Instagram dictates modern tourism, learn how to use it
It was our last day in Reykjavik and we headed past the scenic old port. To a simulator. That’s right. After two weeks in Iceland and a whole lot of very impressive experiences, we went to a helicopter fly-over machine. We had been on glaciers, inside volcanos, seen more waterfalls than you can imagine exist but here we were strapping ourselves in to a typical such ride. It moves, it sprinkles you, blows air on you and you get a completely unique new view on the sights you have already seen as well as many you will never be able to. It also features good weather which helps explain why it took so long to film it. At the end they offer the typical cheesy fake photos of you in front of the Northern Lights or other options for anyone with too much cash.
If you only have fifteen minutes to experience Iceland I can think of no better way. And you could have the same film anywhere in the world. But the cheesy photos kill it.
One of the reasons Iceland is so popular lately is because it is Instagramable. You just point at any of their attractions, take a photo and can be sure of a stream of likes and comments. That simple. You will look good. It is unusual. You seem interesting and adventurous. It stands out in their social media. I first experienced this effect last year in Norway.
This is just a rock. I can think of a thousand equally impressive views in Greece where we could add a rock like this for Instagram. And even though thousands of people probably post the exact same photo, mine still got hundreds of likes and comments. So why don’t we go about putting rocks for photos in more places? Make it as safe as you want, just make sure it looks impressive. And make it easy for the photographer to get to the right angle. It is more important these days than the actual experience. People don’t care how you got there, if you cheated or took a ride, nobody will check. “Pics or it didn’t happen” only refers to the finish line, the final result. No matter if you posed for ten minutes or waited two hours for the clouds to lift, the sun to be at the right place or whatever else you needed to do.
In fact if I had one criticism of Iceland and the way they have set up their national parks it is that they don’t have enough photo opportunities. Too many of those great waterfalls have fenced off the ideal semi-dangerous-looking spot or the ideal photo angle position. Nobody has (yet) fallen off that rock in the picture. This other one (with me jumping) I think one person did; too many think it is cool to dangle their feet off the ledge. Why? Because someone posted it on Instagram! In a way it may actually be the Norwegian Tourist Board’s fault that person fell off. If only they had set up the angle for photography better. He wouldn’t have to go so close to the ledge for an impressive photo.
The currency is “likes”. No point complaining, that is how it goes.Work with it. It is the most natural viral promotion there is. People take the photo, others are envious and want to go get their own ultra likeable photo. No need to chase so called “influencers”. Instagrammable locations work like a pyramid, sucking in more and more people. Even the ones that didn’t like or comment are opening a Google search about travelling to that destination in another tab. Come on, admit it, you probably started back at half way through this article when you saw my picture of my friend on that rock…
(If anyone in tourism needs my help making their location more Instagrammable, feel free to contact me.)