It is no secret that Facebook and Instagram can be unfriendly places for sportsmen. Between unprovoked attacks by anti-hunters, senseless censoring, and the need to constantly defend or justify the outdoor sports, it can be a real drag. GoWild, a different kind of online community for sportsmen, seeks to rectify those problems. Simply put, GoWild is an online digital platform for hunters, anglers, trappers, and outdoorsmen to connect with each other, share ideas and recommendations, and shop for useful gear. That last part is important; the commerce portion is a huge part of the platform. It has quickly become a leading social media app and gear marketplace for outdoor enthusiasts. Best of all it is free to use, and it is chock full of curated threads discussing gear, tactics, and much more. It can be accessed via a mobile application or any web browser.
GoWild has been dubbed as not just an alternative, but a replacement social media network for outdoorsmen and women. It operates a little differently and has a strong focus on gear, so there might be a bit of a learning curve for people jumping over from traditional social media platforms. Like the other sites, it is a highly engaging design that's pretty easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. Unlike the other sites, users can gain rewards by sharing content, responding, purchasing gear through the platform, and referring others to join GoWild. The rewards can be cashed in for stickers, discounts, and select gear items.
The Origins of GoWild
GoWild is led by a team of four Kentuckians: co-founder and CEO Brad Luttrell; Zack Grimes, co-founder and president; Donovan Sears, co-founder and Chief Product Designer; and Chris Gleim, Chief Development Officer. The platform has evolved rapidly since its inception in 2016. By September 2017, the GoWild beta version was launched. Six months later came Android-compatibility. January of 2019 brought a Garmin app and integration, and in 2020, they launched the desktop experience, featuring robust gear shopping and price monitoring.
The platform is still growing, and today has hundreds of thousands of users (or members in GoWild speak) interacting regularly.
GoWild's Unique Online Features
Along the bottom of the GoWild app there are four buttons that navigate between their most prominent features: "Home," "Trailmix," "Post" and "Shop." GoWild has a lot of fun and useful extras, such as a time log and gear tag you can use when posting. Tagging the gear used during a hunt helps others learn what gear works for you in the field, and that you are willing to recommend. Users can also ask for suggestions if they're less sure what they want or need.
The GoWild platform thrives on the crowdsourcing model to help users find the answers to questions they may post. When a user posts a question, the built in algorithm looks at the content topic and finds people it thinks can help answer it.
The "Trailmix" feature is much like a traditional newsfeed found on most social apps. There is also a "Near Me" feature, and once a user taps that, the app it will show only posts from users in that same area. That hyperlocal angle really helps when trying to pin down preferences in your area.
After that, GoWild becomes what you make of it. There's no lack of opportunities to mingle online with like-minded folks, talk about likes and dislikes in the gear department, and connect with other outdoorsfolk on a safe, non-exclusive way.
This year the GoWild team is introducing the Send It Slam, an outdoor festival complete with a 3D archery competition, full lineup of Kentucky musicians, local food trucks and breweries, youth entertainment, and more.