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Video: Strava asks athletes to reject image-conscious social media via selfies

Make it clear to everyone that you don’t care what they think by using the appropriate hash tag…

Strava is encouraging its users to be ‘unfiltered’. It’s doing so with a video that mostly seems to feature stylish young athletes being cool. Even the guy emptying his nose at the end does it with a certain panache. Surely the unfiltered version saw the wind blowing what was expelled onto his shoulder.

The campaign encourages Strava users to reject the filtering that is such a feature of most social networks these days. Personally, I’d quite like there to be a way of filtering out my mates’ daily commutes and turbo trainer uploads, but I get what they’re driving at.

“Strava is asking its athletes to go against the grain (as athletes tend to do) by posting anti-filter photos, showing off awkward tan lines, flushed post-workout selfies, filthy hands, or just the unfettered joy of getting through a big day out. Strava is encouraging its community to forget about what people think, tag posts with #AthletesUnfiltered, and bring each other together with raw and ridiculous photos of the sports we love.”

The modern world being what it is, you can’t help but feel that this will only manifest itself as a kind of gritty, keeping-it-real competition of almost equal shallowness to the curated selfies of Instagram. It’s all a bit: ‘Show people just how much you don’t care what they think by broadcasting it to them via the designated hash tag.’

But (uncharacteristically) setting cynicism aside for a moment, the campaign is borne of solid sentiments.

Gareth Nettleton, VP of Marketing at Strava, said: "There are two key insights that drove the work, both inspired by what's wrong with the world lately. Firstly, we live in a terribly divisive time, and sport connects people across lines you might not expect. It is a positive, unifying force, and we want to shine a light on its power to bring people together.

“Secondly, Strava is a real, raw, very unfiltered social network. We believe that people all over the world are exhausted by the pressure to always present a perfect, curated self on other social networks. So we wanted to make it very clear that Strava is a place to put it all out there and be yourself. Unity and acceptance – that's what this campaign is about."

Tashia Palley, a London-based cyclist and Strava member who features in the film, said: “Strava is more real, more raw, in a way. So when you've done some exercise, people are just posting, no make up, sweaty selfies, of what you've done. And I think you feel such a buzz when you're doing your exercise; who cares if you've got no makeup or look a mess?”

Harx Kalsi, another London-based runner and Strava member, said: “I show off me, this is me. I have rubbish runs, I have great runs, like, this is what happens. This is who I am, and I am sharing that with you, whether you like it or not. I think it's also showing other runners and cyclists, that you should just be yourself, you don't need to be crazy, you don't need to be doing mad miles, or you don't need to be running this quick. Just have fun with it.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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