BC’s most popular parks... according to Instagram
For some parks, the number of likes and comments for a park’s hashtag is a strong predictor of attendance
Appeared in Vancouver Sun
Some of southern B.C.’s smallest provincial parks get the most love on Instagram, raising fears the social media platform is contributing to overcrowding and damage to parks. Yet those same posts might lead to more effective park planning and management, according to research.
A Postmedia analysis of hashtags on Instagram for popular south coast parks show that for some parks, the number of “likes” and comments for a park’s hashtag is a strong predictor of attendance.
That matches with research conducted by Spencer Wood, a senior research scientist at the eScience Institute for Data Discovery at the University of Washington and with the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University. Wood and his team have been using statistical models to study the role of social media in motivating people to get outdoors.
“There are correlations between the number of (social media) posts that get shared in a place and the number of people who visit a place,” said Wood. ”People are certainly going to sites to get some iconic photo.”
Wood said that talking about a park online does increase its popularity but that those sorts of effects have been happening for decades with print media… (continue)