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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

The quest for "nature" in selfies: how platforms shape nature/society relationships

Rodl, Malte; Haider, Jutta; Joosse, Sofie


Social media and other platforms have become an essential part of outdoor activities as they influence how nature is experienced and engaged with, but also what good nature is seen as. In this article, we explore how social understandings of nature and digital technologies are mutually performed. Using the empirical case of nature selfies-an archetype of imagery on social media platforms-posted on Instagram, Facebook, and Tripadvisor, and a small participatory "breaching experiment" aimed at collecting "ugly nature selfies," we analyse and interrogate nature/society relationships displayed online within the platform contexts of attention economy and affordances. We conclude that nature selfies reinforce the desirability of consuming "beautiful" nature, while attention economy and platform affordances limit the possibilities for alternative nature/society relationships to be developed and promoted.


Attention economy; affordances; selfies; human-nature relationships; outdoor experiences

Published in

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management
2024, Volume: 67, number: 9, pages: 1928-1951