You know it, and I know it…..social media is negatively impacting the land that we love, and it’s only getting worse.
The pristine areas we all know and value are being trampled….droves of visitors are coming to these areas, and we all can clearly see signs that the ecosystem cannot handle it.
Obviously, it is largely in part because the wilderness environment is no longer being respected like it should be by its visitors.
Why is this?
There has been a shift, and more often than not, now the waves of visitors to the wilderness are NOT coming out there to experience and appreciate it. They are often coming out there to obtain that perfect photo and obtain that experience strictly so they can share it on their social media accounts, their friends and strangers see it, and the cycle repeats.
Why else are trails being littered, meadows being trampled, natural features being damaged due to photo ops, and social media tags being etched into historical relics?
As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, as I began my hiking and photography hobby, I would routinely post all of my hikes and landscape photos on social media like everyone else.
On the surface, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
The main idea behind social media was for us to keep in touch with distant family and friends, and so we can have a network of friends that we can share ideas and our adventures in life with.
Unfortunately, social media has evolved into the sharing of our photos and newly discovered hiking locations to literally tens of thousands of complete strangers.
The social media sites actually want this, since web traffic drives up their revenue from advertising, and this is precisely why they created the like and heart buttons, and made sharing buttons incredibly easy to use. When we get likes and comments on our posts, it gives us a boost of dopamine, and therefore fuels the need to share to even more droves of strangers.
So when you think of this overwhelming internet traffic being directed to our treasured hiking trails and pristine photography locations, it has, at least to me, become very discouraging.
So I had decided to stop using social media for the reason of sharing my hiking locations and pictures, especially to the hiking and photography groups with overwhelming member numbers.
When I do share a new hiking location or photography spot to a friend, its usually while doing a another hike together, or even over a cold beer. This is also much more personable and rewarding to me, and I feel good knowing that they may have one more great adventure to add to their list, and so do I.
So what is this discovery that I had mentioned?
As a result of this, I actually find that I appreciate these amazing adventures to these great spots even more. I see these places more as sacred, but I am far from being selfish and keeping them all to myself. I am still talking about these amazing discoveries with people whom I know will respect these places, but I am no longer sharing them to the endless wave of strangers.
It is a small step, but I at least feel really good that I am no longer contributing to the depreciation of these amazing places.
John Muir would have wanted it this way.