From IG To Accident And Emergency

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.

Personal Responsibility

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.



3 responses to “From IG To Accident And Emergency”

  1. Neil Perry says:

    Great post I think I may have been on Crib goch with you on an international mountain leader “mountain day” and it certainly was not ideal conditions. Whilst I agree with what you say I do think the pictures on social media do get people to get out there but as you say maybe it should be mentioned that this is ideal or people just post more honest pictures. I have myself been guilty of posting pictures of ideal conditions but try to mention conditions when writing blog posts.

  2. Totally agree with this. As I scrolled down on my phone, in my head I’m saying “it’s all about personal responsibility.” Etc voila, I scroll down and there it is.
    I don’t know what gets in to people’s head from seeing a photo. I follow Kenton but I wouldn’t think to myself I could climb Everest.

    Social media has alot to answer for. As a blogger I have been guilty of some of scenarios you mention but this year my conscience has stopped me tagging many of the locations of my images.

    Great post

  3. Paul says:

    An interesting read Jason, and one which I feel I can comment on as my friend and I walked/scrambled the Snowdon Horseshoe earlier this year for our 1st time. I had put Crib Goch as one of the scrambles I really wanted to do, but continually found a convenient excuse not to do it as I wasn’t sure how I’d handle that level of exposure. The day we achieved it was perfect conditions, dry, excellent visibility and no wind at all, and for me all those things were key. The scramble was an absolute gem with a huge feeling of satisfaction afterwards. Would I do it again…. definitely, but only if the conditions are favourable. When people ask me about it my advice is check the forecast and attempt it only if the conditions are right, and if for any reason you don’t feel confident, bale out, the mountain will always be there for another day.

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