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Crowdsourcing and analysing wildlife tourism data from photographs shared on social media

Walker, O., Simpson, G.D., Teo, A.C.K. and Newsome, D. (2019) Crowdsourcing and analysing wildlife tourism data from photographs shared on social media. Preprints 2019 .

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The first two decades of the 21st-century have seen the emergence of the modern citizen science movement, increased demand for niche eco and wildlife tourism experiences, and the willingness of people to voluntarily share information and photographs online. To varying extents, the rapid growth of these three phenomena has been driven by the availability of portable smart devices, access to the Web 2.0 internet from almost anywhere on the planet, and the development of applications and services, including social media/networking sites (SNSs). In addition, the number of peer-reviewed publications that explore how text and images shared on SNSs can be data-mined for academic research has surged in recent years. This systematic quantitative review has two goals. The first goal is to provide an oversight of how the photographs that ecotourists share online are contributing to wildlife tourism research. The second goal is to promote the emerging photovoice technique as a theoretical context for social research based on the photographs and comments that ecotourists share on SNSs. From the perspectives of community benefits, conservation behaviours, and environmental education, there are many similarities between authentic ecotourism experiences and quality ecological citizen science programs. Much of the literature regarding the theory and practice of citizen science reports on the difficulties of attracting, training, motivating and retaining community members. The synthesis of this review is that crowdsourcing wildlife and tourism data from comments and photographs that ecotourists share on SNSs is a credible method of research that provides a self-replenishing pool of citizen scientists.

Item Type: Non-refereed Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2019 MDPI
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