Social Media by Leah

Response 4: Bouldering
October 14, 2009, 3:37 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

After months of nagging, my boyfriend finally convinced me to try his favorite activity: Bouldering.

bouldering photospaceballbouldering

(Note: This is not me, but just picture my body on the wall and you get the gist)

He works at Earth Treks, and was able to get me in for free, so I figured I would go along just to shut him up.

Well. . . it’s four months later, and I now consider myself a climber. I started out not being able to get up the wall, and have now completed multiple V2s. Check out this video to see what indoor bouldering looks like.

So, where are all the climbers hanging out online? And what exactly are they doing?

I once again turned to my boyfriend for advice. He stated that all the climbers go here.

They go there to post their most recent ascents (when you finish a problem), read information about the best outdoor climbing areas, get advice on gear, and look at photos. There is also competition information.

There’s also Modump, which includes more basic features such as photos, videos, news and articles. If there’s one thing I’ve found, it’s that climbers absolutely love to look at photos of other climbers on a wall, indoor or out.

This was obvious after searching different terms on Flickr. There are both bouldering and climbing groups, which contain photos of people climbing both indoors and outdoors.

After pondering why this could be, I realized that bouldering is a social sport. It is common to see people talking to each other, offering tips and helping out in between climbs. Because bouldering requires much more strength than top-rope climbing, it offers people a chance to rest and interact with each other. Therefore, it makes sense that people are interested in taking a look at other people’s photos. It helps us to examine different techniques and allows us to interact with others by commenting on different pictures.

I continued my search by looking for bouldering blogs and came upon quite a few: The Chalk Bag, The prAna Blog, and Greg and Jeremiah’s Climbing Blog, among others. All provide photos, route descriptions and stories from various days climbing. Some also offer advice for beginners and even experts.

So, after wandering around the Internet, I found some places that climbers are hanging out. To be honest, I did expect more sites, but perhaps since bouldering is not exactly a sport that goes hand-in-hand with the Internet, it takes deeper digging to find the good sites.

I have found some good resources, especially some interesting sites for beginners. Bouldering can be linked to some of the general themes in Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail. Anderson’s general thesis is that the tail is comprised of a large number products that are sold a smaller amount than popular products, however, the tail still makes up a large number. The niches are an important market to tap and the Internet and social media help to bring the tail to the forefront. Bouldering is a small niche hobby that would be placed at the end of the tail and the Internet has helped to bring it to climbers around the world and people who may have never tried the sport.

One main point Anderson makes in the beginning of the novel is “the tyranny of locality.” He shares his thoughts about retailers needing to find local audiences and how the Internet has helped to bring audiences together and provide niches to people. This is similar to the bouldering sites I found. They enable climbers from all over the world to share tips, sites, and gear advice to each other.


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