Letters (Rant) from the editor: Can anyone help?
Aloha. I’ve ditched the standard introduction of hello as I was informed (Via an Instagram message, naturally ) by a fresh faced, spunk filled teen that the language we use is just a bit too formal to get traction. I thought writing everything in capitals was bad form but maybe I’ll adopt the ingenious technique from now on.
Well, Hawaii is CAF (An acronym for Chilled as Fuck, in case you aren’t with the program) so stick that up your pipe and smoke it. Alo-fucking-ha and welcome to social experiment of Instagram.
An average mtb insta post…. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
So, the advertising billboard that is Instagram. You know, a few years ago there was a fair kick back about big websites throwing advertising down your neck. Some magazines push the fact that they have no advertising. I like that. Personally I like advertising of the old fashioned kind. A designer has put some thought into, its creative (or can be) and is quite clearly a proposition to sell you something. There’s no murky slime.
This is why Instagram is now bloody hard work to be a part of. Is anyone doing it for the passion? When I sit at the top of trail head and hear teens talk about their Instagram strategy, well, the whole social media experiment has defunked. It’s not social anymore, its fully commercial, and even those who we think are doing it to be authentic, are doing it with a commercial pretence. What are they selling? Themselves. That’s right, the human form, as it ever was, is even more for sale now, and you can buy a “life” for next to nothing. If you’re going to sell your life(style) based around an algorithm, please make sure you charge enough to pay for the meds you’ll need when this unsustainable bubble overtakes you and leaves your brain frazzled. I’d now rather follow brands than individuals, because I trust the brands more. It’s quite clear they are selling me shit, I can make my own mind up on that, but everyone else?
The thing is, we all know how to commercialise instagram. If you look at any mtb rider who appears to be riding full time without the skill to back it up, then you simply need to uplift their strategy and your quids (penny’s) in.
Infact, some people who have a relevance that seems only important to themselves, have separate, more “discreet” accounts – The Finstagram. This is where they can post real stuff that reflects who they truly are, and couldn’t possibly post on their carefully curated “public” feed. Fuck me. It’s as if I’ve been transported into a world where sucking your own piece in front of an assembled crowd has become perfectly acceptable.
On the one hand, it’s great that that people can now afford to use up all their savings and get paid enough to get into debt by being a lifestyle athlete. (Not all of them mind, some make a killing…) But on the other side of this, once you see through the gloss and the so called authenticity it becomes an almost unbearable journey through the feed of repetitive strain injury land.
It’s worse than traditional advertising. Much worse, because it’s less clear, it lacks substance and it allows those who lack skill, to fraud their way into places that should be reserved for those who really can make a bike move like it deserves to be moved. It’s everything that is awful about narcism. And no one talks up about it, because societal herd following dictates that we shouldn’t for fear of being trashed by peers on the very platforms that create this.
But maybe I’m wrong – would you rather have advertising that was clear and obvious or be subtlety fed it through selfies and carefully curated moments that leave many feeling lost, inadequate and, well, shit.
Come on Instagram users, let’s see something real and less bullshit. That’s what made Instagram so good.
Answers on a postcard, not a fucking Instagram comment.