I am not fond of social media. I froze my Facebook account for 5 years and only reactivated it because it was necessary for my pole career. I was late to the Instagram wave and I still have never had a Snapchat account. Although I had an IG account, I was pole dancing for over a year before I posted my first pole-related video. It was not until I started teaching pole regularly that I realized the power and importance of social media in the pole and aerial community.
For most of our pole heroes, social media has allowed them to be celebrities of their craft. For individuals pole dancing full time, more than likely, social media afforded them the exposure necessary to build a career doing what they love. Not only is social media providing wonderful exposure for very talented athletes and artists but social media has also played a large role in helping studios grow and flourish. Typically if the instructors are popular on social media platforms, it translates to increased membership and class attendance in aerial studios. This leads me to the question "when should we tag our sources in our social media posts"?
I don't have to tell you that the pole community is growing exponentially. There are so many resources for us teachers and aerial enthusiasts. In an art that is becoming more and more saturated, do we have a responsibility to tag our sources? Is it a mere courtesy? After all, for a full time aerialist, the popularity of their material is directly rated to their livelihoods. Social media is no longer just a convenient way for us to share our pole creativity and progress but it has become an extremely valuable marketing platform.
Often, when I take class the instructor's material for the day has been inspired by an IG post. If I master the move in class and decide to post it, is it my responsibility to tag the artist I first saw show the move? I personally have never tagged one of my pole heroes. In part, I wonder if they get annoyed being bombarded with mentions and tags on social media. I also wonder if they ever get tired of seeing people "stealing" their shit. However, I always feel a responsibility to tag the pole instructor that taught me a move - probably because in knowing the instructor personally, I feel like I should give them credit for showing me the move. I also know that as an instructor I LOVE when people tag me in things I have taught them. It is such a confidence boost to know that my students are reaching their goals with the help of my instruction. If it is a move I believe I "created," I also enjoy receiving "credit" for it. As a result, I try to do the same for all the instructors I have the pleasure of learning from.
I have noticed that many of our pole celebrities are consistently tagging each other. I figure they probably love tagging each other. So many of them are in a league of their own; it has to be a show of respect and admiration when these tremendous athletes recognize each other for their creativity and athleticism. However, I also think that when you are a pole athlete with 30K followers, winning international competitions, and touring the world teaching workshops, you probably have a higher responsibility to tag your source. So much of the reason our pole heroes are seen as heroes is because they are innovators! We admire their style and individuality. Arguably, it is more important for a pole celebrity to tag his or her sources because viewers are more likely to assume that they are the originators of a unique trick or transition.
I find I am also constantly asking myself "to tag or not to tag" when I am working or training with different local studios. I recently started training in a studio that is unaffiliated with the studios I work for. Some would even suggest it is a "competing" studio. I found myself concerned about posting things or tagging teachers because of the appearance of disloyalty. I was also not sure if it was a conflict of interest. By posting what I learn in an unaffiliated studio am I taking business away from my employers by inadvertenly promoting the business?
What do y'all think? When should we tag and not tag? Do you even think twice before you post something about whether or not tagging is necessary?