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Trending: The Implications of Social Media Apps on Travel, Content and Business

“Do it for the gram” has become a well-known phrase in today’s social media-savvy age as the platform Instagram has risen in popularity, which now boasts more than one billion active users every month. The hashtag of the same phrase has more than 500,000 posts on the app, packed with photos from amateur photographers to dedicated social media influencers going the extra mile to snap just the right shot for their filtered feeds.

Upon visiting the hashtag, it doesn’t take much scrolling to find photos of travelers exploring the globe and documenting their every move. In the influencer world, there are many users from high-profile bloggers to micro-influencers who curate feeds under travel niches. And, with the launch of the new travel app “Depalo,” which helps users pinpoint “Instagram-worthy” locations, it’s becoming easier than ever to locate these hotspots and plan your next trip. So, what are the implications of the ever-advancing technology of social media? Here are a few to consider the next time you peruse the gram.

Overtourism

Instagram-friendly destinations around the globe have been dealing with an influx of tourists. A survey from Expedia found that 30% of Americans are influenced or inspired by social media when booking a trip. Thanks to geotagging, a feature on Instagram that allows users to tag their posts down to the latitude and longitude of the physical locations stored by mobile devices, it doesn’t take much searching to find attractive locations that can lead to those coveted “likes” and follows. Plus, with apps like Depalo, social media continues to evolve in support of this trend.

However, in November 2018, the Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board launched a campaign that encouraged visitors to “tag responsibly,” allowing Instagram users to tag their photos generically under “Keep Jackson Hole Wild” rather than using the geotag feature. The main goal of the campaign was twofold, helping to preserve natural resources of the travel destination by preventing overcrowding and destruction while boosting awareness of conservation efforts. 

Content Fatigue

Depalo’s website states: “As your location scout, Depalo will lead you to the exact latitude and longitude of the best Instagrammable murals, coffee shops and viewpoints so you can focus your time creating Insta-worthy moments.” However, in an article with CNN, Beca Alexander, founder and president of influencer casting and marketing agency Socialyte, points out that apps such as Depalo can create content fatigue. “I worry this just makes it easier for everyone to just continue posting the exact same content,” Alexander says of Depalo.

Photo vs. Business

In the same article, Alexander notes that people have a tendency to visit “Instagrammable” spots, such as businesses, just for the photo rather than to try the food or product the business is offering. While Instagram and influencer marketing can do wonders for business by attracting potential local customers, Alexander explains that this tendency is not always a good thing. “These places and restaurants are trying really hard to cater to the ‘grammers, but they’re not always seeing the benefit of it financially,” she says. “People are just going for the sake of taking a photo.”

Rebecca Aneloski, a lifestyle blogger who launched Depalo, explains that she works to strike a balance and ensure that businesses feel positively about being featured on the app. “We encourage people to do business while they’re there, not just show up and take a photo,” says Aneloski. “We definitely want to uplift these local businesses. We think too that if they are going to make their place pretty Instagrammable, it’s almost expected in this day and age to have people snapping photos in that space.”

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