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Information technology and the optimisation of experience - The role of mobile devices and social media in human-nature interactions

Arts, Irma and Fischer, Anke and Duckett, Dominic and van der Wal, Rene and van der Wal, René (2021). Information technology and the optimisation of experience - The role of mobile devices and social media in human-nature interactions. Geoforum. 122 , 55-62
[Research article]

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Abstract

Information technologies have seeped their way into every aspect of our lives, mediating interactions between ourselves and our environments. They are becoming an important part of human-nature interactions, with smartphones, their apps and social media offering new ways to plan, navigate and share experiences. This article explores the changes that these mobile media technologies bring to human-nature interactions, focusing on the outdoor practices of experienced outdoor users. Drawing on observational and interview data gathered in the Scottish Highlands, we analysed hillwalkers', mountain bikers' and nature photographers' interactions with mobile media technology. Using social practice theory and the idea of technologies as 'scripts', we found that the increased availability of information reportedly enhanced access to, confidence in and knowledge about outdoor practices. Participants negotiated the use of devices within social norms of good practice, but generally showed enthusiasm for the ever-increasing access to information. The easy access to information and the ability to share one's performance, inscripted in the technology, guided the participants to optimise their experience. Paradoxically, this optimisation seemed to reduce the likelihood of encountering unanticipated situations that would have made their experience memorable, something our participants had previusly identified as an important aspect of their outdoor activities. Our findings illustrate the value of an in-depth empirical understanding of lived experiences, revealing how interactions between technological scripts, personal agency and social norms amplify some aspects of human-nature interactions while attenuating others. Although incremental, these changes fundamentally alter the character of our experience of nature.

Authors/Creators:Arts, Irma and Fischer, Anke and Duckett, Dominic and van der Wal, Rene and van der Wal, René
Title:Information technology and the optimisation of experience - The role of mobile devices and social media in human-nature interactions
Series Name/Journal:Geoforum
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:122
Page range:55-62
Number of Pages:8
Publisher:PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
ISSN:0016-7185
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 507 Social and Economic Geography > Human Geography
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 2 Engineering and Technology > 211 Other Engineering and Technologies > Interaction Technologies
Keywords:Mobile media, Human-nature interaction, Outdoor practice, Digitisation, Smartphones
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112220
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-112220
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.03.009
Web of Science (WoS)000649833400006
ID Code:24502
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:10 Jun 2021 16:23
Metadata Last Modified:10 Jun 2021 16:31

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