You’re Not Cool Unless You Have Social Media

I haven’t posted an editorial on here in awhile because I’ve been busy not fishing, unfortunately. The late summer has been slow and the weather hasn’t been perfect. Mix that in with a full time job and we’re left with not much time to get out on the water.

What I do have a few minutes for right now is to jump on my computer to check emails and browse Facebook to keep up with friends. My personal social media has slowed down and even this website, to an extent. Am I mad about that? No. What I’m mad about is people making statements – of verbiage and of feeling – towards the sentiment that you’re not cool unless you have social media.

This has been going on for a while; only addressed under the breath of conversations between two men on metal platforms in the middle of no where.

Allow me to rant.

We’ve all seen the ridiculous Instagram accounts from female attention whores who show nothing but bikini shots just to get more likes from some click-happy old men (Sorry, old dudes!) and free stuff from companies, as well as the newcomer or flat out brand whore who has all the cool fishing gear that constantly posts hash-tagged photos in obnoxious vintage filters. That’s just a by-product of the internet and small-time fame that some people strive for which is only a third of the problem, and the most prevalent and visual.

Here’s the problem I found online recently that really makes it self the ‘nail to be hammered’:

[…] one requirement to make this list is that the Florida angler MUST have a public video that we can display… because let’s face it, in this day and age, if there isn’t a single fishing video of you on the Internet, you can’t really be a “Must Know” Angler.

That’s an excerpt from another fishing website’s ‘blog’ article (that I won’t link to because they don’t deserve it) that they posted about some made-up list of ‘must know anglers’ on the internet. I even put the word blog in the last sentence in quotes because the website is filled with click-bait articles and garbage filler postings only made to generate clicks and revenue for the website.

“What!?”

It’s not just that website – which happens to be the only ones so far that I can tell who have said it in such an ignorant, childish and blunt manner – but an overall trend online. It seems these days that true angling and the genuine emotions that are meant to be felt while out in the wilderness has ben replaced by cheap thrills on the internet for a few ‘likes’ on a photo or some free hats.

Not having social media doesn’t make you uncool, unpopular or any other condescending term to shove you under the proverbial fast-paced bus we call the internet. Let’s go ask Chico Fernandez what he thinks about that. How about Steve Huff or any of the other legendary anglers from fly fishing in South Florida’s apex years? There are anglers who know where, quite literally, every tarpon and bonefish in Florida Bay is at any given time that would laugh in your bikini-clad or multi-colored-microfiber face if you told them they needed social media to get by. I love wearing my seafoam green microfiber with a bright yellow buff and camo-colored hat, for the record.

Posting photos online of your guided trips and ‘marketing’ your fishing-culture clothing business is not the culprit of the sentiment in question and has been done tastefully by plenty of companies and popular anglers. Getting more clients by showing the world what you do or putting out photos of your badass gear in use doesn’t make one a social media whore or offender. It’s the trail of bread crumbs you leave over time for others to figure out your motives and what you really mean when you post “Hey guys! Check out this HUGE redfish I caught with @soandso and @soandocharters today #hashtageverything” or your new blog post titled “10 Things EVERY Fisherman MUST KNOW! You won’t BELIVE IT!”.

News flash; that’s called cheap content and it doesn’t build your personal brand on Instagram or your business’s brand on your website. In fact, it makes you look like you have no idea what you’re doing and it shows.

But who am I to talk, right? I run a website called SkinnySkiff.com writing articles about conservation, products and my recent fishing endeavors. Do I tag social media with my #skinnyskiff hashtag to lead people back to here and build this website? Of course I do – web servers aren’t free.

So what’s the difference? I don’t want to answer that for you.

The different between some social media users and others can be as obvious as the fact that they have no idea what they’re doing and are just in the game for free gear and fame, or as obvious as someone who genuinely loves the outdoors and shows others the magic of what it really feels like to tie your own fly and present your newly created artwork to an unsuspecting aquatic animal in the depths of a far away land.

Go out and go fish. Come back in and post on social media. But do it with gusto. Create content that has body and some emotion behind it and leave a trail on your account that shows that you care as much for the ecosystem and outdoor resource as you do for your new buff or microfiber.

For me it’s the latter; and that’s how I feel about it, anyway.

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