“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it” — Abe Lincoln.
Great thought, and I’m glad the internet has been able to preserve it for us. Don’t give a passing thought to the fact that the internet was invented in January, 1983 and Lincoln died in April, 1865 (If you don’t get it, please don’t ask anyone to explain it to you).
Social media is the greatest thing to ever happen to hunting, fishing and the outdoors. Social media is ruining hunting, fishing and the outdoors.
Good, bad & ugly
How is that? Depending on which camp you fall into, at least you probably agree with one of those. Outdoor social media — primarily Facebook for today’s discussion — is like that famous Clint Eastwood Movie, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
It’s a great benefit and quite entertaining. Information can be gained there to help you be a better outdoorsman, find guides and products and even help keep people safe. But scrolling Facebook and the internet is almost like playing the old TV show “To Tell The Truth” every time you turn your electronic device on.
Sharing pictures and videos of successful outdoor ventures is a great way to promote the outdoors and do a little bragging about your kill or catch. It’s enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But, the repercussions are real. Some of the comments go from bad to worse in a hurry and end up much worse than “Yeah, well, Yo Momma wears Army Boots.” The haters have actually kept some good stories from being shared and ruined others.
This past season, one of the best deer killed in the state ended up on Facebook for just about eight hours. Then the poster removed it when he started getting pressure from others to take it down before everybody figured out where he killed it and they all showed up there Saturday morning. There were already problems with people improperly infringing on the area, even though it was private. Unfortunately, their reasoning was real. It does happen. But we missed a treat seeing the picture and hearing his story.
Even simple things like a kayaker showing a beautiful stretch of a Louisiana river to paddle turned into what he said later “seemed like a national kayak and canoe convention” a few weekends later, turning the pleasant little trip into a madhouse. And not all the visitors were responsible. Later, it took a group cleanup effort to restore the stream to its pristine state once the rush was over.
Big fish, too
The same thing has happened with big fish, especially freshwater and inshore catches where an area could become overwhelmed if too many people saw it and tried to go to the same place the next Saturday.
Recently a lake got hot as a firecracker, producing 10 pound bass at an unbelievable rate. After about four of them hit Facebook, the parking lot filled up and the comments on Facebook went wild almost every time somebody posted another double digit.
“You are ruining the lake telling everybody”….“This lake should have been kept a secret”…“There are too many people fishing”…. Wait. What? What most comments like that boil down to is somebody’s not catching fish and they need an excuse. And if there are too many people fishing, maybe the one posting should stay home and start the trend? And if it would have been a secret, how would the complainer have known to go there?
Things can turn ugly in a hurry. Not LSU-Alabama ugly, but it has gotten as out of control as giving the Congress the keys to the Bureau of Engraving and letting them have a 24/7 money printing party.
Here’s one of the most fun, and sad, examples. Some well-known fishermen post pictures, but not before going to their phone edit bar and fuzzing out the background so people can’t tell what part of the lake they are on. The reasoning is simple. If they post themselves with some big crappie or bass and the easily recognizable state park pier is in the background, it’ll be like the kayak story. A dozen boats will beat them to the spot the next morning.
And it is funny-sad, too, when people post outlandish things as a joke and they have to come back in the comments and explain to people, “No, this isn’t true. It’s just a joke. I’m not stupid. You are.” Yikes.
One of the Louisiana’s top crappie fishermen did that a year or so ago trying to add a little cheer to somewhat somber days towards the end of the pandemic. He posted photoshopped photos of himself holding big crappie from a Gulf oil platform and in the harbor in front of the Statue of Liberty to name a few. Most caught on quickly, but a few are still wondering how he did that.
Now, the pop-up “we are watching you” commercialization of it all is ruining it. If you innocently Google “Fish Bait,” suddenly your feeds are clogged with advertisements for fish baits and requests to join fish bait clubs all around the universe. A week later you’ll get stuff in the snail mail about it.
Use sound judgment when you post and when you read. I’ve checked, if somebody posts something you don’t like, there’s nowhere in the Social Media Community Standards agreement that says you have to read it.
Okay, let’s go back and call on a real old Abe story to wrap this up. There is one true fish story we can share about President Lincoln. Publisher’s Weekly once printed that story, before “fake news” was so bad and the interweb was up and running.
President Lincoln was asked what he remembered about the War of 1812 and he answered that he recalled as a boy having fished all day, catching a small fish and then giving it away to a hungry soldier returning home from the war.
Now, that’s the kind of fish story that’s pleasant to read. Even though his small fish obviously wouldn’t be worthy of a Facebook post.
The post “Big deer, big fish, Abe Lincoln… if it’s on Facebook, then it must be true” first appeared on LouisianaSportsman.com.