesday I awoke from slumber. Pan pipes were playing, obvs. I rose from bed as bluebirds flew through the window and helped me dress. Some gorgeous plump mice wearing little t-shirts danced around the table, fetching me toast and squeezing me fresh orange juice.
As the dawn sun highlighted my perfectly coiffed Disney mane, I took my phone and opened my instagram… only to find my account disabled. WHAT the fuck?!
My instagram account was disabled due to “going against community guidelines”. I immediately knew that this was a mistake but, being both British and a female, I started to worry it was my fault. Perhaps I had inadvertently done something wrong. I checked said community guidelines. Here they are:
I wish that I currently had the body confidence to be sending out nudes like a toxic-male-Tinder-lothario sends out dick picks to unassuming Tind-ettes. Everyone would be getting pictures of my baps. But, no - no nudity.
Hate speech or bullying
Literally that antithesis of my account. I even have a page on my site which is dedicated to my ethics and ideas around inclusivity.
While some would argue that my sense of humour is bad enough to warrant, well… a warrant!… I have not participated in any illegal activities.
Copyright or breaching of intellectual property
Everything I post is my own. I get regular emails telling me that the “font” i use is not that legible and maybe I should rethink it. Which would be great feedback and all, except for the fact that my font is my handwriting. So while I’m not winning any calligraphy comps, I do have a pretty inbuilt proof of authenticity in terms of my IP.
However, that last term seems to be the most likely cause of this fender-bender. I have since been contacted by several other “influencers” who have had other accounts impersonating them and then reporting their “muse” as the copyright crim. How very cuckoo of them. I mean that in both the way that a cuckoo infiltrates other birds nests and also in the way that it is cuckoo-cachoo-batshit-crazy!
What does this mean for Eco With Em?
I don’t know to be honest. I do know that I am locked out of my personal facebook page as well as my business one - which is incredibly isolating (I did NOT realise how much I relied on messenger for communication!).
I have emailed all the appropriate accounts and emails and will do so repeatedly until it is resolved. Hopefully it will be. If I don’t hear from them or have it actioned before 30 days (my deadline is 19th August) then everything is gone. 10 years of content, comments, contacts, friends and memories. Ooph!
Here’s the kicker; 3 weeks ago my ipad died. Then, the back-up failed. It is now with a data recovery specialist but, failing that, I had lost all unpublished work (MOUNTAINS of illustrations) as well as the raw files for the rest of it. I thought this was all fine because I had everything on instagram and facebook at least. Ooph. Universe, you AH-NIMAL! What black comedy are you making of my life?! The twists are shocking. It’s like a freakin’ M. Night. Shyamalan movie (M. NIght. Shyama-gram?).
For this all to happen during the early days of my books release (and a month or so before its US release) stings.
It is said that In 1914 a 67 year old Thomas Edison stood calmly in front of his factory and laboratory as it was engulfed in an inferno. As he watched his life's work - and that of his father - he apparently turned to his son and told him to fetch his family to watch the blaze, as they’ll never get a chance to see a blaze so spectacular again. The son refused, devastated for his father. It is reported that he turned to him and said “at least all my mistakes have been burned and now I can start anew”. I am deeply channelling my inner Edison right now.
I have started a backup account on instagram, should my account not be recovered, which can be found under the handle @eco_with_emily_ehlers
Obviously I feel very stupid about this all and have learnt A LOT. This will constitute a blog post in the future (and believe me… I will be blogging in the future!). But now lets look at the positives and how to move forward because hope is a verb, after all.
What can you do to help?
If you feel called to help me with this, I would be deeply appreciative. If you know anyone at Facebook or Instagram or you are Mark Zuckerburg then please email me the contact at firstname.lastname@example.org . This is unlikely though. In which case.
Please either share this link or one from my new account to your stories or profile.
Tag @Instagram and @Instagraamforbusiness (note the double a - not a typo). Don't just type their name... insert it as a sticker mention (this highlights in their feed).
Ask them to reinstate my profile.
It’s a small pebble in a giant ocean but I am willing to try anything at this stage.
Tips for anyone who creates anything online
Diversify your media.
Instagram and Facebook are my main sources of marketing. Eggs in one basket, much? From here on out I will be loving the shit out of my newsletter list. I am taking this time of being iced out of social media to work on this, as well as other options of owned media.
Do you have a lot of digital art or work?
I am giving you an order: go and check you back up! No, don’t be a smug asshole like myself and think “Oh, Em. You organisational goddess. Look at you go with your back-up, you proactive little minx.” Don’t do this. It is not enough. You need to also check that the backup works! It’s not enough to simply tack on an emergency engine on a plane… you dont want to be kicking yourself when you’re hurtling to the ground and realise that you didn’t check the engine bloody works!
Build proper relationships
I am really happy that I have built some lovely relationships over the years, with like minded legends. I did not do this ever expecting any sort of return (other than friendship and/or inspiration) however it has been wonderful to see so many people in my emails checking up and offering help whether it’s a contact or a bottle of consolation champagne.
So, that’s all I can say really.
I am going to write a post about how I am staying hopeful during a time when lots of things are going wrong (in my personal life and in the world I live in). Because I am. While I have had some days where I’ve been a blubbering mess, mostly I am finding myself calm, collected and resolute. Or at least, I’m catching myself before my panic takes a hold.
If you’re here, thank you.