I recently read an article on the BBC News website that ‘Icelanders tire of disrespectful Instagram influencers.’ Part of the article included a comment by Pall Jokull Petursson, who makes a living out of showing photographers Iceland’s nature:
‘The good instagrammers try to show different ways of enjoying nature. We don’t tag places that are off the beaten path that we want to protect as long as possible. Some places have become “insta-famous” without ever mentioning where they are but eventually they become known to everyone.’
In using Instagram or Facebook as a small business, location tagging is encouraged – as a way of reaching out to more customers and to gain more traffic. But, it’s something I don’t believe in doing. And it seems that I’ve become on trend. As the impact of location tagging on the natural environment has started to create debate.
It would certainly make more business sense if I were to #geotag. After all, travellers are looking to travel off-the-beaten-track. They want the feeling of knowing they are exploring undiscovered regions. By using social media to post and geotag images of remote landscapes, I can get ahead of my competition because it illustrates that I know where the locations are – I can show that we can get potential guests into these quieter, less commercialised, less well-known places.
However, there are two reasons why I don’t do it. One is that I’m concerned about the impact that high visitors numbers would put on the fragile ecosystems. Another reason is that by geotagging everywhere, I feel we’re losing the sense of adventure in travel – with the help of Google and GPS we can pinpoint the exact location before we’ve even left home.
Instead, if I geotag then I geotag the region – I keep it general but not specific. And, I like the new idea that when you do geotag, you add a second message about stewardship – reminding people how to enjoy the wild landscapes responsibly through the leave no trace philosophy.
So instead of using geotags as a way of getting more business, I’ll be continuing with responsible geotagging. Join me?