Post and protect: Making your hashtag matter

Washington state researchers are using social media data to understand how people are using the land – and how that land can be protected most effectively.

Appeared in The Planet Magazine

The #pnw page on Instagram features 27 million posts.

One post shows the rapids of Washington State’s official waterfall — Palouse Falls — tumbling downward. In the background is the night sky, bursting with the lavender majesty of the Milky Way Galaxy. The convergence of stars, gas and dust jet across the horizon as the falls continue their descent, feeling just as infinite as the seemingly endless gallery of photos.

This social media bombardment can feel irrelevant — after all, there is a difference between seeing the Palouse Falls through a screen and feeling the waterfall mist settle gently on the skin… (continue)