Social media might not ruin nature, after all

Appeared in Gizmodo

Once pristine natural places become Instagram famous, everything changes. Lonely trails clog with hikers; empty forest pools fill with swimmers. Some have argued that the meshing of social media with the outdoors could cause locations to be loved to death, or even fundamentally taint outdoor recreation itself.

But painting our obsession with digital documentation as a kiss of death for nature’s highlight reel ignores the fact when you throw photos of that scenic trail onto your social media platform of choice, you’re logging data about when and where you interacted with an ecosystem. And as researchers are now discovering, that data has the power to help us manage and protect special places, at a time when more people are using nature than ever before… (continue)