Welcome To Social Media Tourism - Is Instagram Winning The War Against Reality?

Are we living with social media or through it? What I saw from so-called Instagram models in Greece recently, I’m alarmed that it’s probably the latter.

Allow me, dear reader, to tell you a story that demonstrates this problem. It was another beautiful day in Rhodes, as me and my girlfriend took the bus out to the amazing town of Lindos.

With the impossible task of dodging every possible ray of light (I’m generically pasty and British of course), we made the walk up to the Acropolis - noticing quite a significant amount of “Instagram boyfriends.” Who are these? If you’ve ever seen a guy being dragged around, purely for the purpose of capturing the perfect shot, then you’ve seen an IG BF.

Social media tourism 2.jpg

Anyway, I digress. We came across a gigantic set of steps - the only way for any visitor to continue their tour of this magnificent location, steeped in centuries of history. However, the entire set of stairs were being hogged by two Italian ladies, running what seemed to be an extended photoshoot. Countless people including myself, a group of friends and an Asian family were selfishly told to move, to which they agreed and were stood waiting for nearly 20 minutes for this photoshoot to finish.

No direct smiles to the camera either. These shots were meticulously framed and prepared, arched backs and everything. To me, this just all seemed a little rude, but it’s not my place to judge. But as the shoot continued and the crowd of people being moved aside for a perfect background began to mount, I realised there was a bigger problem that tapped into what I spoke about after going to Egypt and at Christmas time.

Welcome to the brave new world of social media tourism. It’s been around for a while, but I’d never really been hit by it until now - something which is probably a big indicator of becoming an old man.

The historical significance, the beauty of your surroundings, or the idea of “switching off” during a holiday? They aren’t the primary motivating factors of a getaway anymore… 

But there is a growing importance of what I will call “the potential engagement.” The backdrop of your so-called “modelling” pics on IG, the excuse to tag a new location, showing the people at home a larger-than-life persona who is always on-the-go by posting that picture a month later (yes I will be looking for the Italian girl’s picture to prove this) - all of this is beginning to matter more and more. 

Need proof? This is why The Selfie Factory exists - a location built purely for the vanity reason of upping your IG game.

As Drake puts it in Emotionless…

“I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome

Then she finally got to Rome

And all she did was post pictures for people at home

'Cause all that mattered was impressin' everybody she's known”

Allow me to be clear, It’s not about the act of taking a picture. I get you’re on holiday and want to capture the moments, which is why I’m pretty relentless in making my holiday vlogs with dog segments for the mrs. Oh, and it’s definitely not just women, to make that clear. For every girl posing, there was a guy doing the exact same thing.

But the point is these pictures should not come at the detriment of others or the reality of the world around you, while you chase a social media-fuelled narcissistic urge for numbers. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs when your follower count matters more than the experience you’re supposed to be enjoying.

Not only is that making quite a sizeable impact on your mental health, it’s just downright selfish. Please stop, don’t directly connect your happiness to social media engagement, take that quick snap in front of that column, put the phone away and enjoy your time on this crazy blue marble called Earth.