How Social Media Has Tainted the Travel World

social media and travel

Travel is something that I not only enjoy but it’s something that also gives me a sense of fulfillment. When first started blogging, I wanted to outline my perspective on it. To me, travel is more satisfying than any material object I could buy. When you travel often, your friends and relative often ask you how your trip was? You narrate your story with excitement. Well, the world has changed. Social media has amplified our voices to the extent that we can communicate not just with a few friends and relatives, but with thousands if not millions of people around the world.

The key question to ask is whether social media has really killed the wonder and excitement about travel. Has the constant need to update everyone and the rampant need to measure your likability by the number of likes you get messed things up?

Travel and Experience

Experiencing gorgeous Lake Tekapo

 

When someone asks me about my trip to New Zealand, yes, I tell them about my thrilling bungee jump at the home of bungee jumping. However, what I tell them is the experience that I remember. The experience of waking up early in the morning and walking around lake Wakatipu with a cup of coffee in hand.

 

My morning stroll by Lake Wakatipu. So much tranquility!

 

The experience of soaking in the sights and sounds of dawn while taking a walk by the lake. These sights and sounds leave you mesmerized and leave you wanting more. As much I love flying business class by using miles, it’s these experiences that I cherish and remember even more fondly.

 

Bungee Jumping in Queenstown

Messed up Goals

Once you start blogging, a lot more people in your social circle as you the question: “Where should I travel?”. I answer by looking to know more about that person’s preferences. Does he/she like big cities, or wildlife or beaches? Sometimes, the answers leave me rolling my eyes. As social media becomes a more integral part of our lives, more people end up planning trips to be like that next Instagram celebrity. The sense of wonder about the world is nowhere in the picture. It’s about capturing that moment and getting ‘liked’ on social media.

Social Media Celebrity Complex

Whether you accept or deny it, social media has become a monster. Far too many people are determining how they feel by how many likes they get on social media. This has messed up our way or feeling fulfilled or satisfied. I’m sure many of you have that one friend who must’ve said this: “I really enjoyed that trip to Europe but my photo in Venice only got 20 likes.” Yes, that’s someone whose priorities are messed up. It’s no longer about the journey or the destination. It’s no longer about exploring a new country. The whole exercise has been reduced to the number of likes on social media.

Ubiquity of Devices

Devices are everywhere. Smart phones, laptops, smart watches, you get the drift. Have all these smart devices necessarily made us smarter? In the good old days, people used to write travelogues. Since almost everyone has a device these days, everyone can take pictures and videos.

How many times do you enter a popular restaurant and see people clicking pictures of food? For many people it’s not about savoring the taste of food, but about posting a nice photo on social media in order to get the Likes flowing in.

Filtering and Editing

At what point does reality stop being reality? We live in the era when fake news is a term. Are Instagram filters the fake news version of social media? Do they enhance the quality of the photo or alter it? More importantly, all these devices and media platforms divert us from the core reason to travel. It’s all about how quickly your post on social media and which filters you use. It’s devoid of reality but it’s what people like to see.

The Pundit’s Mantra

Obviously, I don’t expect everyone to have the same travel philosophy and goals. Everyone has their freedom to choose. The freedom to choose whether you want to want long-term gratification or short-term attention. I love to read posts by fellow bloggers where they describe their experiences in detail.

In the miles and points world, many of us already know how to book that business class seat or get that hotel upgrade. However, how many of us really want to write in detail about how we feel? Are readers just looking for the best deals, business class seats and luxurious hotel stays, or looking for a window into your experience?

What determines where you want to travel? Do you feel the pressure to post pictures on social media? Do you think bloggers should write more about how they feel as opposed to just writing about how to get to a particular place? Let us know in the comments section.

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Comments

  1. Enjoy Fine Food says

    See yesterday’s NYT about temporary home of Mona Lisa in the Louvre. After snake line, three escalators up to the “viewing pen.” WOW! Mona Lisa! Selfie, sigh, and gone. According to the article, guards allow about a minute of “intense contemplation.” Super! Thirty thousand people per day occupied at the Louvre getting their Instagram shots while not blocking my view of (let’s say) 1000 other wonderful sights in Paris. God bless social media. Keep the shallow off the streets!

  2. Jason says

    Good article. While I enjoy photography, what I don’t like is all these enhanced photos of places that make them look way nicer than they really are. So this causes people to get disappointed when they arrive someplace and it doesn’t look anywhere as nice as what they saw online. I experienced this when I visited Prague for the first time last year. It was definitely not as nice as most of the photos I had seen and the comments/articles I had seen. It was a real let down for me.
    I thought that it was overrated. I did stay at the Mandarin Oriental which I thought was fabulous.
    Conversely, I had seen only a few photos of Salzburg and Vienna before I went there, and I was very impressed and really enjoyed my visit there. They were nicer than I thought they would be.

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