In April of 2018 I awoke on a Gregory’s Bald in the Smokey Mountains. The altitude gave me a headache and the morning air made me sick. I didn’t take time to make a cup of instant coffee before morning light. As I walked in through the scatted trees, every dark shadow looked like a scavenging bear. The sun waited for me to reach the clearing and then it burst colorful rays of light over the mountains to the east. I witnessed purple mountain majesties and felt the cool wind wake up the world. So I took a picture with my phone. Then I shared it on social media.
The day was full of hiking and drinking and eating. My trail buddy Slim Jim hadn’t arose in time to witness the morning sky. I showed him a few pictures off of my phone as we made our way along the trail. We were going to hike over 40 miles in a few days just as we had been planning for months.
That afternoon my phone clamored with text message notifications as I walked through a pocket of cellular activity. I took a chance to see if anyone else had seen my post of the sunrise. It had quite a few likes and lots of comments. I started to answer them as I sat on a log, hundreds of miles away from home. Then it hit me, what the hell was I doing? I deleted the photo and turned my phone off. Putting my mind in the present I returned to the mountains and continued my conversation with Slim Jim about life and what not.
A few weeks later I decided to drop of social media all together. Facebook, Instagram, even my Nike Running App accounts were deleted and I was set free. It was amazing. The thoughts of “Take a picture” and “Did anyone like this?” or worse, “Why didn’t anyone this?” had vanished. I highly recommend it.
Recently I turned my accounts back on. I understand the importance of using social media as a tool and the need for online presence. The difference this time is that I will not be posting anything. I will have a marketing director posting on my behalf. It will be the best of both worlds. I get online presence and I will not have to count likes. Instead, at the end of the week, I will get a report of my analytics. Since social media is a tool, anyone can use it. So why not let someone who is better trained at posting and hash tagging take control so I can spend more time hiking.