Forum Index > Trail Talk > "A New Study Finds Crowds at National Parks May Be Due to Social Media"
 Reply to topic
Previous :: Next Topic
Author Message
BigBrunyon
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Mar 2015
Posts: 1480 | TRs | Pics
Location: the fitness gyms!!
BigBrunyon
Member
PostMon Jun 10, 2024 10:57 pm 
Once you have a mega-post it's over. All it takes is one mega-post!!! A super-viral situation. Suddenly it's game over. Post pandemic you've been hearing the term "mega-spreader event" used as well. Basically just a post with EXTREME VIEW COUNTS.

zimmertr
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Malachai Constant
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jan 2002
Posts: 16115 | TRs | Pics
Location: Back Again Like A Bad Penny
Malachai Constant
Member
PostMon Jun 10, 2024 11:22 pm 
The truth is people are attracted to amazing places once they know of them. For example My family went to Arches national Monument and Chaco Canyon when I was 10 in 1958 because my uncle was Sheriff of Gallup New Mexico, both were deserted, I was amazed and told everyone I knew about it, a couple dozen punk kids, like me. Later it ended up on thousands of Utah license plates and dozens of National Geographic mags and specials, and is now mobbed regardless of social media. It is mobbed because it is unique in all the world and beautiful. Social media is another media nothing special. People seek out the unusual and beautiful, same as it ever was, the Chants are similar but on a local basis not so unusual. If you think you can suppress it, forget about it, information wants to be free. There is no boggieman except us.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn

Cyclopath, dave allyn, RumiDude
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
thunderhead
Member
Member


Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 1562 | TRs | Pics
thunderhead
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 9:00 am 
This study is nonsense. https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/visitation-numbers.htm There was a major jump in visit numbers in the 1960s. Since then nps visit growth is well correlated with US population growth.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
idoru
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Feb 2023
Posts: 130 | TRs | Pics
Location: Portland-ish
idoru
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 9:26 am 
thunderhead wrote:
Since then nps visit growth is well correlated with US population growth.
If anyone's curious what the data looks like here, there was a 25% increase in visitors, from 70mil to 90mil between 2010 and 2020, while the US population increased by ~.6% year-over-year, or a total of 6% for the same timeframe.

markweth
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Sore Feet
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 6305 | TRs | Pics
Location: Out There, Somewhere
Sore Feet
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 9:51 am 
thunderhead wrote:
This study is nonsense. https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/visitation-numbers.htm There was a major jump in visit numbers in the 1960s. Since then nps visit growth is well correlated with US population growth.
It's not nonsense at all, but it doesn't do a good enough job at differentiating from effects of overall visitation numbers to the park(s) themselves vs. the affect that social media has had on specific locations within those parks. The problem is social media exposes millions of people to very specific locations, and it does it in a way that portrays it as a lifestyle that others want to emulate. It's far less about experiencing the outdoors and more about either being seen by others experiencing the outdoors, or emulating a specific experience that was portrayed on social media. This is why places like Angel's Landing in Zion got so popular that they implemented a permit system. Everybody will flock to that one specific location within the greater park or area, and be hyper-focused on recreating that experience they saw on social media - the rest of the park might as well not exist for a lot of these types of people. The best example of the social media effect I can think of locally is Eagle Falls on the Skykomish. It was basically a locals only spot until 2018 or 2019 (don't remember the exact year it blew up, but it was before Covid) despite being right next to Highway 2. There was literally one post on a Tiktok account with a huge number of followers about it that spread like an out of control fire to the other outlets (Facebook and IG), and it turned into Disneyland quite literally overnight. I'm sure many of us here have experienced traffic snarls on Highway 2 between Index and Baring as a result of its recent popularity.

Bryan Swan Pictures - http://www.bryanswanphotography.com Waterfalls - www.waterfallsnorthwest.com

Anne Elk
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
markweth
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Feb 2017
Posts: 160 | TRs | Pics
Location: Montana
markweth
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 9:58 am 
Malachai Constant wrote:
Social media is another media nothing special . . . If you think you can suppress it, forget about it, information wants to be free.
I get where you're coming from to a degree, but I think it would help to step back and look at this issue a bit more critically. When a medium or piece of technology changes so drastically -- in scale, pervasiveness, and demonstrable impact -- it does indeed become something special and in a certain way an altogether different beast. Not a perfect analogy by any means, but look at advances in weaponry in the 1800s for example -- do you think anyone would've said "Nothing new to see with that Winchester repeating rifle, it's just another firearm like the flintlock rifles"? As far as information suppression, I think a reasonable argument could be made that much of what is posted on social media in regard to backcountry locations isn't really "information" per se but is more similar to advertising (especially by influencers and their personal "brands"). It's most often just pictures of pretty places with no context of how to visit them responsibly. It contains about as much actual "information" as a billboard advertising any random product. Cavers have been rather successful at limiting information about caves to protect them (and people without the experience to safely explore them from getting in over their heads). I get that caving and backpacking/hiking are drastically different activities, but I think to totally dismiss the ability of user groups to enforce ethical norms about highlighting specific spots is a cop out. The cat is certainly out of the bag with a lot of places, but I think it is interesting to think about how impacts might've been different if people used a more thoughtfully designed bag, so to speak, and avoided geotagging and spotlighting specific backcountry locations without thinking through the impacts of that. For me, it's about the cumulative impact of the use of social media by individuals and its impact on public lands. I think this study makes very clear the connection between the former and the latter.

Anne Elk
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
altasnob
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1456 | TRs | Pics
Location: Tacoma
altasnob
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 10:11 am 
Back when I was a lad my family had photographer Ray Atkeson's coffee table books. I saw a photo of Doubtful Lake and Prusik Peak. These were "pictures of pretty places with no context of how to visit them responsibly." I told my Dad I wanted to go there, so we did. If only we had the foresight to ban photographers like Ray Atkeson, and guidebook authors like Fred Becky. And then ban social media like tiktok, instagram, and nwhikers.net. Hell, just ban the internet.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Dick B
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Jun 2013
Posts: 347 | TRs | Pics
Location: Redmond, Or
Dick B
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 10:35 am 
Since I'm old school, I don't follow social media. I can relate, tho, how publicizing popular hiking spots can affect turnout. 2 cases come to mind. Both involved articles published in our local paper and several of the larger newspapers in the Willamette Valley. The first was a hike we liked, that is off the McKenzie Pass highway. The parking area is unimproved and quite small. It is near Scott Lake and a trailhead to Benson Lake, other lakes and to Scott Mountain. We had hiked this trail several times, and each time there may have been 2 or 3 other cars in the parking area. After an article appeared in the local and Valley papers, we mistakenly decided to make the Scott Mtn hike the weekend after the articles came out. We drove in to the trailhead, and there were probably 100 cars in the lot and lined up on the entry road. There was no place left to park. We waited for a car to leave, took the spot and completed our hike. The second event happened at the Smith Rock State Park, north of Bend. Same newspapers published glowing articles, and again we decided to hike the park the weekend after the article. This park is always busy on weekends and parking is an issue. But this time the numbers far exceeded the available parking. Cars were lined up along both sides of the roads entering the park for over a mile from the entrance. That time we left and made an alternate hike around Grey Butte.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 7964 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
Faster than light
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 12:36 pm 
markweth wrote:
That sentence pretty much sums it up for me, with the notion of "increase" being of importance. Your comparison between NYC and Casper doesn't make any sense in this context (or pretty much any other), as it isn't talking about a flat point-in-time number, it is discussing increases over time and the connection between increased visitation and social media exposure.
Can you explain how their findings are different from this? I'm asking why this is causation instead of correlation. Here's another example that involves change over time.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
uww
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2015
Posts: 333 | TRs | Pics
uww
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 12:58 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
Can you explain how their findings are different from this? I'm asking why this is causation instead of correlation. Here's another example that involves change over time.
The difference is your graph is spurious and implausible. The fact spurious correlation exists does not negate all causality. This study utilizes a measure to describe a control group of low social media engagement parks, which do not see the increase in visitation experienced by high engagement parks. This study also demonstrates that parks that have more user-generated social media in the preceding year see increases in visitation. This is what establishes the causal relationship between social media engagement and increases in visitation. Other variables may also affect visitation, but this study shows there is a plausible and statistically significant relationship between increased social media engagement and increased park visitation.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 7964 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
Faster than light
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 1:24 pm 
People like talking about their vacation. Whether it's to the Grand Canyon or Disney Land. The same parks that have lots of visitors have lots of social media mentions. Visits cause social media posts. Maybe social media posts cause more visits, maybe not. So far in the PNAS article I'm not seeing it established that there's anything more than correlation. I'm interested if other people can point me to what you think is incontrovertible proof.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
uww
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2015
Posts: 333 | TRs | Pics
uww
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 1:27 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
The same parks that have lots of visitors have lots of social media mentions. Visits cause social media posts.
Both of those are addressed and accounted for in this study.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
RumiDude
Marmota olympus



Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 3624 | TRs | Pics
Location: Port Angeles
RumiDude
Marmota olympus
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 1:30 pm 
uww wrote:
Other variables may also affect visitation, but this study shows there is a plausible and statistically significant relationship between increased social media engagement and increased park visitation.
And that is all it shows. It does not establish a causal relationship between SMI and NP visitation. As a matter of fact it limited social media to Twitter (now called X) and Instagram. This study was small with a narrow selection of data. To establish causation would require much more than the scope of this study. Rumi

"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
uww
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Dec 2015
Posts: 333 | TRs | Pics
uww
Member
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 1:49 pm 
RumiDude wrote:
To establish causation would require much more than the scope of this study.
There will never be enough evidence for some people.

fourteen410, Ski
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
RumiDude
Marmota olympus



Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 3624 | TRs | Pics
Location: Port Angeles
RumiDude
Marmota olympus
PostTue Jun 11, 2024 2:05 pm 
uww wrote:
RumiDude wrote:
To establish causation would require much more than the scope of this study.
There will never be enough evidence for some people.
That door swings both ways. Some people grasp at anything and claim it is settled. This is one study by one individual. Only after the findings are repeated multiple times by other researchers does a complete picture begin to emerge and become settled science. That's how science makes progress explaining the world.

"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
 Reply to topic
Forum Index > Trail Talk > "A New Study Finds Crowds at National Parks May Be Due to 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