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Social Media

ERS values the support of riders who choose to follow and interact with us on social media. We really enjoy seeing posts, stories and photos of riders out on the water with ERS equipment though we actually encourage moderate and reduced use of social media sites.

As a company that exists to enhance outdoor activity and peoples recreational lives we don't want to spend our own time glued to a screen, nor encourage it in others when there is so much great stuff to see and experience - just by looking up.

The Illusion and Distorted Reality

Social media is divided into two separate user types; Businesses and Individuals. The reason you're asked to specify what type of entity you are is so the platform algorithms can treat your account differently.

For individuals, social media can be an enjoyable way to interact with those that are not in our immediate presence, and a great way to keep up to date on your favorite pastimes or entities.  When used in moderation it provides an interesting experience and unique tool to interact virtually with others.

Businesses use the platforms differently, with the core uses being a portal of interaction and advertising (this applies to individuals that conduct themselves as brands or businesses).  In any competitive market, brands and businesses have the constant pressure of being popular, and the easiest way for a business to covey a sense of popularity is to create the illusion of it.

Social proof  leverages hard wired human behavior where individuals will seek information from a group consensus when faced with uncertainty. A person instinctually acts on the advice and directions of the group when encountering new information to avoid things or situations that are potentially harmful or in kind benefit from them.

If a user sees one business with 100 followers and sees a competing business with 10,000 followers then the user with no other knowledge could make an assumption that the business with the higher number of followers, has more people interested in the ongoings of that business.

What if the business with 10,000 followers bought 9900 of them from an extensive number of shady businesses that specialize in this particular fraud?

This is often what happens. It is a complete fabrication of reality and the illusion of popularity is really big business on social media.

This does not apply to every individual, businesses or company.  Many local small businesses run completely legitimate social media accounts and they are great!  Many larger businesses also have invested time, money and energy into their social media presence and use these platforms to communicate and interact with their customers.

Like any online or in-person platform for selling or interaction, there will be both good and bad actors present. Social media makes the nature and intent of these actors difficult to discern and differentiate by design.

Followers and Likes - A False Metric

A significant number of business accounts have inflated follower accounts, fake reviews and hundreds of paid for likes and interaction on every post, because that is what the platforms encourage.   In the outdoor industry it more than commonplace, and often the media platforms won't even show your post to anyone unless you pay for it through boosting (even we have to do this at times of the algorithms will not even show the post)

Companies and businesses routinely buy followers by the thousands to give the impression of popularity, and chalk it up to nature of doing business through social media.  All social media platforms are populated by bots to enhance the numbers, creating a cyclical problem that feeds into itself, providing benefit to the platform (through paid advertising) and benefit to the business (the illusion of popularity).  The end user is the mark in this scenario and all that is required to keep the machine running is to keeping consumer base entertained enough to keep the screen in front of you as much as possible.

In its evolved form social media has not made the real world a better place, which is what we want to spend our time doing. We invest a comparatively limited amount of resources into social media because we do not believe it's a great use of a persons limited time.

Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction is a destructive phenomenon that has been normalized and requires change.  The damaging and negative societal influence of social media addiction has not been adequately recognized or addressed.  It requires effort and action to see change across a wider strata of businesses and communities.

Social media outlets provide a platform of content creation free to creators and a portal of interaction to end users.  It's free because you are the product.

Excessive social media and device use creates a dopamine feedback loop that is designed around extending end user interaction time in order to increase advertising revenue for the platform in use.  The algorithms are designed to keep you scrolling and to keep you checking in with constant notifications and fear of missing out (FOMO).  If the platforms keep you doing this then they have more advertising space / time to sell to businesses.

While addiction is beyond the scope of this article, it will not take a huge leap to assume most of us know one or more people that never seem to be off their phone.  As mobile device use crept into our lives this was novel, and almost amusing, though it developed into dependence that is rarely recognized or challenged.

The mechanism of addiction is almost identical to substance abuse or gambling, though far less persuasive since we function adequately in society despite checking every tweet, post or story that our phone demands we give attention.  Device use has become normalized to the point of wasting hours a day - and accepting it as normal.

Moving Forward

We've requested our riders focus on being in the moment, tagging us when they wish to share content but not to let social media dictate or form their core experience on the water.

ERS has spent months where we have posted nothing. We have implemented a policy that on dates of significant cultural or historical importance that has nothing to do with paddle boarding we will post nothing unless it is important to us as a business, or to an individual involved in our business.  This will help clear space so real people can interact with real people and avoid yet another business making important subject manner about their interests and self promotion.

We have never bought followers or likes  like the companies who push a narrative of popularity via inflated numbers on social media platforms. We limit any advertising spend and content creation on these platforms to put more effort into designing and manufacturing better products.

If you want to read what real people think of their ERS boards we have an entire section of our site dedicated to ERS user / rider and insights and reviews. 

From a commercial standpoint we realize this will have implications though we've always done what we feel is right and our stance on this issue is no different. We make paddle boards and gear.  Really great equipment so we'll stick to what we are good at and let others pretend to be popular.

Turning off notifications is the best place to start.  Allocating an amount of time to spend either checking or creating social media content is a further step.  It is challenging since most people won't recognize or accept a problem once a behavior is normalized.  Social media is a great platform to share interesting information and great photos though it needs to be used in moderation and not form the basis of social activity. 

ERS will still use and be as current as possible on our social media accounts active (which you will see below) because they are easy to update, and give our riders and potential customers collated platforms to interact with ERS as part of their many social and community interests.

The beginning of the change needed is simple and what we really want to encourage.  Get outside more and look around - there are some really cool things and experiences right in front of you.

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7810 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, Maryland 20814