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A Proposed Research Agenda on Social Media's Role in Visitor Use and Experience in Parks and Protected Areas

Zachary D. Miller, B. Derrick Taff, Peter Newman, Ben Lawhon

Abstract


The diverse and omnipresent social media platforms in contemporary society have fundamentally changed the way people interact with their world. Parks and protected areas are no exception. Although outdoor recreation and tourism research has embraced social media from a utilitarian perspective, very few studies evaluate how social media influences visitor use, experiences, and behaviors. This research note is designed to provide a research agenda for investigating the relationship between social media, visitor use and experience, and parks and protected areas. It identifies four critical themes that act as a platform for further research with respect to social media: 1) the influence of social media on visitor behaviors, 2) using social media to enhance and facilitate the visitor experience, 3) reaching intended audiences, and 4) understanding management perspectives. Collectively, inquiry into these four themes can improve our understanding of how social media influences contemporary and future management of parks and protected areas.

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Keywords


National parks; parks; social media; visitor experiences; visitor use

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/JPRA-2019-9553

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