Social Media, a love/hate relationship?

Hey guys, who else wants another coffee?

I must have said that about ten times last weekend, which I spent somewhere in the South of France drinking caffeine and wine with a bunch of lifelong mates.

Nope, it’s not all about riding my bike… Coz’ behind the social media guy in the coloured socks, there’s actually a guy who cares about his friends, even if most of them aren’t into brainless endurance sport, and don’t share my passion for cycling. Most of them are just happy to enjoy the simple pleasures of life; good food, wine, a few mojitos and the occasional transformation into a party animal.

I am just back from a pretty epic stag do. You never think it’ll actually happen, but it seems even the best of us get caught sometime or other. Loïc is about to tie the knot so we went a little crazy and made the weekend one to remember. But hey what happened in Montpellier stays in Montpellier and now I’m back home. Back to all the shit across the bedroom floor, back to the spare wheels in every corner and the twenty emails in every box, back to my phone.

I am just back from a pretty epic stag do. You never think it’ll actually happen.

What the h3ll is going on?

I’m back in the groove that’s been mine for the last 4 years now: my bike is rollin’, my quads are burnin’ and camera is snappin’ photos for social media. But after a few days away, I’m just don’t feel comfortable scrolling through my feed… And suddenly I realise I’m not just uncomfortable, I’m pissed off. In fact, I’m damn fucking fuming and if I didn’t really like the phone I may have chucked it at the nearest waste bin.

But aren’t I supposed the lover-of-social-media / instagrammer / digital maniac? Seems not today…Do I really need another set of boobs in my face?

Do I really want to see half a dozen desperate ads sprinkled throughout the first ten posts, six of which at least are of guys pretending they can pull a wheelie?

Because call me nostalgic or whatever the hell you please, something isn’t quite as it was 4 years ago…

Where is the original spirit of social media ? No wait: where is the social part? We used to connect with each other because we had something in common, something to share!

Where is the original spirit of social media?

Where is the social part?

Today, I opened my Instagram feed and I felt like an alien being conned into giving one like after another in exchange for small tantalising tastes of Earth.

My feed is not the one I used to enjoy…My feed is a string of crap pictures captioned with the same quote over and over… yeah you know, the “believe in yourself you’re awesome” motivational shit posted by some Instagram “superstar” a day ago and shamelessly copied.

My feed is a sunburst of embarrassing ads by desperate social media managers, who are probably shitting their pants at the idea of facing their unskilled but know-it-all boss, questioning why there aren’t enough likes.My feed is an explosion of selfies and skin, of guys sitting on top tubes and bikes propped against walls.

Where are you creative athletes?

I know you’re there somewhere, behind the bums and biceps and duck faces and paid promotion. But an algorithm killed you, forcing you to pay to get your daily dose of likes.

You were a source of freshness and you have become a source of inspiration – a source of copy – for wannabe influencers : same captions, same hashtags, same angles and filters… A million copies of someone whose content was a daily source of enjoyment.

Pay for likes, pay for follows, DM-me for collabs… I used to engage genuinely with people because of the cool content they shared; I don’t see them anymore… They disappeared because they chose not to play the pay to play game of Instagram, designed by the respectable (?) Facebook!

They have left nothing but social media posers behind… Do these guys even ride bikes? How do you change a flat if you’re too worried about the angle of your Raybans? How do you pedal even 2k with pouted lips?

Dammit, I want to see the posts I used to see: open roads, tears, majestic landscapes, people riding together, enjoying a break, taking a breath, just enjoying being a fuckin’ human being, alive and lucky enough to be fit and healthy enough to run and ride my bike! Sorry but not sorry, my Pornhub subscription offers all the opened jerseys I need.

Notification-addicted...

I could go on, but hey you got lucky because my rant was interrupted by an Insta notification which just made my day. “Beautiful picture, my friend’’ I’ll just be polite shall I?

“Thank you, dear bot, for boosting my daily engagement with the same word-perfect comment. Are you even aware you have already followed/unfollowed me 4 times this month? Fuck that: keep your purchased followers and paid likes. Work hard, play hard and show me you’ve got a pair. Alternatively, go and remove the stabilisers from your bike. Sincerely, Guilhem”

As for myself, I’ve just pulled on my bike kit for a ride with the local bunch. On the way back I might just stop for a pose and a snapshot. Who am I kidding? I’m one of them too! But I’m going to keep the faith that my own addiction to likes and digital sharing will be fulfilled by real people and riders.

And if not, I’ll just have to drown my sorrows over coffee with with the original Instagram creators; they left the company a few weeks ago, coincidence ???

Photo credits : sunset lover Emma BILHAM