When was the last time you went on holiday without posting a single status update, picture or video? According to this survey, 97 percent of “millennials” use social networks while travelling, with 73 percent doing so every day. For better or worse, social media and travel are a natural fit – but is it time for this perfect couple to fall out?
Social media undeniably connects us in ways never before possible. You can instantly find people to share your experiences with, even if you’re travelling alone; you can ask for travel tips as you go; keep in touch with family back home; and even build new friendships in Twitter chats, DMs and comments.
But is there a downside to this constant connectivity?
Arguments about the dangers of being tied to your phone are well versed. It’s easy to miss out on great experiences while adjusting your Valencia filter – and more of us than would like to admit have made pit-stops in Starbucks for power outlets and free wi-fi. We’re starting to forget how to use technology in moderation, becoming digital druggies trapped in an unrelenting torrent of information.
More interesting is how social media feeds shape our travel plans in the first place. Images are powerful, with influencers paid thousands of dollars to flood our timelines with rose-tinted snaps – a “manipulated perspective on life”. Australia’s Tourism NT recently cited Instagrammers as part of a campaign that saw a 14 percent increase in domestic travel, while 84 percent of Facebook users say that their friends’ posts influence their travel plans.
With free international roaming becoming a reality, it’s also a concern if any places will escape the social media spotlight. It’s hard to experience the sense of wonder that makes travel so special if you’ve seen it all already online.