Social Media and the Value of Information
I come from a mountaineering culture where it was considered poor behaviour to brag about where you’d been and what you’d done. It was far more cool to let people find out from a third party about a particular climb you’d been on, in a very British understated way. This approach was taken to the next level when winter climbing in Scotland, when getting the best conditions with nobody above you was an important part of the experience. If, for example, you’d found good conditions on Ben Nevis one weekend, you would tell people it wasn’t that great and that maybe the Cairngorm would be a safer bet. Retail outlets in destinations like Aviemore and the Fort would always tell you that conditions were fantastic, even if they weren’t, so that you’d come up there, find that it was minging, and then go shopping for kit instead. This was disinformation, and all considered fair game.
Fast forward 30 years, and now we don’t phone up the shop or see mates down the pub. We just keep checking social media. Quite frankly, if I wasn’t a mountain guide, I wouldn’t post on social media. My presence on social media is a commercial necessity. You won’t see any political rants , or pictures of kittens, or what I just had for dinner. I post images and text on social media to show the quality of experience I’m having with my clients in the mountains. That’s it.
Quite often, I’m asked exactly where I’ve been and people can be surprised when I’m not that forthcoming with this valuable information There is often an expectation that guides should post this info and make it available for free. However, the decision as to where to go and what to do in a particular set of circumstances is something that takes hours and sometimes days. It’s the hidden work that forms the core value of a mountain guide, so why should it be given away for free?
If you were a consultant in the investment business, you might post about the great rate of return your clients are getting, but you wouldn’t disclose exactly where you’d placed your clients’ funds. Why should guides, who are effectively mountain consultants, be any different?
So please don’t be offended if a comment on my post that reads “Where is this?” is ignored.
Consider how much you’d be prepared to pay for that information. And you can always book me if you want the full experience and be in the next social media post.
Thanks for your understanding. Here are some pictures of kittens…