Cruising and Social Media
A short guide to sharing your story in the Digital World.
More and more cruisers, sailors and refitters are getting the hang of Social Media. This is great for those of us who spend more time behind a screen than actually sailing.
"I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and as the wind on the morning of April 24, 1895 was fair, at noon I weighed anchor, set sail, and filled away from Boston,”
Such are the words from Sailing Alone Around the World (1900), a sailing memoir by Joshua Slocum about his single-handed global circumnavigation aboard the sloop Spray. Many classic cruising books have been written, but today a rare few are actually writing books about their adventure.. They upload instead.
If you can`t sail, you can always surf
Nowadays, more people sail around the world than ever. Some say the worlds oceans have become smaller and more accessible. Buying and outfitting a yacht has become financially within reach for more people over the last few decennials.
Our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube feeds are now filled with updates almost round the clock. All and everything is here. From the enthusiastic and skilful Mads from the popular YouTube channel Sail Life installing his new fridge onboard his new Yacht “Athena” to the lovely couple Elayna and Riley from Sailing La Vagabonde.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from the retired CEO onboard the beautiful Hallberg- Rassy 62, “Yaghan” to another extraordinary Swede Sven Yrvind , who is underway building another new micro cruiser
How to leave your footprint in social media
First you need to consider several things.
- Do we have a clear strategy as to what story we want to share?
- Who is our audience?
- What channel and plattform is better for our story?
- Are we going to be personal or factual? Or both?
- How much should we share?
- Ask yourself: Could I have published this on the cover of New York Times?
- How will our audience find our content?
- Do we have any privacy concerns we should address before we start sharing?
- Are we prepared for comments and point of views on our story and ourselves?
- Do we consider ourselves good storytellers?
- Is our camera and equipment good enough?
- Do we have the hardware and software to edit so that it looks great?
- Do we know enough about copyrights and intellectual property?
- Are we aware of the difference between organic and paid distribution?
I`ll leave it to you to go through these questions. But the fundamental question is: Are we relevant?
Relevance vs popularity
Being popular is easy. Being relevant is hard. Much harder than one would think. So, in order to remain relevant over time, you need to be consistent. Consistent in your high level of storytelling, quality of production and choice of distribution.
Facebook and YouTube is probably the best choice for cruisers today
Without writing a very complicated analysis on the two social medias, we do not recommend to spend time and money on a website today. For instance, Scandinavian Mariner Magazine`s website is there to host content. And host content only. Distribution takes place elsewhere. Where our audience spends time and engages with our content is where we are going to be. This is our model.
On Facebook, videos will work better than images and images will work better than text alone. So in the hierarchy of attention in social media, video always win.
Make sure to upload your videos separately on each channel. As you go along, you`ll notice that Facebook and Google behaves differently. Their audiences also have different behaviours and that is something you need to take into account.
Learn how to use analytics
Google Analytics is a great tool from Google. Understanding data is crucial and will guide your effort towards making more relevant content for your audience.
Do not stabilise your videos on YouTube!
If you are prone to sea sickness wile at sea, consider it a favour to all your viewers to not turn on stabilisation when uploading to YouTube. Their algorithms do not work with the motion at sea. Rather spend some money on a better camera with a stabilising gimbal. Some of the products from DJIs OSMO series work great with capturing motion on a yacht.
The curse of music in sailing videos
We love music and acknowledge that music plays an important role in moving images. But, that techno track you put in over your 22 minutes atlantic crossing is not going to make the cut of a critical audience on YouTube. Let the natural world provide the soundtrack, along with comments and observations underway. Sure, add some music, but you are in the business of making a sailing video, not win a Music Video Award on MTV.
Learn from others
If you are serious in producing high quality content for an audience and perhaps have aspirations of creating a small revenue stream from your social media channel, consider taking a class. Moviemaking is an art and a science.
While there are thousands of ways to learn the craft, it is often smart to look outside of social media channels for inspiration and learning. The legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson said one should go to the Louvre to study the old masters in order to become a better photographer.
A consistent production of video content to feed your social media channels during a cruise is hard work. Make no mistake, filming, editing, uploading and moderating a weekly 20 minute video can suddenly turn into a 20 hour work week. That's a half full time job you most likely won't make anything from.
Only a tiny handful of the many hundreds of YouTube Cruisers are able to live moderately off income from content production alone.
Is the long form text dead in the digital age?
Not at all. There are few things we enjoy more than diving deep into a longer text. We still read books. In fact we are revisiting old classic cruising books frequently and plan on doing book reviews here on scandinavianmariner.com. Hopefully, there are some adventurers out there who is working on manuscripts instead of uploads.
There are few mariners who have the gift of writing, but there is one particular writer and sailor we enjoy reading. Webb Chiles `s writing will give you weeks of literary joy. Visit his blog.
Announce your final departure
Nothing is forever. Certainly not a Facebook Page or a YouTube Channel. Our advice is: if you know your cruise is coming to an end, or you are selling the yacht for a Motor Home, please write or say so. It is not fair for all the YouTube junkies and armchair sailors out there to be left hanging there without so much as a goodbye and fair winds.
Why keep a Logbook
Apart from being a great maritime tradition, keeping a logbook is essential. We do not know what will happen to Facebook, Google and the other sosial media in the future. But, that old logbook will last a long time and offer an insight to your cruising life a 100 years from now.
What appears in this article is only a scratch on the surface of the many oppertunities one has with todays digital media.
There is also something refreshing with those who sail offline and finds the whole idea of go cruising is to be out of reach. The worlds oceans has room for everyone, thankfully.
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