Social media can encourage tourists to make more sustainable choices

phys.org | 11/1/2019 | Staff
Cayley1561Cayley1561 (Posted by) Level 3
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Social media is often blamed for creating all kinds of pressure. However, not all social media pressures are necessarily bad, as they can encourage us to behave in a manner that is more sustainable than before.

In tourism, social media has traditionally been used as a tool for marketing, but it can also influence our consumer behavior and to nudge us in the direction of increasingly sustainable choices. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Southern California have analyzed the role of social media in the reduction of food waste in tourism. This line of research is a fresh opening and a much needed one, considering that food waste has been identified as the most prominent type of hospitality waste.

Media - Tool - Norms - Things - Media

"Social media is a powerful tool and it defines many of our social norms. Things that are trending on social media influence the way we behave as consumers," Research Manager Juho Pesonen from the University of Eastern Finland says.

Sweden made the headlines earlier this year, following a plummet in the country's air passenger numbers. We also witnessed social media campaigns exposing celebrities who, despite climate change, had the nerve and audacity to travel by air. Flight shame as a phenomenon and as a term was born. According to Pesonen, something similar could also emerge around food waste.

Food - Role - Media - Something - People

"Food plays a tremendous role on social media. It is no longer something that people eat to ease their hunger; instead, it has become part of lifestyle. Instagram, for example, is filled with hashtags relating to foodporn. When a topic gains much visibility, it is also possible to influence attitudes relating to it," Pesonen notes.

In other words, there could be a shift from overwhelming abundance and plentiful buffets towards a more conscious attitude and sustainability.

Research - Order

"We need more research in order to understand...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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