CAN SOCIAL MEDIA AID IN PARK MANAGEMENT? DEVELOPING AND TESTING TOOLS TO COLLECT AND ANALYZE TWITTER AND FLICKR POSTS FOR WISCONSIN STATE PARKS
Wisconsin’s state parks provide public access to lakes and rivers for a variety of recreational activities. Visitation statistics can be collected at parks with gates or centralized entrances, but detailed information about how people use park features can be costly or even impossible to obtain using traditional survey methods. Many of these visitors freely share their park experiences on social media sites, providing a potentially rich source of usage data not readily available through other methods. The goals of this study were to 1) develop a methodology for extracting and analyzing publicly available social media data for State parks, and 2) evaluate whether social media platforms could be used as a reliable, free survey system for park managers. We automated a process that scraped publicly available geographic and textual information from Twitter and Flickr, cleaned text to remove unwanted material (e.g., advertisements), and categorized statements as positive, negative or neutral using sentiment analysis. The results of this study indicate that our methodology can enable park managers to efficiently quantify travel distances to their parks, the timing and duration of visits, and opinions about park features for use in management decisions.
Bradley Johnson (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Chanae Ottley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Florida A&M University, email@example.com;