Hey all, I've been doing 'urbex' as long as I can remember, purely as an inquisitive thing. I do it purely for my own experience. Over the years I've seen the rise of 'insta urbexers' and with the social media bit thrown into the mix I've watched the rapid decay of any good sites. As soon as new sites are opened up they are trashed almost instantly. Guess I'm just old but boy I miss the old times where you only shared photos or locations with friends who actually visited the sites. I know things change and the artistic side is often spectacular (given the fact most sites don't actually look half as good as the photography) haha but the experience of going to me is way more important then the art. This is just a rant and won't change anything, just wondering how many others do it just for the curiosity? I rarely take photos. But have so many vivid memories
never die wondering
Gone are the days of tradition and style, when people would elaborate upon long winded beautiful writings associated with their photographs, only to replace it with nothing but a myriad of something along the lines of #urbex. I went on a little journey myself in mid-2018 when I deleted Facebook; I never had a Twitter and my Instagram was just a bland soulless extension of my Facebook so it was easy to remove that, too. I had no online outlets to research urban exploration beyond forums and blogs of yesteryear; it was like going back in time to the days when the internet was actually interesting and fun, and you could get away with being anonymous with silly usernames instead of locking your credentials, email, phone number, into THE SYSTEM THAT WATCHES YOU. I found it impossible, and ended up making a low key IG so I could contact people overseas and its worked to my benefit, but I’m tirelessly met with “better get over here soon because everyone is posting Ukraine Metro publicly and it’s getting harder to do” etc etc The secrecy of location sharing just seems to be so very lost on some people. Keep in mind I've been to lots of abandonments where there were no records of it online but they carried on to getting totally trashed, nothing beats good old fashioned word of mouth.
My point here is, theres obviously a lot of cringe that has happened in the UE social media trends with things getter harder to do and places getting trashed and people doing dumb s***, but like myself who had no social media at one time, I realised if I wanted to go overseas and communicate with local explorers about locations (eg. some places have land mines and you probably need local guides for stuff like that) I had no choice but to get back onto social media. Social media is a fire you can shape and control to the best of your ability but you have to be so careful or else it can quite literally suck out your soul. I only have an instagram specifically for the purpose of exploring, I don't need and certainly don't want a social media account telling everyone where I am, what I do for work, who my friends and family are and what I eat. That is all complete and utter bullshit.
Social media physically and chemically alters dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain (look it up if you don't believe me) It fucks your brain up and makes you depressed, chaining yourself to the machine. People seem totally fine with this. Now it seems like lots of people come into exploring for a short lived trend because they've seen it on IG and want to taste test, but realise its so so so much more commitment than pretty pictures online; so subsequently there are a lot of fizzlers - people who aren't really that in love with exploring. This is nothing new, its just now there are more of them. I've noticed majority of people deeply passionate about exploring tend to fade into obscurity and secrecy than continuing the desire for any kind of recognition on a large scale, and those that continue doing that destroy themselves. A Brisbane explorer advised me when I was very new to the activity; respect outweights fame.
This does not just apply to urban exploration. When I lived in the Blue Mountains social media accounts were all the blame for more foot traffic in secret bush walking spots and canyons, where you’d see litter continue to grow, and even some sites were graffed over ffs. Secret caves and swimming holes started to become not so secret anymore, with trampled walking tracks making it easy to get to. You would expect to see something awesome and lesser known, but when you got there were met with “shame there is a big Tubby1 tag on that rock face”
Social media is a really great tool for information sharing, but typically people let it use them instead of the use it. Here is an interesting video from the dude who invented virtual reality (Jaron Lanier), he even wrote a good book on 10 reasons why you should delete social media.