By Christopher Cudworth
It happens so suddenly. One minute you’re harmlessly running or riding your way through the social media landscape, posting to Strava and enjoying a few kudos from friends and followers in return.
Next thing you know, you’ve been pushed off the main road of the Internet highway into an environment you can hardly begin to negotiate. The road is wide but ridden with tarsnakes. You careen from slick to rough road with every new step or pedal stroke. It feels like an amusement park and house of horrors all at one. A joyful and terrifying journey, this is.
You are running and riding freestyle through the Social Media Landscape.
You don’t know how you got here. You innocently shared a workout on Strava and somehow it showed up on Pinterest. You think, Strava on Pinterest? How the heck?
Well, running and riding on the the Internet highway can be a confusing place at times. All it takes is an inspired share from someone’s Twitter feed to a Pinterest page and suddenly your innocent little workout is being assessed not only for its telling stats but also its post-Modern commentary on the nature of narcissistic activity. But let’s also not forget its artistic value. The Internet is so confusing you see. It’s easy to get lost in a hurry.
That Strava map of your 26.5 mile ride just happens to look like an outline of a praying Virgin Mary? It just went viral. Now you’re running and riding just to keep up with the digital life of your happenstance Virgin Mary.
People across the Social Media Landscape want to know if you planned the whole route?.Zillions suddenly find you on Facebook. The religious try to recruit you while the irreligious seek to revile you.
Sharing a Virgin
The Post gets 50,000 Shares, 4326 comments and floats back over to Instagram, where your Virgin Mary ride becomes the sensation of thousands of photo-obsessed smartphone users aching interesting content to make themselves look aware in this digital age. “Look at this!” someone posts. “Somebody rode the Virgin Mary and put her away wet!” The Internet. So classy.
Then your Virgin Mary ride map slides over to Reddit, where a band of vicious little trolls take exception to the entire idea of your Virgin Mary ride having any significance or resemblance to the Holy Mother at all. They start using the word “mother” in a far less
complimentary way, and it is all aimed directly at you. So you do everything you can to run like hell away from the hecklers but they follow you like a band of cannibals, gnawing at your Gravatar with vicious green teeth. You discover the Redditland can be a very cruel place and determine take a detour next time you run or ride through the Social Media Landscape.
Escape from Redditland
But you get out of Redditland before you are consumed alive. But without even trying you became the target of thousands of haters issuing down votes on the content you never really wanted to Share on Reddit anyway. Because that’s how the Internet works. It mimics the process of evolution in crucial and verifiable ways. Red in tooth and claw.
So you’re actually somewhat relieved when some techno-geek with a GPS fixation and the equipment to prove it decides to analyze your ride and the actual odds of it forming the shape of the Virgin Mary. He posts his analysis to that business social media site known as LinkedIn. That unleashes your Virgin Mary ride around the world to India because that’s eventually where everything on LinkedIn seems to wind up. Suddenly you get 1,376 Connection requests that simply say: अरे तुम मेरे साथ कनेक्ट होगा?
Before you can turn around and come back home from the dry deserts of LinkedIN land your Virgin Mary Strava Ride has taken you tumbling through Tumblr and stumbling through StumbleUpon.
Then someone takes your Strava Ride and creates a YouTube video using Google Streetview and suddenly your day feels like a Social Media Century or Major Messaging Marathon as you struggle to keep pace with the Post That Would Not Die.
You’ve got 4,000 new followers on Strava now and news media in Australia and the Vatican Press have reached out to you through Twitter. All because you did a mid-tempo ride on a new route because you were bored with doing the same route every week.
But the Internet loves happenstance reality. Now you’re a Social Media Hero for the amazing journey your Virgin Mary Strava Ride has taken through the Social Media Landscape. You wonder what you can do for an encore. So you begin to plot your next great adventure. Because that’s what we do. Those of us who run and ride.