For most, traveling is one of the best ways to escape the busy thoroughfare of city life and experience culture in new or exotic places. When you try an extreme sport for the first time in Queenstown or witness the breathtaking view of the Niagara Falls, you would always have the urge to capture the moment and post it on social media. Most of the time, you would also share your location. While it feels good to let the world know about your experience, there is another side to it that you might want to consider. We have decided to explore the practice of geotagging and list down reasons why you should stop doing it on your next trips.
Geotag to share experiences
‘Geotagging’ is the practice of adding your current location on social media. A study found that public geotagging does not only show people their travels and events to their followers. It also helps in recommending places and restaurants to visit. Everything from the must-see to must-eat to must-do in trips, geotagging pushes people to visit top destinations. Most of these locations are far away from home or in rare places. However, geotagging poses concerns for tourists and businesses in the areas. We have listed down reasons why you should think twice about geotagging.
It can bring an influx of tourists
While tourist spots are the first go-to places of travelers, some prefer to explore unknown and secluded places. In Europe, people know about the beautiful landscapes in Tuscany and the vibrant Plaza Mayor in Madrid, but only a few know about the wine architecture in Rioja or the quaint town of Mellieha in Malta. Though it is thrilling to share hidden gems to your friends, it may pose concerns for the locals there and their businesses.
Siargao is one of the country’s treasures with its beautiful coast, cave pools, and lagoons. Yet with more people sharing their experiences on social media, the release of local film Siargao, and the closure of Boracay, there is an influx of tourists in the place. As a result, the local government became unprepared in emergency situations.
There is also a spike of tourist arrivals in Sagada. This influx was brought by the release of That Thing Called Tadhana in 2014. Some tourists would take photos of the residents and ask them to pose in traditional clothing. Others disrespect the conservative culture of the place. In response, the Sagada mayor and its residents told tourists to respect their town. Thus, the next time you visit a quaint beautiful town, think twice on the consequences of your social media posts.
It can ruin experiences
While it is fun to share your trips especially when you discovered this hidden sanctuary in Puerto Princesa, or when you witnessed a rare sight of the sunrise at Mt. Pulag like Erwin Heusaff, consider the possibility of a sudden influx of tourists to the place. You might no longer be able to enjoy the solitude when you decide to return. For some, there are places they hold dear to them because of an unforgettable memory like the first time to surf a big wave or even a special affair like the wedding of Martine Ho in Bali. Geotagging then creates possibilities of ruining the experience when you want to reminisce or recreate your treasured moments.
It can invade privacy
For personalities and celebrity figures, it is quite common for the world to know about their activities. Checking-in on social media real-time allows fans to see what their favorite celebrity is presently doing. But we all know the risks of this practice. While it may be good for encouraging interaction between celebrity and fan, some fans might take this chance to flock to the location and disrupt privacy.
At the same time, there can be occasions when sharing location can act as a news update or even promote a place. This attributes to the ‘privacy paradox‘ where “disclosing one’s location to other people can be risky but at the same time valuable.” When you traverse the cyberspace landscape, you are public. You have to be conscious then of the extent of information you share with others.
It can hurt locals and businesses
Dan Tasse of Carnegie Mellon University says geotagging is “likely to be a valuable resource for travelers more than for city planners or other officials.” Tourists want an appealing and comfortable place to enjoy living like locals. While this encourages authenticity of the experience, you should start thinking about the residents and the businesses at the place you are visiting before geotagging your trips.