Last Sunday I listened to an interesting program on CBC Radio One – an edition of Cross Country Checkup that talked about social media and its effect on society. The question - is social media making us antisocial?
Many of the points raised in the program echoed my own thoughts on the topic. It seems that social media – Facebook, twitter, foursquare and all the mobile technology that goes along with it are pretty much ubiquitous these days.
I wonder – without the ability to connect to people though the internet, would I be living the same healthy, action packed life? Would I be enjoying the sports I do, to the level that I do?
The honest truth is – probably not. The only reason I ended up living in Squamish instead of a resort town was through a Facebook message from a friend. I can only contemplate living away from family in Australia because we can keep in contact, cheaply, through Skype and email. When it comes to each of my sports and other interests, I constantly use various platforms to retrieve and share information. It blows my mind to think that my riding, running, snowboarding and writing community extends around the globe. That is a helluva lot of people sharing the stoke!
The internet is a useful tool, and I believe it is playing a crucial role in the rising numbers of women participating in action sports. It allows you to organise rides to new places with new friends at a level that suits. You can get advice on skills, clothes, and equipment. You can be inspired by photos, video and stories of women excelling in their chosen field, and you can share your own journey.
'Should have checked the trail conditions online...' Whistler Bike Park. Rider: Pip Gardiner. Photo: Ryan Gardiner
There is a downside to all this connection. Free services like Facebook are not really free - you need to hand over a little bit of your privacy in order to get the full benefit of the service. That information can be shared with the corporation that runs the network as well as third party advertisers so you need to be careful with what you broadcast and what you allow access to your information. A balance between real and virtual is also important. Spending all your time online living other people experiences is not healthy but it is an easy trap to fall into, particularly when the weather is bad.
In my opinion, social media is another step in human evolution. Just as microscopes and telescopes have enhanced our ability to see, the internet has expanded our ability to connect. If we take the time to understand how each program works and use it to our advantage, we can augment our social life immensely. The key is to use the technology, rather than letting the technology use you.
The reality is there is no substitute for the real thing. If you spend an hour online watching other people ride bikes, or ride bikes for an hour, which will leaving you feeling amazing?
I thought so. Now get out there!
Day in the life of a modern Action Woman:
8.00 Get up, eat breakfast. Delicious new recipe from Bettygohard, energy for the day! Om nom nom…
8.30 Draft and publish new Bettygohard blog post.
9.30 Broadcast post on Twitter, Linked in, and Facebook. Update website portfolio.
10.00 Plan next long trail run using GPS map from Squamish50 race
10.15 Browse through Girl Parkour photos – those girls are strong AND sexy. Resolve to do more core strength work. How do they balance on those rails??
10.35 Check next DH race route with SORCA – it’s a steep and gnarly one. Hmmm…
10.40 Get some tips from Fabian Barel on riding steep and gnarly tracks. Thanks Fabian!
11.00 Research lighter tires for freeride bike. Need it to do the Hot on Your Heels race – is there something as grippy as a Maxxis Minion but lighter?
11.30 Update Facebook status– Heading to bike park!
11.35 Download new music, a little Hilltop Hoods and some Crystal Method to get the riding party started. Blast some tunes while packing the truck.
11.40 Get two texts from friends already at the park – sweet!
11.45 Drive to Whistler. Ride, ride, talk, ride until the park closes. Meet up with a random crew and go for beers to cut the dust.
10.00 Drive home, update status to ‘best day ever! ‘
10.00 Go to sleep, dream of riding again.
'Having a lovely time - wish you were here' - Whistler Bike Park. Photo: Pip Gardiner