This week, Yan Chen, an MES candidate with our Energy project is presenting her work at the Social Media and Society Conference in Toronto. She is using Instagram to understand how young citizens feel about areas affected by hydroelectric proposals. In general, young people can be difficult to engage in conventional means by proponents or researchers of landscape change. Over the past year, Yan has collected geotagged Instagram photographs from the geographic areas around the Mactaquac Dam headpond on the Saint John River, in NB, and the Site C dam on the Peace River, BC. These are interesting parallel cases. The first is a dam that may have to be removed, the second a dam that has been approved for construction; both the third on their river reaches, of a similar size, inundated area, etc. She is coding the images to understand the lifestyle of young people in each region (leveraging the bias in this social media site towards the under-35), and how they might be affected by potential landscape scenarios.
Being a social media conference, the online abstracts allow individuals attending the conference to tag the presentations they plan to attend. Already, seven people have expressed interest in Yan’s ‘work in progress’ talk on this work tomorrow, including our own Carlisle Kent, summer intern on the HM project who is based at the Social Media Lab at Ryerson organizing the event, and that is behind the Netlytic software Yan is using in her work.