I came across an Instagram post the other day of which the general theme was this: by tagging the geographic location of your remote or special ‘secret’ campsite on social media, that you are doing yourself and the general camping public a disservice by informing the uninformed of it’s existence. The irony of finding this post on the ‘Explore’ page was not lost on this punslinger. The poster went on in detail about how the geotagging offender was trying to somehow assert their coolness by showing how in the outdoor know they are. That part actually makes sense.
Her secluded Joshua Tree campsite, once cut off from the outside world, was being overrun with tourists in search of likes and retweets. Her go-to spot had become her don’t-go-to spot due to the congestion and new found resi-tents.
At first I just returned to my scrolling of the #TheTentCommandments search results (which are AMAZING by the way ;)). But then I got to thinking; was this camper’s post right? Being an avid user of the geotag, was I responsible for ‘blowing up the site’?
To begin with, it always gives me a pretty good chuckle when someone declares social media as the problem via social media, but I digress. I fully understand the point that something is more special when it is perceived as yours and you are part of a club that knows about a certain thing. It’s always been that way. I mean who didn’t like Nirvana better before ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. But in terms of the outdoors it is even more relevant as the influx of people can have dramatic effects, not just on the availability of suitable camp plots, but also in terms of the effect on the health of the environment. More people equals more trash. Far too few live by the ‘Thou Shalt Leave It Better Than You Found It’ commandment.
But I also know how many times I, and people like me, have seen a view on Instagram and been inspired to get out and find that place. While I very rarely ever find the exact tagged location, I get close enough to get a slightly worse photo that I can share with my slightly less interested followers. But after all, the journey is the reward, collect moments not things , [inspirational quote goes here].
So what’s the right answer here? Does social media inspire those to get outside and find these idealized FOMO-graph locales? Or does it somehow hurt the environment and the core camping culture by alerting fringe campers to our most prized locations?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments below. Having never been personally effected by the phenomenon, I say tag away. The outdoors belongs to everyone and we should do what we can to inspire and get more people out enjoying them. But maybe I’m part of the problem??? Either way, let me know where you come down on the argu-tent…