Risking it for the ‘gram

You heard others say it, “do it for the Insta/Snap”. In this world of social media, everyone wants to showcase their life moments to their network of friends and capture all the cool moments they have experienced. Some part of human nature and ego inclines us to want share what you have done with others. These social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat make it so easy for us to do this and share in every single moment we live in. With just a click of a button, we can capture a moment, write a caption, and share it with our entire social network in just a few seconds. Although there are positives of being able to easily share moments with your network, such as connecting and being updated to those far away, we have to also be conscious of the negatives that come with this constant social sharing of life moments as social media consumers.

Social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, have helped perpetuate an environment of social pressure where users are constantly consumed in capturing moments to showcase to others instead of being present in moments. As you scroll through your feed or go through your stories, I can guarantee you will find pictures captured by your friends showcasing the cool hike they went on this weekend or beach they relaxed on for spring break or the sick music artist that performed at the concert they went to. Through these pictures and videos though, sometimes you find some absolute ridiculous photos leaving you thinking thoughts and questions such as, “that’s so crazy”, “where is that”, “how can I get there too”, and “I want a picture like that”.

Being from Hawaii and a lover of nature, when I go on my social feeds there are always pictures of my friends going on hikes that look amazing or going to find hidden secret beach spots that are just stunning. I get a thought in my head, “That’s so cool, I want to go there and check it out!” These are the exact reasons and steps powered by social media that have led to a lot young adults toward a path of dangerous behavior to explore life threatening adventures and capturing these “cool” moments to showcase to their other friends. More than ever, people are “risking it for the ‘gram”.

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Instagrams and Snapchats like the one above inspire and motivate people to go out and explore these dangerous locations. People overestimate their abilities to do these hikes and how risky/illegal/hard going to them are. I’ve been on some of these hiking adventures back at home in Hawaii. Sometimes one false misstep or a rogue wave can lead to someone getting hurt really fast. In fact, many examples in the news have popped up recently, such as this one and one, just show how dangerous this mentality social media inspires can get. Not everyone can do crazy things such as diving off cliffs and bridges.

Hiking and other exploration influencers also help inspire risky behavior due to some of the insane and thrilling nature of posts. These channels allow people to visualize the thrill of the adventure and create a need to maybe even try out some of these wild feets. One of my favorite influencers is Unreal Hawaii. They have some amazing posts and stories of their adventures but they do give a caution to followers with a disclaimer of: “It is the responsibility of the reader to use common sense and good judgment by interpreting and using the information to safely enjoy any outdoor activities.” This is something that social media users need to be conscious of.

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As an avid adventurer and Instagram user, I love using social media as a source to find new adventures to explore. It makes finding inspiration of some new things to do more convenient. Of course, with this we need to keep our common sense and consciousness when trying to find a new adventure to explore. Just some final thoughts out there for all the adventurers out there. Don’t be caught up in adventuring just to capture a cool picture. Don’t adventure out of your own comfort zone. Don’t be that person who get hurt because they wanted to try do a cool pose at the edge of a cliff. Do your research on your adventure, learn about the difficulty and risks that come with it, and know your own abilities and limits. Most importantly, enjoy the moment of the adventure instead of risking it for the ‘gram.  

9 comments

  1. Another potential downside trade-off of fighting our lives In social media:
    In physics, the observer effect states that the act of observing often shredded the phenomenon begin observed. This if you’re in life experiences, as well. For example, being the photographer at a wedding reception is quite a different experience from attending the reception.

    When we spend significant time documenting our lives in digital media, it must affect the experience of our lives. Is it for the better?

  2. Sorry, my spellchecker changed documenting to fighting.

  3. Nice post. This issue first got raised in my class about 2 years ago by a student also from Hawaii. Since I’ve been going pretty regularly for about the past 5-6 years, I definitely have seen people take greater risks for an interesting photo. Incidentally, my own whale pic on my Twitter profile was inadvertent and taken by a kayaker I didn’t know.

  4. Nice post!

    I think there is also a caution to businesses here as well, and especially those businesses that promote stunts, etc. via social. Because social sites such as Instagram are by definition more organic than traditional mediums, companies need to do their best to make it clear that they are not promoting certain behaviors that could be dangerous for amateurs. While common sense would be to say that consumers should know what is wrong/right or safe/not safe, it is still important to properly disclose for companies in order to not face PR or social backlash.

  5. Great post! I think this is a very real issue with Instagram and snap chat. People engage and risky and dangerous behavior just so others will see them partaking in it. However, when we overestimate what we can conquer, it often leads to terrifying results.

    This blog also made me reflect on a catch phrase if you will that gets thrown around from time to time, “people are not alway what they post to be”. Just because your friends look adventurous, mysterious, stunning, happy, put together, and like they are having the time of their life on Insta/Snap that does not mean any of that is true. Honestly, I have come to find that much of what is posted on social media like insta is false and fabricated stunts, which are composed to provoke directed emotions in others. However, people obsess about how they are not “perfect” like their friends on social media and it is a source of great anxiety and stress for many. I defiantly think this sort of “false advertising” is another serious danger to social media, on top of the risky behavior discussed in this blog.

  6. I found this topic really interesting since I think the issue of “doing it for the ‘gram” is becoming worse and worse. This kind of goes with the idea that we only share the positive things in our life and never the negative (making it seem like our lives are nearly perfect). I’ve also had debates with my friends whether this creates a “mental” wealth gap between people who can afford crazy adventures like these. Not to say that it’s nescessairly true, but it can definitely create that façade.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post: a topic that I see everyday on IG but have never really put much thought into. This is definitely an issue for our younger generation “doin it for the gram”. I remember when I was younger, the other fad was planking. Remember that? People definitely got hurt trying to get in the most obscure and unique places. All this to attempt to get someone to tap that like button and go viral. Absolutely crazy!

    I wonder if there is a large Case study analyzing the negative impacts (death and injury) through social media. This is very interesting. Great blog post.

  8. I really liked this post. An interesting post that reflect a real problem, that is getting worse every day. It is not only in Instagram or snap-chat, YouTube hosts a wider variety of really dangerous activities taped just to gain views. In the case of YouTube is even more incentivized by the monetization process, therefore is not only because the social repercussion and likes it has also an economic motivation.
    Here is one of the most shocking videos, done by a Russian guy who sets himself on fire and then jumps from a fifth floor. This is taking danger for views.

  9. Loved your post! I find in our generation this is all so so true. I feel that since we put our lives out there for the world to see we are constantly putting internal pressure on ourselves to visit certain places or perform certain tricks.
    In the dance world this DEFINITELY holds true. So many dancers have certain tricks (including myself) that they want to perform and take pictures of when they visit certain places. I have one that I have about 40 pictures of from different locations from Ireland to Disney World. It though is super scary about how this negatively can impact our lives.
    Are we taking in the full scenery and moment when we are focused on taking a picture? This summer I hiked a few cliffs out in LA. I feel I was more in the moment of capturing a picture at the top with the view then really focusing on the amazing feat I had accomplished.

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