Project: GetYourAssIntoNatureGetYourAssIntoNature (external link)
GetYourAssIntoNature is an online community and retail business dedicated to the idea of courageous individuals who inspire everyone to love their bodies, make connections to nature and use social media in a unique and fresh way. I started GYAIN in early 2015 as a project to experiment and develop my skills in social media. It eventually turned into a business and a well-loved movement. I have since slowed down on the project for other professional pursuits but it’s something I love dearly and have learned a lot from. I shared thousands of stories from all over the world and met tons of awesome people along the way.
The Instagram page for GetYourAssIntoNature was the bread and butter of the whole project. I started the page as a bit of a dare to myself and it morphed into a beloved international community. I grew the page from 0 followers to over 120,000 without paid promotions through the use of organic hashtags, tags, shares and shout-outs from other prominent pages. I accepted submissions from community members as well as created a lot of my own content.
I experimented with using GYAIN as a source of income for me by selling merchandise on the website. I built out an online store using my existing WordPress platform, a WooCommerce integration and a Printful store. I sold stickers that I designed, printed and distributed on my own. T-Shirts were sold through the Printful store and they took care of the printing and shipping. It was a complicated system but certainly a fun process, and I made some money!
In 2017, I was given the opportunity to speak at TEDx Bozeman about my experience with starting and running GetYourAssIntoNature and what it meant to me. After a hail mary of an application and months of practice and revision, I floundered my way through an 8-minute talk and was able to tell my story on the TEDx stage.
Montana State students frolic in Yellowstone National Park at an event organized by Aidan Weltner, who started @getyourassintonature
The Instagram page has sparked a lot of conversation on social media for providing a major platform for people who want to get in touch with nature on a physical and spiritual level
He now encourages all those over the age of 18 to send their butts his way… to change the conversation around nudity.
He hoped to turn social media on its head. Instead of inspiring fear of missing out or jealousy by posting ‘as so many other accounts do,’ he wanted to bring awareness to our shared humanity, to ‘inspire a large group of normal, regular people to get outside and in the process, to love themselves a little more.’
The website was originally built in 2017 (v1.0) with the Divi theme in WordPress. It was set up as a WooCommerce store and a basic blog. As the community grew rapidly and submissions became difficult to manage through DM's, I rebuilt the site in 2020 (v2.0) to publish more user-submitted content than I could on the Instagram page.
The functionality of the site has worked really well but unfortunately coming back to posting regularly on Instagram with nudity did not go over well with their rules. I've found it difficult to maintain momentum with regular posting because the page continues to get shut down and the content was beginning to feel repetitive and stagnant. I have a full revitalization and development plan that's waiting on the motivation and the free time it will need to implement. The goals of the upcoming project are the following:
- Make the user-generated content easier to moderate and better prepared for social media
- Improve recurring revenue to cover costs and pay for moderators
- Improve privacy, security, and user experience
- Better communication and collaboration with users and community members
- Amplify, encourage, and foster diversity in the outdoors
Technical Notes for Nerds:
I've become really entrenched in the Laravel, Vue, and Tailwind ecosystem(s). This application would likely use that stack as well as Laravel Livewire, Cloudways, Digital Ocean, Imgix, and Stripe
Distribute image moderation platform to paying clients
Since embarking on building the website as a content moderation platform, I've built similar systems for a small number of clients. Those clients have indicated interest in a more professional tool. If I undertake rebuilding GetYourAssIntoNature, I'd like to build and distribute the software to those clients and, hopefully, make some supplemental income for myself.
If you have an questions or comments about this project please reach out to me here or on Twitter