Opinion - Tag, You're It!

Jun 18, 2015
by Mike Levy  
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Wikipedia says that the @ was around in the 1500s, and that it first appeared on English typewriters in the late 1800s, while the # symbol (also known as the pound or number sign) was being used in the nineteenth century, all of which makes how we use them today seem pretty damn comical. The @ and # signs have taken on a whole different meaning over the last few years, both having gone from being legitimate symbols in the pre-internet age to now being employed as shortcuts and marketing tools on social media platforms, including here on Pinkbike. I don't take issue with that, and I'm not even going to gripe about the inane hashtags that people come up with (me included), but there's always those out there who take things a step or three too far.

Not to go all Sir David Attenborough on you, but I've broken the offenders into three distinct groups that each use the @ and # keys in different and equally irritable ways.

The Sponsored Pro

Their typical Facebook or Instagram post is something along the lines of "My @XXXXX tires really found traction today, and my @XXXXX bike felt SO FAST. So happy with my race and CAN'T WAIT for the next round!!!!!" Add or subtract exclamation points and capitalization as you see fit. Sure, it's not as nauseating as the typical Supercross podium speech where they seem to thank everyone from their goggle sponsor to their cousin's neighbor's mailman for helping them get third in a last chance qualifier race, but it's often not too far off. Firstly, who out there actually believes that so and so won because of his or her bike? If you do, I've got news for you: the rider won because they trained their ass off, has a bucket loads of talent, and posses enough drive to make a worker bee look like a lazy SOB.

Yes, a rider's sponsors can provide the necessary time, equipment and money that's required, and there's nothing wrong with thanking them for that, but so many professionals take about three giant leaps over the line that divides tactful and tasteless when it comes to social media.

NEWS FLASH: we know who you're sponsored by because we can clearly see the logos in the other twelve thousand photos you've put up, so I'd suggest ditching the tags and giving the fan some insight into the race, your training or anything else that doesn't involve who gave you free stuff. People want an insight into your life and to see photos of you doing whatever it is that you do, so give them that instead of a list of who signs your paychecks.
n a

Many high-profile sports actually have a certain number of "call outs" written into an athletes contract that guarantee a specific number of mentions on the podium or in social medial realms, and mountain biking is no different. It isn't widely discussed, but don't be surprised if your favourite racer or rider has promised to not just be active on social media, but to actually tag certain sponsors. Yes, I get that companies see the value in that, but tagging fifteen of their sponsors in a post looks like shit, makes it hard to take the rider serious, and hopefully isn't convincing anyone to buy anything.

The Imprudent Industry Person

This one is a bit tricky because there is some legitimate thinking here, but I feel like it's one that some people cross a little too often. Yes, there's very good reasons for media outlets to tag companies in their posts (we do it all the time), but it's one thing for a media outlet or author to share links promoting a piece of content on their website or in their magazine, but I always feel a little uncomfortable when I see my peers tagging companies on their personal social media pages. Here's an example: last year, a company requested that I use a very specific hashtag when talking about their new bike on social media, which definitely crossed that aforementioned line, at least in my mind. More than a few of my counterparts didn't see any issue, though, and made numerous posts on their personal Facebook feeds using the exact hashtag that was specified, all without seeing that they were effectively doing marketing work for said company.

Look, I'm not trying to sound like my horse's legs are the longest around, and I'm well aware that my peers have taken issue with things I've done in the past, but this one is just so blatantly strange to me. Hello, you don't work in their marketing department, do you? Share photos of relevant things, ie new products or whatever, and obviously tag as you see fit, but why you'd actively market their product is lost on me. It isn't just tech editors who are guilty of this, though, and it's something that some of the staff here at Pinkbike have also done in the past - everyone has been guilty of this at one point or another - but we should all make an effort to leave the marketing to the marketing people.

I've been asked multiple times why I no longer tag companies when making posts on my personal social media pages (full disclosure: I certainly have in the past) and it's because it isn't my job to do their marketing, and unless you are working in the marketing department of the company that's responsible for whatever product you're posting, I believe that you should think the same.

The Average Rider and Amateur Racer

While Joe Blow might not be thanking their sugary drink sponsor for helping them stand on the podium, they can be just as indiscreet when it comes to trying to perform digital fellatio on companies through their social media pages. Maybe it's wanting to feel like we're part of the club, or possibly because we like to show everyone whatever it is we've just worked our asses off to afford, but there's certainly no shortage of regular people tagging companies despite those very same people having bought their goods at or near full tick. Now, it's none of my business what anyone does, but doesn't it seem weird to pay for an item and then go about and do marketing for them? That trend speaks volumes about not just cyclists, but us as humans, and it's one that people much smarter than myself have written books about. You could compare it to paying more for an item of clothing that has a popular or desired logo on it, which is something that we've all done, even if we don't actually care about the damn logo, but I think it's a little different.

There's something about tagging a company and praising them or their product with a bunch of silly hashtags that just seems wrong. Sure, you may be happy with whatever it is that you've bought or the service that you paid for, but using your Facebook or Instagram page as a realtime megaphone to spread the word isn't actually doing anything besides helping said company with their guerrilla marketing campaign. The worst part, though, is that so many of us (including me) do exactly that without actually knowing it - we're actively marketing these products without being aware of what we're doing.

Social media is a pretty neat thing that allows us to share our lives and to be exposed to all sorts of interesting stuff. It lets us stay in touch with friends, creep on people we like (or dislike), and it makes the world smaller, for better or worse. It's also just one more place where we can be inundated with slogans and advertising, which is something that, as much as I'm bitching and moaning about it, I realize won't ever change. We don't all have to take an active role in that, though, even if most of us could be slotted into one of the three categories I talked about at one point or another. There's absolutely nothing wrong with sharing your thoughts when you're happy or unsatisfied with a product or service, and doing so can make us feel important and like we're part of something. That said, we should be asking ourselves what we're accomplishing by tagging companies like we so often do, and if that's something that we actually want to be a part of.

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  • 76 2
 i once tagged marzocchi, now i have a few random south american instagram followers. winner Wink
  • 45 0
 for me it was the #iamspecialized hashtag that did that.. Pretty much all of Peru knows my name now.
  • 37 1
 That is pretty much the ultimate panty dropping opening line. "Hi, I'm Nickkk, Pretty much all of Peru knows my name, I am kind of a big deal."
  • 25 0
 *books flights*
  • 46 4
 AMEN.........THANK THE LORD........ just kidding I have been of this thought my whole life.....I black out all stickers, symbols, etchings or what ever on all my cars, bikes, motos, trucks, skateboards......etc......I refuse to pimp a company logo when they have done nothing for me, my community, sport, enviroment........I will however support my local scene, LBS, Trailnetwork, race track, etc if they are doing an honorable job, service, sacrafice,etc... people who become coperate hoes are looking to ride the popular train and well I graduated High School long ago and my need for attention and to be in a clique with the cool kids is of no interest to me.......burn your sticker kits and buy some spray paint and hot rod that shit out!!!!!!
  • 4 1
 Fml.....Born in Chile, Living in US.....riding Marzocchi..... I love their products, they meet my personal needs and preferences. Not for everyone but for me they work.
  • 4 2
 @EastCoastDHer lol just checking...you don't by any chance ride a Specialized? Wink
  • 5 0
 Actually I do, but with a white Bros fork. The 888 is on the Cortina.
  • 15 0
 @bird-man I get it, I dont particularly flaunt company logo'd products around since I am not getting paid for it. But to be all gung-ho about "get rid of stick packs, spray painting everything so that we dont support those greedy corporations" is a bit much, dont you think?
  • 10 0
 To each their own. We may not agree or understand but everyone has their own reasons and their own path. If one person finds happiness in those methods and nobody gets hurt then I say so be it. We're all at different points and we all have different journeys.
  • 4 4
 @prston DH.......Greedy corperations>>>>who said anything about that.......dude I know projections are human but dude maybe read my post again but with the perception of a sense of humour, then it will make sense and if not well then We know the camp your in and thats OK....." a bit much " so a 40 foot gap well thats a bit much dont you think said sam reynolds to Gully!
HAHAHAHA your right, sam, lets keep it at 39.
  • 2 1
 Sorta unrelated, but has anybody ridden a marz dj fork? have any opinions on them? The coil in my crappy stock fork is totally clapped out and not worth replacing.
  • 1 2
 I say do whatever tf you want with your stickers and such. Dont listen to people on the internet tell you what to do, pave your own path and shred it. #freewill @michelleobama
  • 1 1
 Bit what if you want to listen?
  • 1 0
 Well..there is not one comment on that Smile ..actually nobody knows him here.
  • 1 0
 i have a lot from Chile and Argentina... a few brazilians, and friends who ride in mexico haha
  • 52 3
 #youaregoingtohavesomehatersafterthis #notme #cheers #thankyouverymuch4Dinfo
  • 17 1
 #justkidding Beer
  • 8 2
  • 69 0
 Oneofthethingsthatsmostannoyingaboutthishashtagbusinessisthatits sodamnhardtounderstandwhatthefuckyourereadingwithoutany spaces.
  • 17 2
  • 4 2
 if you are stoked on something, tag it or whatever. If you do get a new bike you've worked hard for, be proud of it and stoked and # or @ whatever you want to say about it! The point of it is sharing your excitement and getting other people stoked too.

Does it actually matter in the bigger picture? if you have facebook, you use google AT ALL. you are being used for marketing. . Maybe then the companies can fire markerting staff and cut their overhead making bikes cheaper lol.
  • 30 1
 Well, maybe i'm the only one (?), but i think that if a product works flawlessly i'm happy to spread it to other people, since it does everything that has claimed and (to me) deserves to be bought.
  • 7 1
 defo not the only one... The third category is as much about being part of a 'tribe' of people who love your product, showing mutual respect for finding something that works brilliantly.

Marketing is NOT just for the marketing department, its about every action, interaction from every member of your staff and sponsored athletes, and to a large extent the actions and interactions of your customers too.

@mikelevy your role within PinkBike is as a marketer, not just a writing hack... (I should imagine the high profile revelations from a former female writer on PB have had an effect on the market-ability of this site)... as a product manufacturer I'm as interested in the writing from editors and imagery from the photographers, just as much as, if not more so than the metrics of the social media interactions. So I wouldn't discount your role as a marketer wether you like it or not Smile

agree that the # and @ thing does get out of control, and the forced nature of their use is irritating. There will always be companies that abuse it, and do it poorly, and there will be businesses that do it elegantly with significantly more success.
  • 8 1
 I agree. It's a small nuisance that I'm able to live with (After all, nobody died).
As a small business owner I appreciate the opportunity to get free, customer. supplied advertising. I grow non GMO veggies and free range, organically raised chickens. Our eggs aren't the cheapest but from what everyone seems to tell us it's worth it. I never imagined I'd be making a living selling eggs at $8 a dozen but here I am and alot of my success is due to being tagged on Facebook and InstaGram. Sometimes we might think people go "overboard" but I don't mind the support and help. Customers are the bread and butter of any business so seeing people so passionate about their purchases not only helps reaffirm that I'm doing well it also gives me that extra "drive" when I'm covered head to toe in chicken poop and dirt or when it's 5 degrees out and I'm hand carrying fresh water to the barn or after I've broke my back tilling a new field.
  • 5 0
 And even if I put all of the "marketin for a company" stuff aside, its a bloody good search tool.. Dont care #keeptaggin
  • 1 3
 Yes. You are in fact the problem. Stop with the lazy marketing!
  • 1 2
 EastCoastDHer - there is a difference between tagging a small business and a large company that is in everyone's face everytime they open a bike site anyways. You may as well start crowd funding action for Shimano or Marzocchi on kickstarter in case you want to support them as a result of being satisfied with their products Big Grin
  • 1 0
 You have a point. Marzocchi looks to be doing fine without my added support. I would rather support them through the shop that I go to, he's a small business. Smile
  • 20 1
 This reminds me of my favorite kind of a*shole. Sticker queers. Why do I have to stare at monster stickers all day? Did monster buy you that shitty 90's truck with the hockey puck body lift kit? No? Oh, so why are you advertising for them for free? Ohhh, I get it. You're a tool.
  • 15 1
 metal mulisha brah
  • 7 0
 Ever notice how they're always on blacked out trucks? I wonder how they find their trucks when they all go to the same meets. You can't tell your buds "It's the lifted black one". Oh the irony. Paint everything black to be different, go to a meet and lose your truck in the lot because they're....


  • 1 0
  • 20 2
 Sponsored riders are paid to promote the companies they are riding for. @comany name and #company slogan are another way for riders to promote the brands that they are representing. This direction is probably coming from a marketing manager or a team manager. This is not only happening mountain biking this is happening in all sports where sponsorship dollars are at play. In the current world of the internet someone who can promote themselves and the brands they work for is worth more than a podium finish.
  • 35 3
 No argument there, but all I'm saying is that there are surely better ways to promote your sponsors than to post twenty tags and a bunch of silly hashtags. What about some interaction between fans and the rider on social media? What about a 15 second video of them answering a question or doing anything?
  • 3 0
 I get the impression many sponsored athletes really dont want to be doing it, tagging on every post etc, but feel they have to or are indeed contracted to so, and we end up with mundane posts/scribblings that basically do nothing but kiss ass for the sponsor(s) (my tyres are really lovely!!) and throw a shit load of hash tags at it and then dust of their hands and .. done for another week - sometimes when i spot these its almost like they have been told off, like kids that aint done their homework, and then run to social media and just over do it to make a point
  • 11 0
 Mountainbike athletes have pretty horrific self-promotion skills, as much as i love seeing a thousand throwback photos on instagram in no way is that going to make me buy a single thing, it's people like Wyn & Eddie Masters that get er done right and get plenty of promo going for them, results are nothing if you cant talk to the camera and do more than just ride your bike down the hill and sign a few things. I'm sure sponsors are starting to catch on that podiums and results is only half of what they can get from their rider. Look at any other action sport they all get training in self-promotion and talking to camera, mainly sugar drink sponsored athletes. If their sponsors came up with cool ideas to get them promo I'm sure they would be keen, so in some ways it's the sponsors fault, from my perspective the rider just does what their told by the team and if they are only told to ride their bike and post a few stolen pictures on the gram machine then they shall do no more.
  • 1 2
 Just want to point out that it isn't just Bienvenido who does that on Instagram, I unfollowed Genon after he posted a pic of a bunch of bars and stems from a company that starts with s and ends with pank for example. They are good riders and nice guys I've meet Bienvenido its just sad that they do this
  • 7 1
 I love the term Digital Fellatio as much as I hate hashtags. I see them all the #time on Facebook. I don't know what they mean but they annoy the shit out of me!
  • 2 0
 I would have to agree with Mike Levy on this.
"What about a 15 second video of them answering a question or doing anything?"

I would like to know how pro riders like to setup their bike, and some nice pics or videos of their bike; especially action shots.
Hashtags and @ do nothing but take away from the actual content (pic or video).
Seeing the actual product in action does more advertising than hashstags.
  • 6 0
 The way I see it is, if a company gives you free stuff, why wouldn't you thank them?
  • 1 1
 But I don't think its good to be a materialist and only care about the stuff you get.
  • 3 1
 Duckcrisps, Because free stuff does not necessarily mean good stuff

Theres an important difference between people genuinely wanting to promote a brand/product because they think it's good, and people being paid to tell everyone a brand/product is good regardless of what they personally think.

The limit to how far you 'sell out' is a question of integrity. The pro's do need to make money some how, and companies will pay a lot of money if our favourite riders will just tell everyone their stuff is good because we respect those rider's opinions, so are more likely to purchase that stuff.
  • 5 1
 While I think it can get silly, this piece is a little over cooked. Hash tags present a way to search for photos, I tend to put #trek under photos of my bike and I'm no sponsored rider, I only aim to expose the photo to people looking at Trek's maybe they might come across mine? I enjoy Trek's product and don't mind the "free" marketing. It's all in fun, I don't take it very seriously. As far as sponsored riders go, I like when they put all of those hash tags and @'s in there, a lot of times it can refer me to accounts I didn't know existed, photo's I enjoy looking at. The hashtag can be used the way it was intended as a search function. and makes instagram an enjoyable experience. Is there plenty of narcissism and shameless self promotion ? Sure, of course, but you can find that most places on the web. I try to not let it get to me.
  • 4 1
 @dissentlabs #dissentlabs . Whoopity do, somebody gave you a free pair of $30 socks. Bike industry is just one big circle jerk.
  • 4 3
 And let me guess: the socks had a big ass logo on them?$!$? I love being a riding billboard.

Ever notice that classy people don't have logos all over them???

#hastagsaredumb #twitterisdumber #payingtobeawalkingbillboardiscool #monsterandrebullisdisgusting
  • 2 0
 I have to agree with @mikelevy that there has to be better ways to do this stuff. I'm a "brand ambasador" for a company, which I'm sure gives me a lot more latitude than someone with a full ride sponsorship, but instead of doing hashtags, or even if I do add hashtags, I only do a couple(they are useful if you're searching for pics of something, so I try to do useful tags, like the model name,) & I post the pic to the brand's page instead of mine, & I don't do it with enough frequency to seem like a brand shill. Heck, that way, people who are following the brand get the photo as well as people following me, what's not to like?
  • 1 1
 Instagram above all should be used as only a small piece of the equation. It's a fad, one that is already starting to wear thin with a lot of people. it can be used effectively as you say... who actually reads through an essay of hashtags.... A few, to the point, seems like a better idea.
  • 1 0
 I also feel people look up to people that are "sponsored" and it makes the athlete feel good that they can feel elite over other average Joes.
  • 1 0
 The person I know IRL that is a serial hashtagger, to excess, is that guy who seems to have no self confidence, & is trying to make people like him by impressing them with his credentials. Sadly, it is exactly that personality trait that makes people dislike him.
  • 1 0
 If its a podium photo, thanks all the sponsors and use as many hashtags as you feel appropriate or are contracted to use. Sponsors do help you get to next levels and should be recognized for their support.

If it's a photo of you riding/skiing/basejumping etc. then tag who you are repping in the photo. if its a shot of your comp location then maybe tag your financial or really big sponsors, but not the guys that gave you a few pairs of free socks.

If its your daily life then don't feel the need to tag anyone at all.

If you aren't sponsored then please refrain from tagging every brand in your photo, its confusing.

Not all posts need to be plastered with tags, but more often than not if its a big deal to the athlete then they are more than ok to get a little trigger happy with the # and @ because they want people to know who supports them. Personally I don't think it looks unprofessional, its also another way to let your sponsors know what you are up to on a daily basis rather than always sending them big long updates and emails with a bajillion photos. It is easier for them to connect with their athletes through social media.
  • 1 0
 I have to agree, the 20 something tags is ridiculous. I don't mind throwing the occasional tag for one or two companies or individuals but seeing an entire paragraphs worth of tags is a lot to take in. I'd rather see someone just post a picture of a product or item. I love the publicity but if there is already a picture with the companies name or product that should be enough. Seeing 20+ tags looks childish and reminds me of the SNL Jaaaahg-uarrr skit.
  • 1 2
 I don't do it, because i'm not a pro. The picture of my bike/me riding is plenty enough, without the 3 lines of hashtag crap that no one reads.

I don't even really understand the point of them, or what 'trending' is, or why they are important.

Even if I was a pro, I don't think I would be comfortable selling my soul to the devil in that respect. Years of hashtags of the 'greatest products eva'. switch sponsors at the end of the season, 'new sponsors, greats products eva moar!'

I much prefer the less obtrusive, in your face approach to marketing of the likes of the Masters Brothers. We all know who they are sponsored by anyway, without ramming it down everyone's throats, ALL THE TIME.

And whilst we're at it - energy drink sponsors? Really? Great, they bring some money into the sport - but the riders don't drink that sh*t, seriously? Your regular person with half a brain doesn't drink that sh*t, because we all know it's terrible for you - let alone an athlete who works damn hard to be the best at what they do.

Branded cans filled with water? Seriously lame. I'd rather see a beer sponsor in the sport than that crap.
  • 2 1
 True. Energy drinks are full of crap. It's better to eat right and buy fresh,, non GMO food and maybe buy some quality vitamins and minerals through a holistic doctor. I actually just got some good B12 (Methylcobalamin, not the usual cyanocobalamin). Great performance starts on the farm and then the kitchen.
  • 15 2
 "Digital fellatio" - you made my day Mike Big Grin
  • 6 0
 try the real thing and you'll redefine the term 'made my day'
  • 2 1
 Don't get me started...
  • 1 0
 Waki - you beat me to it... Also enjoyed the Sir David Attenborough mention.
  • 9 0
 I wish I could live a life that could put an end to my digital diarrhea...
  • 3 0
 I'm off for a bit of digital fingering
  • 11 0
 I still don't understand how the hashtag works.

The meaning to me is this. Gwin came #1 with no chain!

I'll always be confuse...
  • 2 0
 Its kinda like strava. you put this little symbol in fornt of your thoughts or pics in a hope that ppl will notice how important you or your photo is and in the process you become less important. Just one moar way we measure our member to see who's is longest when it prolly doesn't really matter
  • 5 0
 Yes, you are the confuse.
  • 1 0
 People use them to group thing together, moreso on twitter. If you want to see what everybody on twitter is saying about, say the race at FT. Bill, you could search twitter for #ftbillwc just as a guess. Facebook implemented it because they didn't want to fall behind twitter.

That's why when I tag photos, I generally do so in useful terms. say someone is looking for pics of stumpjumpers because they're interested in buying one. They could type #stumpjumper & find a bunch of photos. I've used it looking for things like that before.

The reason they use a hashmark, instead of just a button on the website, has to do with the fact that twitter was designed so that you could browse it over SMS, so everything had to work via text input.
  • 9 1
 I'm guilty of this, I confess. I'm just a regular rider. I've got into arguments with non biking friends who jabbed that '' i was trying to fool people I was some kind of pro" which of course is laughable because my bike is 9 years old.. I've simply found its a good way to find other fans of the sport who like the same shit as me and when a company you admire appreciates a pic of their product, its nice to get that acknowledgement. I don't know why or what it really says about me but its not harming anyone. #DatOpinion #GetToTheDamnPointMan
  • 4 12
flag unrooted (Jun 18, 2015 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 nick why are there three k's in your name? Maybe you should google KKK and hopefully you don't think it's cool.

  • 14 2
 @unrooted wow. ok. Firstly, I've had the screen name since joining Pinkbike in 2001. I'm 32 and I'm well aware of the KKK and who they are. You're clearly an absolute moron, so let me explain this to you: My name ends with a K. Both 'Nick' and 'Nickk' were taken. so... yup you've guessed it! Nickkk was chosen!!! You are 36 apparently, so if you want to make absurd assumptions about who or what you think my screen name is about then frankly it says more about you than it does about me. Grow up wiseguy.
  • 1 10
flag unrooted (Jun 18, 2015 at 9:00) (Below Threshold)

  • 6 0
 @unrooted ok I just laughed at that hash tag. but come on man, making a claim I have some association to an extreme far right organization, based on the username on a mountainbike website... you have to admit that is bonkers and ultimately inflamatory. You're old enough to know better. UNLESS, you were trolling me in which case, #yougotme
  • 2 3
 I just assumed that you didn't know any better, as a Brit it probably doesn't mean as much, but in the states 3 k's will always be associated with racism & bigotry.

I wasn't saying that you were trying to associate yourself with the KKK, I just figured you didn't realize that having 3 k's in your name would cause others to associate your screen name with the KKK.
  • 12 1
 @unrooted well, the moral here? DON'T assume anything. Its true that in the UK, the 'KKK' don't have a mainstream presence- that doesn't mean we might not be educated about such things. In the 14 years I've had this account you're only the second person to make some comment on it- and way you did it wasn't particularly smart either. I shouldn't have to say this but for the record, I have no sympathy or allegiance to the far right, you can be safe in that knowledge…however, i feel its worth pointing out that If i wanted to preach hate, choosing a Canadian-centric mountain bike website wouldn't be my first choice to radicalise vulnerable minds. No hard feelings, just be a little less presumptuous next time.
  • 4 0
 Dude, He's from UK, NOT MIDDLE EARTH! ...they have color TV in the UK now, btw. ...with cable.
  • 2 0
 I hear the riding in middle earth is sweet, like in that Not Bad movie. but with more hobbits.
  • 1 0
 That thread made my day... Pure Pinkbike gold
  • 1 0
 The funny thing is, I'm Scottish which pretty much IS Middle Earth. With cable tv.. Wink oh and its also the country's where a member of the public punched a burning suicide bomber to the ground as he attempted to blow up Glasgow International Airport. I'm not saying that's right but we dont take much shit when confronted with it... Wink
  • 1 0
 I prefer to be on terrorist summit than on the street afrer a match between Celtic and Rangers
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns ha! I'm not a football fan, but I'm sure many would agree with that...
  • 1 0
 Can we confirm nickkk, that you indeed aren't the grand poobar wizard of the united kingdom, becuase you know, obviously thats what your name implies Razz
  • 4 0
 @smuggly Sir, I can confirm my bed sheets have never been worn in a manner that could be considered racially aggravating. They HAVE however been worn in a 'spooky' manner much to the disappointment of my wife on several occasions.
  • 3 0
 Can we agree that football or rather soccer, is good for humans under 15 and after that it quickly transforms into commerce driven activity destroying human minds to greater degree than all Religions, The Sun and Fox News combined? Tool of Mordor!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns I would agree with this lol
  • 1 0
 Excellent! Can we then setup a combined terrorist attack in which we will blow up several stadiums on one evening? According to results of tests of several scenarios that I have performed at Institute of Studies for Rational Supremacy, this should solve the problem of unemployment and raise the average actual intelligence levels in societies by at least 20%. Rate of racism and other sorts of hate crime should drop exponentially. Same with marital violence. We would also notice a major decrease in beer and soda sales which can raise health and welfare of the whole society.

Football itself is not a problem, the spectators above 15 years of age are, as they no longer play the game.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns do I have to wear bed sheets for this? if I do, i'll have to check with my wife first..
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns your attack won't work in Scotland, they'll just banjo you: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smeaton_%28born_1976%29
  • 2 0
 @nickkk - all you need is a flag with Santa Cruz Syndicate logo and Not a trade team under it, Can be made of used bed sheets.
@groghunter - this will be a government backed action as soon as they read my research paper on ultimate solution solving so many social issues at once. Just like 9/11. We have all reasons to believe that KKK members are passionate soccer fans
  • 8 1
 I like to whine on things I bought, bash down temporarily most-praised products and provide fake support to a temporarily most online-bashed company which products I will highly probably never buy. Just to throw some people off the course for a moment #Santacruisetrikes #amIspecialized? #Pike cantdumb #carbonsucks
  • 7 0
 Makes me laugh how tons of pros use a billion tags and hashtags and then some guy unfamiliar with the industry who doesn't want to click on every single tag to figure it out, innocently asks "what brand of bike is that". They almost never get an answer.
Copy-pasting all the tags for your posts is like using an essay from your 10year older brother. It'll do the job, but don't expect miracles.
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 I'm gonna add #MikeLevy to all my Instagram photos now...
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 What's more annoying than hashtags are SRAM acronyms. #nobodycares
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 Spend Ridiculous Amounts Money
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 Spank Ruth's Ass, Michael.
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 Ok, so hashtags are lame and annoying in large numbers of them on useless posts on social media.

But if "we don't work for marketing departments and we should leave it to them" (to paraphrase) why are we all putting stickers on our cars and buying logo t-shirts (including pinkbike)?
  • 4 0
 Well, for example, yesterday I've put a new Maxxis Highroller 2 tyre and had a great ride, and it reminded me of the old times when my friends and I were kids and dreamed about bikes, parts, etc. and there were those Maxxis tyres with orange stripe and it was like a secret handshake - only "those who know" were riding them. So I wrote about these memories and used hashtags, as the words "maxxis" and "highroller" would be there anyway, and givin' zero f*cks about marketing. Because Schwalbe Nobby Nick was a complete disappointment to me, as well as Formula RX, and they will have there own hashtags if I write about them. As hashtags of places or brands you ride help you to find people with similar interests. Next time I press "explore" on Instagram it will likely show me other people in my area who ride Maxxis or Commencal or whatever and then I can find new rides, meet new people.
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 This, to me, is exactly the point of hashtags. It's not to kiss ass to some corporate sponsor that doesn't care about you, it's to categorize information by similar interests and similar content. I like looking at photos of Enduros so I put that hashtags in my own IG photos to add my own pictures to that folder.
  • 1 1
 Well I do swear by the above mentioned products and have had negative experiences the the above mentioned negatively regarded products, I see that if I were to exchange a lil bit of marketing/promotion for say learning which strangers in my area also like the same products that i do and also will play the free advertising game, I would at the end of the day come out behind. Further by blindly promoting, this puts a value on pure marketing to the above mentioned companies and lessens the value of product development and the arrival of new/better technology. So if you need to look around and see who buys the same marketing you do to feel slightly better about yourself then well this system is a perfect way to bolster this dog azz smelling game. I prefer to ride my bike, and talk bike products with my friends on and off the trails. I will try and say "hashtag" more in my conversations tho just to get with the times. My rant sounds negative and azzholish and I do not mean to be negative, it is hard for me to point out what (no matter how slight it is) is going on without sounding so critical. all apologies and love the ride - wait isnt that rocky mountain advertising. own your mind.
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 @Gasket-Jeff The featured post on your profile page is a picture of Rainier beer, and your profile picture is the logo for a seafood restaurant. You're right, you're totally immune to the marketing world.
  • 1 0
 Lolers Scott, the seafood restaurant doesn't exist anymore (I dont think) it is there in a reference to the term Joey ~ as in noob or squid. and i liked the rainer picture from a dakine article (also prominent promo for dakine) i like the pic because i love popin cans of beer after a ride. but you do have me thinkin i should pull that pic down... If I am an advertising shill it is by happenstance.
  • 1 0
 Nah i cant pull down the #rainer pic. that would be like when Courtney Love bought a brand new #lexus (I think it was lexus or some stupid luxury car) and brought it home. Kurt Cobain immediately made her return it, as it was not 'who they were'. Pic stands. delish squid #joeysonly life only gets better with #raindawgbeer
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 Don't forget one thing.
If you get support from a company, you have to tag it. It is a tool for the company to see what the supported rider is doing. How is the quality of his posts, how many stuff is he posting, can the company get along with his activities?
That is the reason why I HAVE to tag in social media. So you don't have to be a pro. But as long as you get support, it should be done.
If a was a total private rider, I can not see a reason why I should tag companys.
  • 3 0
 I'm not quite sure I get Mike's point here. Tagging companies is stepping over the line of good taste? That's a rather arbitrary line to draw, and pointing to a symptom rather than the disease itself- which is that most of us are kind of dumb.

I guess that Tweeter and other boring stuff like that is becoming a pretty effective way to figure out who is an idiot, industry shill, vacuous consumer, etc. Sort of like how anyone who is driving in a Hummer is probably a selfish dink. Promiscuous tagging adds to our heuristics routines, at least, but it's all pretty damn depressing. Like a pee test at the pool.

What's my point? I don't really have one either, except that the options are limited to ignoring indiscriminate taggers or lobbying for about 5 billion brain transplants.

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 It's ironic that a post crying foul against social media marketing will have a comments section that is mined for marketing insight. No matter what, if you contribute you'll somehow be used as a tool...tool.
  • 3 0
 I like the band Tool. They exposed a lot of kids to my prophet Bill Hicks
  • 1 0
 Lateralus was incredible.
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 Write an article about silly hashtags, comments are full of silly hashtags.....pinkbike logic.
Cant we just go back to puns like its a Hope review?
  • 2 0
 This reminds me of a scene in that Kevin Pearce movie The Crash Reel. Its when he is getting ready to snowboard for the first time a few years after him head injury and hes getting his gear ready and he has his agent on the phone going over the size and placement of every sponsor's sticker on his board and helmet. It was crazy how detailed the contracts were down minor details like a 3 inch sticker on the front of the helmet.
  • 2 0
 I do a lot of random promotion for Transition Bikes despite paying them money for bikes. Why? Because I want the company to sell a lot of bikes and keep building fun, killer stuff and being so supportive of our local community. When I see a company doing a good thing, I'm going to tell people about it. When I see their sponsored riders, the company owners, and employees being great dudes on the same trails that I'm riding, I'm going to promote that. I think it's more useful to say "hey, check out this positive thing and these fun people!" than to rant about negative things in our industry.
  • 3 0
 This article is very interesting but was lost on me as I don't use the Internet for any form of social media, apart from an occasional comment on Pinkbike, if that counts.
  • 1 0
 Thought provoking and interesting read. I can agree with some of the points, and also some of the comments.
I use lots of hashtags on my photos on Instagram to bring attention to them and put them across more screens, I do this in a separate comment as to not detract from the picture or caption. I will always tag the rider in these shots, and quite often their sponsors as it helps with exposure.
From the point of view of a very small company - the # and @ brings in views and followers and drives much needed exposure to my target market. It's not like we have the marketing budget of a sugary drink producer or large bicycle manufacturer, and without these # and @ we would be invisible on social media.
A shout out from a pro rider to a really small time company is massive and much appreciated.
  • 4 0
 #WAKIdesigns ~ The only hashtag that will ever matter. use it to know who will follow and moar importantly who will not.
  • 2 1
 If your not a paid pro or draw a salary for marketing or advertising and you hashtag you are veering off in to the relm of the poser and the wannabe. You can go on and on singing the praises of whatever with out the hashtag. I'm an unapologetic capitalist but I don't think that is the meaning or the spirit of the term "fee" enterprise.
  • 1 0
 Digital Fellatio! I learn something new today! No more Sesame Street but there's Pinkbike now!
Mike's "Laid out" legs wide open..
Thanks for making Pinkbike interesting Mike. Like your ballsy articles and RC's analytical takes.
  • 1 0
 I feel bad for my sponsored friends, because with sponsorship comes the expectation (and in many cases the express obligation) that you will make those companies a central part of who you are on the internet. That's a shitty way to treat your sponsored athletes, and it's an unethical way to market products because it relies on the audience not realizing that the praise is purchased.

Here's hoping this is a phase that passes.
  • 2 1
 This whole hashtag and @ thing is making our population utterly retarded. I get the marketing aspect and requirement for sponsorship, but really, I could careless about your hashtagbestpuppyever or hashtagIlikebikes....I hate it so much I won't even use the POUND sign!
  • 1 0
 Agree with you @mikelevy. Social media is, and in its short existence, always has been an advertising platform, it's just the people with accounts aren't advertising products, they're advertising themselves. So for this reason, I can understand pros using their social media accounts to give shout outs to sponsors, no doubt they have obligations to do so. I'm sure many of them dislike doing it, and the fastest way to fulfill their obligation is to put up an insta post with all sponsors on it, then share that on Twitter and Facebook. It might not look that good, but most pros didn't become pros because of their innovative social media skills.

As for anyone else that isn't sponsored, or work for the marketing team of these companies, I can't for the life of me figure out why they'd do marketing for free...
  • 1 0
 While I agree with it being over-done, hashtags work the opposite way as well. If I put in #Trek or #FoxRacing, my post will come up for everyone who searches for those tags. So it's not just giving the company exposure to my network, it is giving me exposure to the company's network. That is the real value to anyone (mountain bikers, artists, etc.) who are trying to get exposure.
  • 1 0
 So many people feel like they need to support their favourite brand like a sporting team. Praising every new product and feature that comes out despite having never tried it, and arguing for the brand that they chose is the best on internet forums. Shimano vs Sram, Fox vs Rockshox, Apple vs Samsung, I am never going to commit to one brand for life. Maybe it is a sign that all of the marketing and hash tags are working when people commit to brand based on emotion rather than rationally deciding which products suit them the best.
  • 1 1
 Does anyone ever actually search hashtags and wade through all the BS? I wonder what they actually accomplish? Who actually has the time to sit down and search that crap....there is just so much useless garbage out there...hashtags just serve to link all the garbage together....its like the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre.
I kinda feel like they just make Twitter/Instagram, etc 'feel' more relevant and useful than they actually are.
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 Great article! Interesting wording haha. Digital fellatio was a good one lol. But seriously, I agree with this, you could totally throw me in one of those categories.
  • 3 0
 #namaste #gratitude #blessed
  • 1 0
 Several friends have become sponsored and their personal & social lives and their business lives are melted into one awful glob of money making.
  • 1 0
 And I am sure they deserve every bit of it.
  • 3 0
 When's this social media fad going to finally be over...
  • 2 0
 thanks to my #underwearsponsor lmao
  • 3 2
 But why is it a bad thing to advertise for companies? Why is it bad to help companies with their marketing?
  • 5 0
 It's not literally a bad thing, so long as people realise what they are actually doing. Supporting a good product is all good, you're doing that by buying it anyway.

I think Mike's getting at people jumping on a branding bandwagon. Marketing people would like nothing more than a campaign to "go viral" like so many other things have in the last 10yrs. The hashtaggers are a free marketing tool in that sense.

And popular stuff is often not the best stuff anyway, for example: pop music and the most popular lagers.
  • 5 1
 Exactly. The op-ed reads in this sensationalist anti-marketing manner by attacking ‘marketing’ and yet utterly contradicts itself.

Fine, go ahead and attack disingenuous marketing campaigns, but don’t criticise the average joe if he’s calling out a product/company which has worked for him: he’s helping the company, because the company has provided a good service.

One wouldn’t have the same outrage if someone posted something which negatively called out a company for a poorly-performing product: that’s certainly not ‘wanting to be a part of the club.’
  • 5 1
 It isn't bad to support companies, you just make an idiot out of yourself if you bought a product and you do marketing for them in a way that you broadcast stuff all over the place, because it seems like you are trying to act like a sponsored rider which you aren't. If you often do things like: you go for a ride and post a behind bars picture then that is as interesting as a selfie in an elevator, and makes people meeeh bbleh, but if you go ahead and add several hashtags, then trust me, even your closest buddies think you are an idiot. If you are sponsored and you post super long bunches of hasthags, it puts into to the bin with everyone else, nobody gets interested in that anymore. Long line of hashtags is the best recipe for "unfollow" and even worse: the terrifying "unlike".

In my interpretation this article points out slightly that you may want to check if you are not acting like an idiot rather than attack on marketing. That's all.
  • 2 0
 Exactly, its like putting a Monster Energy drink sticker on your helmet.
  • 2 0
 I suppose we all agree that 1) calling out companies consistently for no obvious reason when you aren’t sponsored is idiotic and naïve, and 2) being sponsored and regularly putting out a long line of hashtags is stupid - maybe on the part of the company, maybe on the part of the rider.

Either way, I just decided that the new Scott 27.5+ bikes look nice, so I must be having a bad day.
  • 1 0
 @jamescmy - no you are not having a bad day. They look sweet. The only thing that can stop you from enjoying looking at a bike like that, wanting to try one is either genetically conditioned sense of taste (which is perfectly ok, we all like different things) or some sort of ideology. In case of the latter, eventual dismay creates lots of anxiety, instead of making you appear as a moral guide and role model for the whole of humanity, earning temporary sympathy of a small and pitiful group of people.
  • 2 0
 #shittickets #arefor #a*sholes #hashtagsareforattentionseakers
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 #fakeittilyoumakeit capisce?
  • 2 0
 Is @mikelevy the #donCherry of #mtb?
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 This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love #fignewtons
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 Who really cares? #justsaying
  • 1 0
 I remember these ones though... #LookslikeaSession #NorbsGotRobbed #LetAggyWin
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This is one of the best and most important pieces of sports journalism I've ever read. It's articles like this that make Pinkbike the leaders in what they do.

  • 1 0
 Love the YT dig, so when exactly are you doing the Capra review ?
  • 1 0
 #saintbrakes for the win!
  • 1 0
 No truer words have ever been spoken.
  • 1 0
 "digital fellatio"
  • 2 2
 #avidbrakes for the win!
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