Social media and Yellowstone may seem like oil and water, but researchers in Illinois want to see how they mix.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are compiling information on how visitors use social media in national parks, using Yellowstone National Park as their test model.
The project, officially called “Social Media in the National Parks,” will analyze social media use in the park to determine how it impacts their travel plans. It will also analyze how social media use colors visitors’ interactions with national parks.
The project, spearheaded by political science professor Robert Pahre, will be conducted over the course of the whole summer. The project’s end goal will be to amass a suitable archive of information about social media use in national parks. That data will subsequently be used for scholarly works, magazine and blog publications. These articles will then be shared with the National Park Service and other affiliated organizations. The raw data itself will not be shared.
From Robert Pahre’s website:
We will observe two different kinds of postings, public and semi-public.
- Public. We will “lurk” in public spaces on the internet to see what people make public. You can tell us to exclude this public information from the study.
- Semi-public. We will interact with people on semi-public social media sites. This participation is entirely voluntary. If you would like to participate in the study, you can friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Flickr.
To participate, visitors will need to make posts on various social media platforms using the hashtag #YOLOstone2014. Visitors who opt into the study will remain anonymous. Visitors who would like their social media posts excluded from the project may email Professor Pahre (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Audrey Neville (email@example.com). Visitors may also email Professors Pahre and Neville to see end publications from the project.