Risking it all for likes

18.02.2021 | Written by Mr Andy

Last week the BBC reported the death of rising Youtube star, Timothy Wilkes, who was shot dead in a Nashville carpark while making a Youtube video. He was 20 years old.  

The number of people killed or seriously injured in search of ‘likes’ has risen dramatically over the last few years. The BBC recently reported that up until 2018, 259 had been killed in the process of taking a photo which was intended for their social media, with dramatically more injured attempting to create content that they hope will go viral. But how much is too much?  

Famed selfie railway bridge in Sri Lanka.

A decade ago, Urban Free Climbers hit the headlines across Europe as they scaled stomach-churning heights across Europe; most only looking for that perfect selfie to add to their Insta account or to film themselves balanced on a precarious edge as a YouTube upload. Some of these feats were genuinely amazing and terrifying, not to mention illegal and highly reckless. Many claimed to emulate the famous French Spiderman, Alain Robert, who has climbed many of the world tallest buildings. The main difference is, Alain did his climbs with a team of experts, safety equipment, emergency teams, and full risk assessments beforehand. He climbs were professionally done and prepared. 

Alain Robert 

And as we look for inspiration for our next selfie/vid clip, is everything what it seems? Not always. Influencers and those with a bit more Social media experience may tell you that there is a certain amount of image trickery used by those at the top of this particular game, and those not dumb enough to risk it all for a few likes.  

Our favourite example (and apparently a favourite of those who queue for an hour to get this shot) is Pedro do Telegrafo in Brazil. Fiction vs Reality is just a selfie away.  

The fiction.

The reality. 

  In writing this article we did some quick research to find out what is trending in the world of Youtube, Instagram etc and came across 4 distinct categories of media. 

  • Beautiful people, in beautiful places being Romantic/living the dream. 
  • Crazy, look-at-how-insane-I-am, guys (mainly guys) in comedy situations/pranks. A kind of Borat with acne. 
  • The adventurer. Whether they’re climbing Everest or exploring the coffee shops of Chicago, they’ll provide us with tales of wonder and amazement as they battle glaciers and frappuccino’s around the world.  
  • The Life Hacker. Getting our lives together for us one organic smoothie at a time. They will Yoga pose us back to brilliance if we just like and subscribe to their channel and buy some merch only available through Patreon.  

These categories look pretty similar to how Netflix divides up their Movies and TV series: Romantic dramas, Comedies, Documentary’s, Wellbeing and so on. The link may well be that just like Hollywood, Social Media is simply an entertainment industry but with a cast of millions of individual actors, producers and directors. It’s not fake…it’s just not real. 

And definitely not worth the risk of getting shot for.