Search (and rescue) for the ultimate selfie: How the use of social media and smartphone technology have affected human behaviour in outdoor recreation scenarios

Date created: 
Outdoor recreation
Risk perception
Search and Rescue services
Smartphone technology
Social media

The practice of outdoor recreation was historically a form of therapy and escape from the rigors of modern industrial daily work-life, and it remains a favored pastime today, with 70% of Canadians and 91% of British Columbia residents participating in “outdoor recreation or wilderness activities”. In recent years, there is a belief that the surge in popularity of hiking is due to beautiful destinations becoming more visible on social media. Further, the proximity of urban centres like Vancouver to such destinations reassures users that the safety benefits of urban technologies including smartphones, will remain accessible and reliable throughout their outdoor exploration and that help is available in the event of an emergency. This belief has led to many instances of Search and Rescue teams being activated, which would previously have been avoided by outdoor recreation participants making different choices based on their skill and experience. The culture of outdoor recreation has therefore been increasingly affected by smartphone technology in terms of users’ risk perception while recreating outdoors.

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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Peter Anderson
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.