Contribute To A Social Media Study In The National Parks

Help researchers understand the role of social media in the parks this summer when you visit Yellowstone.

What role does "social media" have in the national parks? How is social media used in the parks? You can help answer these questions by participating in a study of social media uses this summer in Yellowstone National Park.

This project is formally titled “Social Media in the National Parks,” and is being conducted by a team at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. The researchers are interested in how people use social media while in the parks. Specifically, they want to know whether social media change the way people use the national parks, how it affects their travel plans, and how visitors interact with the National Park Service and its partners.

The data gathered in the study may be used for scholarly articles and books, for magazine articles, and for informal publications such as blogs. The researchers intend to share publications and reports with the National Park Service, with non-profit associations and museums, and with businesses and chambers of commerce. They will not, however, share the raw data with anyone, however.

If you decide to participate, all your postings will remain anonymous. The researchers will not use your name, your online identity, or any identifying information about you. They will not attempt to match your account to any other information on the internet.

The researchers will observe two different kinds of postings, public and semi-public.

* Public. They will “lurk” in public spaces on the internet to see what people make public. You can tell the researchers to exclude this public information from the study.

* Semi-public. They 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 the researchers on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter or Flickr.

If you are in the Yellowstone area this summer and you would like the researchers to see what you are posting, please use the #YOLOstone2014 hashtag.

For more details on this study, visit this website.