My chosen  research project for my english class asks the question of how social media and technology have influenced the environment and outdoor recreation. It has become evident on many social media sites, including Instagram, Twitter, Phhhoto and Facebook, etc, that many people are enjoying the outdoors. But are they really enjoying the outdoors, or are they enjoying the positive feedback of the photo they posted of them ‘enjoying’ the outdoors. Another concern I have is how far will people go, often subconsciously, to get the picture. Not only are they putting themselves at risk, but they are endangering, and often harming the natural environment. I am also aware that this is not the leading cause of environmental endangerment, and that is just an observation I have made. When people go outside, especially to a National Park/Forest, are they really feeling and appreciating the scene they beholding, or are they too focused on taking pictures? I am not against nature photography in anyway, however for those of us who do not get to dedicate our lives to forever encapsulating the beauty of the outdoors through a lense, should we really be so concerned with how high quality our photo is, or how many likes we receive. We need to remember the experience, adventure, and the natural beauty that was put here on earth.  

While researching, I found many people who agree and disagree with similar claims to the mine above. The Outdoor Industry Organization article I read discussed the impact social media could have on spreading awareness about conservation. This is an interesting and accurate perspective. It has been seen many times before how a simple and important message can be spread through social media sites and reach millions of people all over the world in a matter of hours. Another perspective I read was from the Outdoor Foundation Organization. This article was more of a summary of a yearly report. It discussed the overall effects of technology on the outdoors. Technology serves as a distraction, particularly to youth. But it also serves as a prod, in getting more people outdoors than ever before. This can be seen at Zion National Park. In 2016, over 4 million people visited Zion, this is more than ever before (about 75,000 per day).

I am excited to continue researching these effect and outcomes, as well as read more opinion and experience articles to learn more about this topic.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Social Media’s Influence on Outdoor Recreation by Chloe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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