Forum Index > Trail Talk > Impact of Social Media
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Schenk
Off Leash Man



Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 2296 | TRs
Location: Traveling, with the bear, to the other side of the Mountain
Schenk
  Top

Off Leash Man
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 7:47 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Anne Elk wrote:
I'm waiting to see one at the rim of an active volcano with full wedding regalia.

Hopefully they will at least use Nomex for that.

--------------
Nature exists with a stark indifference to humans' situation.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
RandyHiker
Snarky Member



Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 6813 | TRs
Location: Bellevue at the moment.
RandyHiker
  Top

Snarky Member
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 8:40 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
Yup -- off road vehicle riding (motorcycles and ATVs) is considered outdoor recreation and those folks are concerned about too much environmental regulation.

"Outdoor Recreation" is a really broad term -- wouldn't that include soccer, baseball and football ?

Three kinds of lies:  Lies, Dammed Lies and Statistics.

You're right, people who enjoy riding ATVs in beautiful natural settings want to see those places paved over and turned into Walmart parking lots.  More people would want to preserve wild places if we banned hiking and everybody recreated at waterslides and theme parks instead.


FWIW: On Snowmobile forums I monitor,  one of the top concerns is loss of places to ride by restrictions by land agencies.

They would probably welcome a WalMart in Cle Elum to buy cheaper provisions than the Safeway and free camping,  but I'm sure the Suncadia investors would fight that vigorously.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 3486 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
  Top

Faster than light
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 8:57 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Anne Elk wrote:
This is a "thing" now, for weddings. I saw similar pics taken at the Big Four Ice Caves. Maybe Banff, Alberta is to blame.  But BNP scenics are easily had from any number of hotels, ski resort roads, and etc.  I'm waiting to see one at the rim of an active volcano with full wedding regalia. huh.gif

Would you rather get married on Mt Baker, or in a golf course?

Can we really blame other people for wanting to visit beautiful places, like we want to visit them?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 3486 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
  Top

Faster than light
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 9:02 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
RandyHiker wrote:
Cyclopath wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
Yup -- off road vehicle riding (motorcycles and ATVs) is considered outdoor recreation and those folks are concerned about too much environmental regulation.

"Outdoor Recreation" is a really broad term -- wouldn't that include soccer, baseball and football ?

Three kinds of lies:  Lies, Dammed Lies and Statistics.

You're right, people who enjoy riding ATVs in beautiful natural settings want to see those places paved over and turned into Walmart parking lots.  More people would want to preserve wild places if we banned hiking and everybody recreated at waterslides and theme parks instead.


FWIW: On Snowmobile forums I monitor,  one of the top concerns is loss of places to ride by restrictions by land agencies.

They would probably welcome a WalMart in Cle Elum to buy cheaper provisions than the Safeway and free camping,  but I'm sure the Suncadia investors would fight that vigorously.

Loss and lack of access is a problem for MTBers, too.  I would have spent thousands on a MTB if I didn't have to drive all the way to Cle Elum to use it in a nice place.  That's not the same thing as wanting an end to all regulation and wanting anybody to be able to do anything in any place.

Again, getting back to the point:  even if it's not the case that 100% of people who recreate outdoors want complete preservation and expansion of Wilderness, that doesn't mean that getting people outdoors is pointless.  That's a common fallacy that comes up all the time in political debates of many subjects.  You don't believe that people are more likely to support preservation of wild places if they stay home all day every day playing video games than if they go out and hike.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
Posts: 7769 | TRs
Location: state of confusion
joker
  Top

seeker
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 11:19 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Well, to Rumi's point (repeated multiple times above) about anecdotal claims, it appears that this is also all we have to support the oft-repeated line about "greenbonding" as a result of getting out to hike leading to more support for protecting our wild lands. Unless there's another study someone can point to that isolates out the  hiking population in a careful way...

That said, I agree with another point made somewhere above that it's nonetheless good that a higher percent of the population is getting out to hike (per stats shared in a ST article a while back, based on FS data iirc). There IS good evidence that spending time doing things like hiking and even just being out in the woods is  good for both mental and physical health. So  that's clearly  goodness to me.

As for the assertion that claims about the impact of social media posts are just anecdotal - it depends on how you define that term. I have, about six or seven times now, been on a hike or a ski tour a weekend after a "seminal" social media post (I include nwh and tay in the overall class of "social media" even though they don't have nearly the reach of something like the WH&C FB group), and have asked every party I encountered that day, when I was seeing many more people out on each of those routes than on prior similar data-and-weather weekend days in past years, what made them choose the route that day. And an overwhelming majority (close to 80%) attributed their destination choice to the trip report I'd seen on one or another  social media site (nwh, tay, and WH&C to be specific). Now I can't possibly make any great statistical claims about how much spikes in crowds at all places seeing spikes are due to social media posts. But I believe I CAN confidently assert that social media posts DO sometimes have a significant effect that leads to a concentration of new use on specific locations. I believe that this is a valid claim based on the evidence I've gathered. You  could still fairly call this "anecdotal" but it's worth pushing back that it belongs to  a specific class of anecdote, in which the  evidence was gathered in a way that was both empirical and verifiable, and it consists of well more than a single anecdote. This is exactly the sort of "anecdotal evidence" that is commonly used in places such as medical "case studies" which don't ignore the "evidence" simply because  it's anecdotal. Much is in fact learned in the realm of science based on anecdote. Probably the biggest "methodological flaw" here is that I did not carefully document these "interviews" in such  a way as to allow people to double check my work, so I'm leaving it to others to simply trust me to be honestly sharing what transpired. But you can go out and repeat the test yourself if you  are getting out and repeating  hikes on trails often enough  and are also reading  TRs in these various  places,  and are willing to ask people a friendly if outgoing question about how they chose THIS particular hike (or ski tour, or  mountain bike ride) ono this particular day. My bet is that you'll find the same thing I did.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gil
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 3772 | TRs

Gil
  Top

Member
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 11:34 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The KING story on the wedding photos never named the trail (though you could figure it out from the photo). The trail was named in this thread.

--------------
Friends help the miles go easier.
Klahini
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RumiDude
Marmota olympus



Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 2781 | TRs
Location: Port Angeles
RumiDude
  Top

Marmota olympus
PostWed Oct 09, 2019 6:40 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker wrote:
to Rumi's point (repeated multiple times above) about anecdotal claims

joker wrote:
As for the assertion that claims about the impact of social media posts are just anecdotal

One of the reasons I have repeatedly noted the anecdotal nature of the social medial impacts on backcountry visitations is simply because so many have either directly asserted or greatly suggested it is a settled fact.

joker wrote:
I believe I CAN confidently assert that social media posts DO sometimes have a significant effect that leads to a concentration of new use on specific locations. I believe that this is a valid claim based on the evidence I've gathered.

joker wrote:
I'm leaving it to others to simply trust me to be honestly sharing what transpired.

I have no doubt of your claim. What I do doubt is that your informal survey amounts to good anecdotal evidence. Self-reporting surveys like this are known to be highly problematic. Thus they must be tightly controlled in every aspect so as to yeild useable information. Even then the results are less reliable.

joker wrote:
My bet is that you'll find the same thing I did.

One thing we should all realize is how information is gathered today. And like it or not, the internet is the main venue for information gathering. And social media is the main way people gather information on the internet; whether it be reddit, discussion forums like this, community and group pages on FB and others, or whatever. So it is not unusual that you would discover roughly 80% of those you surveyed got their information of where to go from a TR or similar. Some TRs like on WTA usually describe how to get to the trailhead, trail conditions, etc., and usually have a nice photo to accompany it. Several years ago I led weekly dayhikes for beginners and most often used Karen Sykes Hike of the Week feature in the PI for inspiration. (So I blame Karen Sykes!) At that time it was one of the few resources I could access online about local hikes. It was easier than scouring maps or guide books. And more than once on these hikes I met others that had read the same Karen Sykes article.

And that is the other key to why social media is popular, it is easy. It is easier to ask a question (seemingly) on social media that it is to google a question. We see that all the time right here on these forums. It's just the way it is. Often times social media is the beginning, middle, and end of an individual's search for information on gear, skills, trails, etc., even when the person could get the answer difinitively by a google search. How many times do you hear someone ask a question about a gear specification like weight or colors available from "just some anonymous person on the internet" when they could go the the makers website and get the info firsthand? Again, that's just the way it is nowadays. So yea, I have no doubt if I simply asked people why they chose this particular trail to hike, the majority would cite a recent mention of it on social media.

For that reason I think an even bigger factor in this spike in people visiting backcountry places is simply the huge numbers that are going into the backcountry recreationally. And whenever we go out we are just seeing a small segment of these growing numbers. And if we (here on nwhikers.net) all stop doing TRs and posting lovely photos, those numbers will go someplace else on the internet and get their information, because lovely photos and TRs are all over the internet.

In my mind, trying to control impacts in the backcountry by controlling information on the internet is both futile and counter productive. Instead we should be giving them more information and opportunities. If an area begins to suffer overuse then the land managers will need to apply restrictions.

Rumi

--------------
"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
markweth
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Feb 2017
Posts: 131 | TRs
Location: Montana
markweth
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 8:17 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
As far as anecdotal evidence goes, I have the same experiences as joker posted.

Also, when I worked for the USFS doing visitor information services I had many people come into the visitor center, show me a picture of an off-trail waterfall posted on social media on their smartphone and ask for directions. I really don't know of any example that illustrates a more clear connection. I'm not even trying to discern "good" or "bad" there, but just stating that it occurred on a weekly basis.

RumiDude wrote:
So yea, I have no doubt if I simply asked people why they chose this particular trail to hike, the majority would cite a recent mention of it on social media.

I agree on this as well. The issue I see is that when those hikers all end up camping at the same lake and exceed its carrying capacity and cause impacts, that it is a problem. I think being more vague about specific locations in unpermitted areas would encourage people to do more research and spread out their impacts. For example, rather than captioning a picture "XYZ Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness" just caption it "Glacier Peak Wilderness" . . . it is self-evident the picture is of a lake. They can then research lakes in general in Glacier Peak Wilderness and find the trip most suited to them, rather than have some myopic focus on going to that particular lake along with two dozen other people in the coming weekend(s). If that lake has a carrying capacity for maybe three groups, and five groups show up . . . there's going to be an impact. And I think social media is a primary factor in causing these
spikes in visitation that result in overuse impacts.

RumiDude wrote:
In my mind, trying to control impacts in the backcountry by controlling information on the internet is both futile and counter productive. Instead we should be giving them more information and opportunities. If an area begins to suffer overuse then the land managers will need to apply restrictions.

I don't look at it necessarily as trying to control information, but more as trying to encourage accountability and ethical behavior as it relates to indiscriminately posting details about vulnerable areas. I admit -- maybe that is a distinction without a difference. But where my heart is coming from in this (which might not be on the same page with my brain, or yours), is that I want to see information out there that gets people excited about visiting wilderness areas and encourages them to research and plan their trips and spreads out their impact. I think geotagging and posting specific details about unregulated campsites in wilderness areas leads to overuse issues and more often than not does nothing to encourage people to learn about the areas before they visit.

I think that being vague actually is giving them more information and working toward the vision you seem to have -- if a post names a specific lake, that's where people will go. If it names an entire wilderness area, it gives them much more to explore!

Personally, I don't want to see any more restrictions than necessary. I would rather see us as a hiking community work to change our ethics and behavior around use (first and foremost, just practicing basic LNT) rather than land managers having to restrict access. There are some cases where this is necessary, but I think there are also cases where it could have been avoided.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Doppelganger
Gorecrow



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 1600 | TRs
Location: Pessimising
Doppelganger
  Top

Gorecrow
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 9:14 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I spent some time rereading the Sam Sayers threads, here and on Teton Gravity forums. I guess we were kind of middle of the road, Teton was pretty unrestrained... I stayed well away from the FB groups so I have no real idea what it was like to participate in those hot messes. Fascinating to see how these relatively tight communities of climbers and hikers could be split into such disparate groups, so quickly and easily. And to see how quickly we move on now.

If you have the time to revisit last years events, it really does paint a vivid local picture of how social media impacted our outdoor communities, and how social media became a driving force of the investigation. Local authorities and organizations were thoroughly drowned out in the frenzy coming from all sides (and lets have a moment of silence for common sense). Even more sobering to extrapolate those patterns to some of the national and global events of the past few years.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 3486 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
  Top

Faster than light
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 11:31 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gil wrote:
The KING story on the wedding photos never named the trail (though you could figure it out from the photo). The trail was named in this thread.

And before this thread, you'd never see more than 2 or 3 people on the Heather/Maple Loop.   wink.gif

The point I'm getting at is that people visit these places because, as said already, they're "desirable" aka beautiful.  If people don't learn about them online, they'll learn about them from the 100 Hikes books, word of mouth, maps, or exploring.  And you can't put the genie back in the bottle.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 10294 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
  Top

><((((>
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 12:13 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
joker wrote:
"As for the assertion that claims about the impact of social media posts are just anecdotal..."

Yes, they're "just anecdotal".
Cumulatively, however, all those "anecdotals" at some point add up to something. Taken as a whole, one can get a relatively good idea of the larger picture.

To dismiss "anecdotal" out of hand when hard data is unavailable (due to any number of reasons) ignores that information that is available to us.

Sometimes, when "anecdotal" is all you've got, that's what you work with.

To Rumi's comment about "let the land managers deal with it":
That may be fine over the long term, but we both know that both NPS and USFS move at glacial speed, and any efforts made or policies implemented to reduce impacts by reducing user loads (by means of permits or quotas) may well be too little too late.

So while we're on "anecdotal" (in response to markweth's story about the lake photo just above):
Several years ago, while talking to an NPS staffer who worked the front counter at one of my favorite NPS Ranger Stations, I was told that there were "at least 50 people a day coming in asking me where the Hobbit trail was!"
All those people had been led there by a photograph which was published in a National Geographic magazine with a caption below it which referred to it as "a trail for Hobbits."
Anecdotal? Certainly.
True? False?
Why would a career NPS employee make up a story like that?
And as crazy as it sounded at the time, a few years later, while brushing out that same trail, I had more than one person ask me "Where's the Hobbit trail?"

Don't believe for a minute that "social media", whether it's Facebook or Instagram or the National Geographic or the Seattle Times "Hike of the Week" doesn't have a significant effect on user loads.

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
olderthanIusedtobe
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Sep 2011
Posts: 6539 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
olderthanIusedtobe
  Top

Member
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 12:28 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath wrote:
And before this thread, you'd never see more than 2 or 3 people on the Heather/Maple Loop.  wink.gif

Ha, yeah the word was out on this loop a while ago.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 3486 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
  Top

Faster than light
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 2:09 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski wrote:
Yes, they're "just anecdotal".
Cumulatively, however, all those "anecdotals" at some point add up to something. Taken as a whole, one can get a relatively good idea of the larger picture.

To dismiss "anecdotal" out of hand when hard data is unavailable (due to any number of reasons) ignores that information that is available to us.

Sometimes, when "anecdotal" is all you've got, that's what you work with.

Do anecdotes ever lead people down the garden path to the wrong answer?

And what exactly do you propose to do about this?  Require a hiking license?  You have to show a history of 50 posts on nwhikers before you're allowed on a trail?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 10294 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
  Top

><((((>
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 2:42 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Well... certainly they would lead them down the wrong path if they were inclined to make assumptions or draw conclusions without fact and hard evidence.

There's a distinction between "dead ass wrong" and "reasonable best guess", though.

The entire universe isn't all black and white.

As for "what to do?" - That question has been bandied about here for years. There's no magic formula, no panacea. As you noted above, the genie left that bottle long ago.

If you're looking for effective solutions, those come in the form of communication and education.

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
texasbb
Misplaced Texan



Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Posts: 951 | TRs
Location: Tri-Cities, WA
texasbb
  Top

Misplaced Texan
PostThu Oct 10, 2019 3:52 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski wrote:
Cumulatively, however, all those "anecdotals" at some point add up to something. Taken as a whole, one can get a relatively good idea of the larger picture.

Well, no, not generally.  1000 anecdotes may or may not be better than one.  That "data" set is loaded with all kinds of biases.

Ski wrote:
To dismiss "anecdotal" out of hand when hard data is unavailable (due to any number of reasons) ignores that information that is available to us.

Sometimes, when "anecdotal" is all you've got, that's what you work with.

And that's when you're likely to reach wrong conclusions.  If you act on those conclusions, you may well do more harm than good.

Ski wrote:
Several years ago, while talking to an NPS staffer who worked the front counter at one of my favorite NPS Ranger Stations, I was told that there were "at least 50 people a day coming in asking me where the Hobbit trail was!"
All those people had been led there by a photograph which was published in a National Geographic magazine with a caption below it which referred to it as "a trail for Hobbits."
Anecdotal? Certainly.

Or maybe hyperbole?

Ski wrote:
Don't believe for a minute that "social media", whether it's Facebook or Instagram or the National Geographic or the Seattle Times "Hike of the Week" doesn't have a significant effect on user loads.

I tend to suspect the same thing, but neither of us can claim to understand all the dynamics.  I also don't believe for a minute that "digital LNT" will have a noticeable impact on the user loads.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trail Talk > Impact of Social Media
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy