If you cliff jump but don’t share it with 30,000 followers, does anybody know that you actually did it?
Clout chasing has become a significant influence on social media users. We’ve seen the dangers of selfies. While capturing a selfie, to preserve a moment, you are risking the preservation of yourself. In 2015, selfie-related incidents were more responsible for deaths than shark attacks. Perhaps practicing mindfulness may be better for your health than the desire for internet gratification from strangers?
We all know that this internet behavior is foolish, now we have the receipts to support it. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue have reported that it’s missions have increased by 38 percent over the past five years; this is something they consider to be a direct correlation with social media sharing. The department reported 681 SAR missions in 2017, breaking the department’s record of 491 in 2013.
When you hear L.A. county, it’s natural to associate it with Hollywood and big-city living. However, L.A. County is home to many natural attractions. This beautiful area of land supplies us with beaches, 10,000-foot mountains, to waterfalls and slot canyons. The frightening part about social media sites, like Instagram and Youtube, is the enormous audience it has the potential to reach. Popular and extreme social media accounts provide revelations to some of nature’s best-kept secrets, to the masses. Authorities attribute the spike in its missions is directly related to social media.
“People will post videos of themselves jumping off of Hermit Falls or the Malibu rock pool, and they post it in the springtime when there’s a decent amount of water. But now, the water is a lot less, so what used to be a 10-foot pool is now a 5-foot pool,” Michael Leum, of the Sheriff’s Office, told the Los Angeles Times. “You won’t want to be a lawn dart going into that shallow pool.”
Robert Garcia, the fire chief for Angeles National Forest recalls to a time when Eaton Canyon and Monkey Canyon, were much more discrete and were only known to the locals. Today, online posts and videos on YouTube, highlight paths to these locations while showcasing how fun they can be. Garcia still believes people should enjoy the outdoors, but he does acknowledge less-experienced hikers could avoid risk if they stayed on the trail and obeyed officials warnings.
“The ten essentials” in the hiking community is a list of recommended items to always keep in your possession while on an excursion. The list includes things like maps, a compass, extra water, extra clothing, proper shoes, etc. Rescuers say that most of the people, they save, don’t carry a fraction of this list, making them susceptible to injury.
Instead, people go unprepared into an adventure in an attempt to recreate their favorite viral video. “They might Google map the hike, and not realize it’s a 3,000-foot elevation change as well as a three-mile hike,” said Quintin Humphrey, an engineer with the Los Angeles County Fire Department who routinely goes on rescue missions to Angeles National Forest. “I Think those are the things that never cross people’s minds, whereas 20 or 30 years ago people were maybe more prepared for I and had more of a camping mentality.”
Video stars aren’t just putting themselves in harm’s way when they go off the beaten path; they’re also causing soil erosion. Robert Garcia, the fire chief for Angeles National Forest explains: “Trails are designed with mitigation and resource protection in mind, so user-created trails don’t have that level of planning.”