Why I started East Coast Climbers
My personal Instagram account has 107 followers, which is 7 more followers than last year. The world of Instagram was still foreign to me when I started ECC less than a year ago. I literally had no idea what a hashtag was. I assumed it was just a silly, purposeless thing people did because instagram and twitter told us to, so most photos went hashtag-less, and I averaged about 2 likes per picture. My page was a pitiful, sad, scrapbook of poorly-taken selfies but I really enjoyed having a place to show off the pictures I took all the time. At the time, we were preparing for Nationals in March and amping up our training in the gym. Because Instagram was so popular and widely used, I wondered, what if I showed off the awesome stuff our team was doing, wouldn’t that be cool? And voilà, @eastcoastclimbers was created!
Why the name, East Coast Climbers? Well, I was curious to see if the name had been taken given all the “East Coast” anything that had been popping up lately. When it was available, I snatched it up without hesitation. In hindsight, our name sounds like we represent the entire East Coast, when we clearly do not. Regardless, I really do like the name. And, alternatively, we have been the only people (currently living in Atlantic Canada) at Nationals the past few years so the name does seem at least partly fitting.
My main motivation for the page was to promote competitive climbing within our community and the East Coast. I tell a lot of people about what we’re doing for training and how competitions work, but pictures and videos just work so much better. Our gym may not be as big as those in Central/Western Canada, but we do our best in the space we have. Once I eventually realized that hashtags were imperative to having the public see your posts, I began attaching some to my pictures and the ‘likes’ began to grow. My first post ever was of Sebastian doing some one arm pullups, which received 30 likes. Comparatively, my latest post of Shawn climbing on one of our steepest walls currently has 196 likes. Clearly, our followers have grown over time and this data shows that people are actually looking at our stuff. Yay!
I would be lying if I said that acquiring a sponsorship was not at least a tiny factor in ECC’s creation. But competitions are expensive and require a lot of travel so I feel like this is somewhat justified. The main purpose of the page was, like I said, to show what our team is doing in terms of training and progress, proving that the East Coast does have what it takes. If a company comes a long and likes what we’re doing, that would be the bees knees. Or, if one of us would eventually like to apply for a sponsorship, our page is an easy thing to reference in an application. We all either have jobs already, or are in school willing to find work when we graduate. Any financial gain from the page would be wicked, but our life doesn’t depend on it.
There’s no telling the impact my page has made unfortunately, because whether or not someone leaves a comment is entirely up to them. Thus far, we have had nothing but positive comments and questions, though unfortunately none have referenced the fact that we’re from the East Coast. In my daily routine of perusing the Instagram home page, I have come across many familiar faces from Nationals past or other CEC or Tour de Bloc competitions and enjoy looking at what these athletes are up to. My only hope is that they have done the same.
At times, I do feel silly feeling excited over 800 followers, or having a video reach 200 likes because these things have zero value in the real world. However, I really enjoy posting pictures and videos of our team and having so many people like and support what we’re doing. Perhaps in the future I will broaden the direction of ECC to include all East Coast climbers from Atlantic Canada. This would be a nice project, but given that I’m not a photographer, I might have to share the reigns with a few volunteers. Until then, ECC’s focus will remain the same. And considering I don’t plan to make a career out of this, I think I’m doing it for the right reasons.
Check us out sometime! If you don’t have an instagram account, you can click on our instagram link to the right of this post, or simply go to www.instagram.com and search for @eastcoastclimbers. Thanks for reading!
Climb on xx