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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Default Social Media and Outdoor Rec

I recently wrote a blog post on the dark side of social media and outdoor rec. I've cited some research based info and my own personal opinions.

It goes something like this:

"Itís taken the better part of a school year to figure this out; Iíve realized my time isnít as abundant as it was when I was 18 years old.
My adventures and, subsequently, my blog entries have slowed down. Iím allocating much of my time into papers, exams, projects, and research. Iíve given up numerous weekends to these things and, collectively, I think it has taken a toll on me. I was of the mindset that school would be a Monday Ė Friday gig and I could continue doing what I do every weekend; spend time outside. Instead, in order to stay on top of things, Iíve had more Ďinsideí days than Iím happy to admit. I realize there are two reasons why this has become troublesome:

1. My expectations of student life were absurd.

2. Social media influences.


If you follow my site, youíll know Iím an avid social media user and I (used to) post content regularly. Social media sites were a positive resource where I hoped to inspire others and be inspired in return. In recent months, my attitude towards social media channels started to change. My Instagram and Facebook accounts were becoming a source of frustration instead of motivation. Rather than a helpful tool to share and see uplifting content, social media was becoming a burden that was causing negativity. Why was something with such potential failing to live up to the hype? Scholarly research on different aspects of social media largely focus on the positive notes and benefits; a lot less is known about the dark side of social networking sites and the negative outcomes from engagement [1]."

Link: http://www.ashikaparsad.com/2016/03/...al-media-user/

I'm curious to see if others have noticed the influx of social media accounts being used as personal brands for outdoor rec users or if anyone else has had any not-so-positive experiences? Or anything similar to what I've posted?

Thoughts?


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 07:25 PM
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Meh. I've never really been a fan of mainstream social media. I think "hype" doesn't really work well with my personality type.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 12:58 AM
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This may not necessarily be social media related. When your passion becomes your "job" it can stop being enjoyable, and that's nothing new.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 02:42 PM
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Are you doing this research for school, or solely for your own interest?

To directly answer your question, I would say "yes" I have definitely seen an influx or increase of outdoor recreationalists using social media. Some use SM as a way to publicly track personal experiences in the outdoors, while others use it to try to inspire people to get out there. I guess for others it's a mix. There are so many online avenues these days that it is pretty hard to be unique, thus harder to keep people's attention. Let's face it, when experiences get posted online, the hope is to have as many people view/comment/like/subscribe as possible. I think a lot of SM users deny this about themselves and their motives. I've seen people get caught up in this game and become depressed or discouraged when their view count isn't high (or something equivalent); I would even say there is an addictive quality (maybe something like FoMO). This, to me, is the dark side of SM: mistaking vies/comments/likes/subscribes as genuine interest in one's endeavors; mistaking FB friends as true friends; and going outside, but all the while wondering how the experience can best be related through SM, instead of just living in the moment and feeling blessed for the freedom and ability to enjoy the outdoors.

That's an interesting paradox you described on your blog. I think it's cool you're giving this thought and having some self-realization. And the small steps you're taking (last para.) are a good start. Toward what... I guess you'll let us know when you get there.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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5thhorseman, great point.

Candy Sack, right now it's for my own interest. If the opportunity comes up later, I'd turn it into a paper. And if I go far enough, I'm sure there's a thesis in there somewhere :P.

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Originally Posted by Candy Sack View Post
Let's face it, when experiences get posted online, the hope is to have as many people view/comment/like/subscribe as possible. I think a lot of SM users deny this about themselves and their motives. I've seen people get caught up in this game and become depressed or discouraged when their view count isn't high (or something equivalent);
I fully agree. I've seen friends/acquaintances get caught up in SM self-promotion/personal branding to a point where I'm not sure if they're sharing the experience or selling a product in their posts.

Thanks for reading .
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 04:14 PM
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Interesting topic.

As someone who's been blogging long before I even heard of the term "blog", I have seen this phenomenon and continue to see it, especially prevalent on IG - a platform I've just joined and am debating how long I'll stick around. Many young, good looking outdoors folks posting tons of photos of themselves "living the dream", of course all hash tagged with product companies that are sponsoring them.

It's easy for someone like myself, who's long past that carefree stage of life to get a bit depressed, wondering why I've been so "responsible" working full time and paying off a mortgage over the past 20 years when apparently I could have been travelling the world and living in a camper van for "free"... Of course, when I think about my wonderful life and relationship with my wife and kids and how I'm almost mortgage and debt-free I remember why it's worth it, but I wonder if some sense of the real world is getting lost in all the SM hype?

In the real world, all these SM stars will get older, will get "real" jobs and will move on to mortgages and life, and then they'll look at the new, youngsters with some envy. I only know of one person who managed to live the advertised, "carefree life" until his 60's and he ended up living out of other people's basements with a lot of regrets.

I've never made a cent on my site or my "hit count" and therefore, I have no idea how many folks use it. Sometimes I wonder why I pour so many hours into a personal online journal that has no tangible benefit to me, but then I remember that I love looking back at my own trips and reliving them years later and I keep going.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy Sack View Post
I would even say there is an addictive quality (maybe something like FoMO). This, to me, is the dark side of SM: mistaking vies/comments/likes/subscribes as genuine interest in one's endeavors; mistaking FB friends as true friends; and going outside, but all the while wondering how the experience can best be related through SM, instead of just living in the moment and feeling blessed for the freedom and ability to enjoy the outdoors.
Amen.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 09:20 PM
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Great post Vern.

Want to add couple of comments:

1) In 2010, I setup google add sense & created some posts (http://nz-pockets.blogspot.ca/ and http://bc-pockets.blogspot.ca/). I also added support for amazon selling. This was done out of pure curiosity; I've been in software over 20years and could not digest google model where things are apparently free while revenue is generated through adds, so I was curious if I'd make anything. Since then site generated 22 dollars and 3 cents, and amazon didn't sell anything. Granted, site is pretty bad but you'd expect more than that! So maybe some folks are simply not cut for it.

2) Carefree life in camper & travel the world & forget about tomorrow --versus-- "responsible" path of working your guts off, paying the mortgages, etc. I am in the second camp too, but the more the life goes the more sense I see in the first camp. This is too philosophical maybe, but look at the world around us; there is no guarantee about tomorrow. Or that you will not awake one morning in the middle of "responsible" path, get sick and be diagnosed terminal 6 months. It happens. So live while you can and have good health, don't wait for tomorrow because tomorrow might not come -- or you will be too sick to enjoy it.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:20 PM
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Personal opinion:
a) These days people need validation in order to value an experience. I think it might come from the fact that we are surrounded by so many people every day, and we can't know enough about anyone (except a select few "friends"), so we strive to fit in, but stand out from the crowd. "I'm different!" Brands market directly to this weakness.
b) Ego becomes a factor. Realistically, other than in a forum like CT or Bivouac where this information is relevant and in demand, there's no real reason to publish these experiences publicly. Living in Whistler I get a bit drowned by the tsunami of "Look how awesome my life is" that comes hits SM every change of season.
c) The internet never sleeps. Lots of people post these things then go back to "normal life", but their posts live on and keep contributing to the idea that this lifestyle is perpetual.

I jumped off the SM boat a few years ago. Personally I have a low tolerance for the endless "look at me" that comes with SM that focuses on pictures (even though I'm sure I was part of it when I was younger, but there was no internet!).
I also don't like that you lose the rights to your images once they're posted. Whether it's me in a special location or a picture of one of my kids, those images are for my circle, not the public at large. I've asked my wife to stop posting pics of our family publicly as well. Lots of not-cool things happen to pics in the public domain, a quick news search will show you.


Last thought: I've seen a lot of promotion of special places in BC (primarily via the BC magazine's SM engine) that urge people to visit locations with stunning pics. Lots of these places are seeing negative impact as they are not managed with this kind of visitation in mind (Keyhole hotsprings comes to mind). Johnson Lake in the Shuswap is actually asking people not to come!
http://www.bestsunpeaks.com/johnson-lake-bc.html
Not a lot of thought is given to the accountability of SM promotion and the impact it has.
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Last edited by Big Ian; 03-25-2016 at 01:45 AM. Reason: updated some verbiage
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 01:32 AM
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I see an unfortunate level of product placement in many "social media" channels. While I applaud people's efforts to live outside the box, I am dismayed by the tradeoff they make to turn their audience into consumers to support their lifestyles.

Semper fudge
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
This is too philosophical maybe, but look at the world around us; there is no guarantee about tomorrow. Or that you will not awake one morning in the middle of "responsible" path, get sick and be diagnosed terminal 6 months. It happens. So live while you can and have good health, don't wait for tomorrow because tomorrow might not come -- or you will be too sick to enjoy it.
This. My father was hugely active in his younger days. Hiking, camping, mountaineering, skiing. Then he had kids (sorry Dad) and spent 30 years working for the BC government. Less than a year into retirement he developed a tumor on his spine, the removal of which caused some significant nerve damage. He's pretty lucky to be alive, but he definitely isn't strapping on skis again in this lifetime. As a kayak guide, my cheapo Father's Day present was to take him kayaking a few years ago. It kills me that I can't do that with him again.

Take advantage of what you have, when you have it. Please don't wait until retirement to go on your big adventure.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 05:52 PM
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DALAJS, thanks for the personal story and perspective.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2016, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashi View Post
Why was something with such potential failing to live up to the hype?

It's interesting. It could be that we're seeing a natural evolution of something that's not natural. When we strip it down, when something so natural as moving one foot in front of the other is glorified beyond what it is, what's in our hearts and minds will see through it sooner or later.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 03-27-2016, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

Vern, wise words. I guess it ultimately depends on the person. If the benefits of living 'responsibly' and working, paying off a mortgage, having a family, etc. outweigh the costs, it's well worth it. I think being carefree is a lot of short term gain for long term pain. There has to be happy medium. I go through phases of questioning why I spend time writing posts. I get good feedback from the type 1 diabetes community and I figure, if even a handful of people enjoy reading my 'diabetes management' sections and learn positive notes from it, it's worth it. Also, I like looking back at old trips.

Zeljkok, interesting re: your site. The carefree life in a camper sounds ideal, but, I think the world needs both - the nomads and the residents (for lack of a better word). The nomads keep us dreaming and the residents keep things from getting chaotic.

But in all honesty, tying back to my post, what's the difference between working a Mon-Fri 9-5, and selling all your things to downsize so you can travel/explore/adventure full-time and post every audience-worthy detail of your life on social media in hopes to subsidize your lifestyle? They both sound like work to me.

Big Ian, I agree with all your points, especially the "look at how awesome my life is" bit. I think it's strongly tied to self promotion for free stuff generally and more so in the Squamish/Whistler areas. Which is how I came to second guessing the way I post on SM myself - do I want free stuff? Sure, everyone loves free stuff. But do I really need a new pack, new toque, more layers, more gear? Nope. Don't have room for it and I'd probably end up giving it away to friends who could use it more.

Another Jeff, I couldn't agree more.

DALAJS, thanks for sharing your story and I'm sorry to hear about your father.

Hemlock, you nailed it. That's a great way to describe what's probably going on.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2016, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
2) Carefree life in camper & travel the world & forget about tomorrow --versus-- "responsible" path of working your guts off, paying the mortgages, etc. I am in the second camp too, but the more the life goes the more sense I see in the first camp. This is too philosophical maybe, but look at the world around us; there is no guarantee about tomorrow. Or that you will not awake one morning in the middle of "responsible" path, get sick and be diagnosed terminal 6 months. It happens. So live while you can and have good health, don't wait for tomorrow because tomorrow might not come -- or you will be too sick to enjoy it.
I hear ya on that 2nd point! My wife and I laugh, because as we get older, we also look longingly at the first camp, but then we realize that's because we worked hard and can now start thinking about affording it without giving our souls to some internet SM company - we can truly do it without any strings attached.

As was mentioned also, either way most people have to work for their food. I'd rather my wilderness time is truly my FREE time, without any concern for payback. I have noticed a bunch of the new SM 'kids' are from wealthy families, so that's like winning the lottery but for the vast majority of us, we don't eat if we don't make $$$ somehow...
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