Posted on November 4th 2018 by Jason Rawles
Catchy title eh? By IG I do mean Instagram and within this I mean all social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Bloggers etc. etc. What I will also say is, within all of the below, I have seen myself in it but console myself in knowing I have certainly talked about the ‘realities’ rather than the roses!
So, what’s this all about…?
The Instagram Generation
We have found ourselves in this place where the digital platforms determine a lot of outcomes in the adventure space. People are receiving tens of thousands of pounds of personal sponsorship, kit is handed out willy nilly for ‘tagging’ businesses and everywhere you look there is an ambassador for something. Once again, I see myself in this, so please don’t lose your shit.
Ask yourself this, are people really presenting the true nature of what it’s like out there? The rain, the wind, the dangers, the peril, the terror and potentially the threats to life?
I was on Crib Goch the other day, from the North Ridge, and was gripped due to the slippery nature of it and then I fired up Instagram to see 100’s of wonderfully crafted, beautifully staged images of what it potentially is like a few times a year.
I’ve seen the same on Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Striding Edge, Sharp Edge, CMD Arete and lots of other upland, high consequence environments.
So what’s wrong…?
I certainly need social media as a free platform to generate business. Nice images emotionally connect to what I do and people want to be there. With there being more access to information, routes and details, coupled with millions of beautiful images, it’s creating more footfall and therefore more rescues and deaths. While there is no absolute scientific correlation, I’d bet money on it.
People see a nice pic of a dangerous route, read about it in a magazine, grab their smartphone, and off they go.
Let’s not disregard the fact that it’s everyone’s personal responsibility for safety in the outdoors. To reduce the burden on volunteers like Mountain Rescue and help the NHS via preventable outcomes because they’re already stretched. I get that.
However, we also have a responsibility to show what it’s really like out there. It’s not all amazing sunrises and blue skies. At times it’s a desperately shite and scary place to be that’s not for the feint hearted. But people don’t know unless those who know; show.
But will the social media generation show clagged out images of zero views when it doesn’t get the likes they need to generate sponsorship from brands…? It’s not possible to stare in to the distance, with a camera on timer, facing towards a setting sun and then smash out a stolen quote to it. Hmmmmm.
Once again, before people start kicking, I have done this although not so much with my ugly mug in it!
Call To Action
For all of you out there who use social media as a tool for business, sponsorship or any kind of commercial arrangement…
You (including me) have a responsibility to show the real outdoors. What it’s really like. How dangerous it can be, how terrifying it is at times, what precautions people need to take and how people can be more responsible.
The commercialism of this wonderful space is leading to injuries and deaths. I believe that with a full heart. We are spending more time glorifying for personal gain than we are showing how, at times, it can be a perilous place to be.
Don’t Get Me Wrong…
The outdoors can be amazing and certainly the upland space. It’s beautiful, head clearing and just wonderful. But it’s not all roses and sunshine. It needs thinking about.
There will be people posting stuff out there as it’s been a wonderful day and to celebrate doing something great. I love seeing that. Please do continue to pursue your adventure journey and share what you’re up to.
If you’re reading this and it either fires up some thinking about further responsibility, or considering me an utter prick for bringing this up, then it’s likely you that I’m looking at.
Keep it real, that’s all I am saying here.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below…
Thanks for reading.