How Social Media is Revolutionizing the Outdoor Community

Social media is a part of all of our lives. Use these outlets to gain the information you need and to share what you know with others.

By: Kevin Abernethy

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Social media has become a part of everyday life. I’m amazed at how often I subconsciously check my Instagram feed or scroll through status updates and pictures on Facebook. It seems we either log-on to see what is going on in other people’s lives, highlight what we have going on, give out opinions, reconnect with friends and family, or add a status update thinking you are sending a text (I’m talking to you Grandpa). Regardless of what your goal or motivation is social media has not only become a consistent part of our day, it has also become an invaluable resource for those of us plugged into the outdoor community. Not sure how it can positively affect your passion for the outdoors? Let me show the ways:

1. Education

Not all of us grew up with a family that took camping or hiking trips, tying your shoes is the only knot you know, or backpacking meant walking to class with your books in a backpack. If that’s you, how did you figure out what to do and what not to do? For me, it was through online resources and information provided from other individuals. I love learning the hard way and figuring out things on my own, but luckily I have learned a lot from others. Hopefully everyone has heard of the Leave No Trace guidelines, but a couple of years ago I was cutting switchbacks and setting up camp 10 feet from water sources (sorry Mother Nature!). Fortunately through social media outlets, I have been informed on how I can leave minimal impact on the places I visit. That is a simple example, but I’m amazed at what I have learned just by reading other people’s stories on The Outbound Journal and through stories and pictures on social media. 

2. Inspiration

Social media definitely provides inspiration for us to see places we never knew existed or to get information on one of our dream destinations. I’m sending Jason Hatfield the tab when I finally make it out Bruarfoss in Iceland. Before social media I would have never known Iceland had such a phenomenal waterfall and after looking at Iceland on Google for 5-10 minutes I never came across this ridiculous waterfall. Whether its pictures on Instagram, comments on Facebook, or 140 character description on Twitter, social media has allowed those of us on our weekly grind to discover weekend getaways we might not have ever found on our own. 

Photo: Yin Wu

3. Efficiency

The internet is basically an endless abyss of information. Google “places to see in Denver” and you will come across site after site on top 10, top 20, top 50 places to see. Click one link and before you know it you are 30 minutes deep into the conspiracy theory behind the Denver airport. Wait, what was I looking for? Social media cleans up this endless database of info and allows us to hone in on the areas we are most interested in. Need a better resource for mapsAddison Klinke has you covered. I’m adding a dog to my squad soon and instead of searching endlessly for relevant information Kate Wessel has all the information I need to get him trail ready. I love that I can follow people who are doing the same things I am doing, or people who are giving me the inspiration I need to venture out of my comfort zone. 

4. Community

“This guy again?” I’m sure that is thought that comes across some people’s minds when I hit them up with questions about something they posted. Actually, most of the people I have reached out to are super helpful. Best way to get to that campsite? Exposure time on that awesome pic? Recommendations for a 3 day weekend? I’ve asked all of those questions and 9 times out 10 I received a response within a day. I’m amazed at how social media has expanded the outdoor community. If you need information or suggestions I definitely recommend connecting with someone you know has the info you need. 

Photo: Grant Thomas

5. Lets Expand

So how can you help? If you are an avid outdoor enthusiast I encourage you to post what you are doing, where you have been, mishaps along the way, hacks you have figured out, etc. I constantly browse the Journal on The Outbound and I have discovered great information from some of those entries. Post those articles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Hopefully you can think back and remember a picture, post, or quote that inspired you to get up and get outside, why not try to offer that same encouragement to others? If you have a story to tell, camping hacks you’ve figured out, or tips for the best summer road trip then let’s hear about it! We have a tight knit group around here, but share those featured stories with your friends on other social media outlets to encourage and inspire others. 

Luckily The Outbound has given all of us a platform to document and share our knowledge and the other social channels allow us to spread that knowledge to friends and family. Lastly, if you are looking for tips, suggestions, or general information don’t hesitate to reach out to someone on social media. You may not always get a response, but the majority of the time you are going to get the info that you need.

See you on the trail!

Photo: Kevin Abernethy

Cover photo: Jason Hatfield

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.