I am sure we have all noticed this at some point or another. One weekend, you're scrolling through social media and checking Snapchat and you spot this one picture or post that has a location tag close to your hometown, a clever caption, and a really cool picture of your friends or people you follow that makes you want to go on the same adventure or eat at the same restaurant. You inevitably try to rally a group of friends to copy-cat the outing the next weekend.
We're all guilty of it; taking a screenshot of someone's Instagram or Facebook post to send to our friends with a message along the lines of "OMG you guys! We have to do this too!" or "I want that picture on my feed and I already have a caption!" If your friends are on top of social media, you may even be the one getting the urgent message about planning next weekend's trip.
This is why scrolling through social media has become more and more of a workout for my thumbs. Not only am I scrolling and double-tapping to like a picture or typing a cute comment, but I am also clicking on the location tag and then plugging the address into the Maps app. Once I get all the information, I can screenshot the directions and send it to a groupchat of friends to find out when they want to go.
After a week of planning and deciding who will drive and coming up with certain poses for pictures and matching captions, you're ready for the new weekend. You drive all the way there or hike up a mountain for the photo-op or take the train in the city and walk to your destination prepared and excited...only to bump into a ton of people you recognize trying to get the same pictures you are.
You and your friends had never considered that other groups of friends were just as amazed and inspired by that one picture and have been planning all week and thinking of the same poses and captions you were.
With slightly less enthusiasm you wait your turn and still take the pictures you were planning and hope you can be the first to post it so yours is not lost in the sea of the same on a now boring Instagram feed.
This is the domino effect of social media; when one uniquely documented adventure that everyone envies and admires turns into a hot-spot next weekend. It's a phenomenon that I'm sure we have all witnessed, if not been a part of. I can easily list the newly turned "hot-spots" of my feed; the Ninham Fire Tower, Anthony's Nose, Hot Dippity Donuts, and Smorgasborg, as just a couple of examples.
We are so centrally located in Westchester with hundreds of hiking spots within an hour's drive; New York City, the greatest city in the world, at our fingertips with two equidistant train stations; and so many towns filled with shops and restaurants just a short drive up the Taconic to explore; but the best we can come up with is joining in on the bandwagon of spots made popular by social media.
We need to remember that it's not just the photo-op that counts, though, it's the experience and the laughter and fun spent with friends. Sure it's fun to feel super confident and excited about a certain post you make on Instagram, but what's more important is that you didn't just go to get the picture, but wanted a fun outing with friends.
What we remember is that one friend who insisted on getting milk while working through the dozen fancy donuts from Hot Dippity and went in to buy an actual quart of milk instead of a smaller, single serving container and that was hilarious in the moment. What we remember is group of thirty kids with foreign counselors waiting at the base of the Ninham Fire Tower when there were literally no cars in the single parking lot and you laugh about how they must have materialized out of thin air just to delay you and your lunch. What we remember is that it was far too windy to get the best pictures at the Peekskill waterfront and sitting in the random Baskin Robbins you found after discovering that the cute Hudson Creamery was closed. So you shouldn't feel ashamed for following certain Instagram posts around town, but these are the memories the pictures you post should represent.