Social Media

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH — The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in southern Utah — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

Horseshoe Bend
Shepard4711 / CC BY 2.0

Parking at a spot near the edge of an Arizona canyon where the Colorado River makes a sharp U-turn now comes at a cost. You can blame that mostly on social media.

Countless posts have celebrated the wonder of Horseshoe Bend, where the bluish-green river takes a 270-degree turn just outside the town of Page, near the Utah border.

The U.S. has long exported its culture abroad — think Coca-Cola, Hollywood and hip-hop. Facebook was once praised for spreading free-speech values. But the world is pushing back with different values, which Facebook is importing to the U.S. with the company's ban on white extremist content.

Ranchers and farmers living in the Mountain West are vulnerable to all kinds of things—drought, fluctuating crop prices, trade wars—and in part because of those things - depression and suicide. But there's some help out there, from an unlikely source.

Courtesy of CSU

A new safety campaign from Colorado State University’s communications and natural resources departments is teaching national park visitors about safe selfies.

The Safe Wildlife Distance program includes educational materials for park staff, as well as ads and social media campaigns explaining how to get a good photo of wild animals without putting yourself -- or the animal -- at risk.

“Potentially people didn’t know what a safe distance was,” said Katie Abrams, an assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Journalism and Media Communication. “So, they would look to try to read the cues of the wildlife and see if they could make a determination or they would approach the wildlife to a distance that felt safe to them.”

Karlie Huckels / KUNC

The news that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to develop political ads has reignited a national discussion about expectations of privacy online. A new study from the University of Colorado Boulder turns the focus to another social media giant: Twitter. The study found that 62 percent of Twitter users were unaware their tweets are freely available to researchers.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

It’s safe to say that 2016 has taken a toll on pop culture. It began in January with the loss of singer David Bowie to cancer, and ended this week – hopefully -- with the deaths of ‘Star Wars’ actress Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.

Now a persistent theme has cropped up on social media - the call to dump this ‘dumpster fire’ of a year that has claimed some of our most beloved icons. University of Colorado Associate Professor of Media Studies Rick Stevens spoke with KUNC about why so many of us are taking these losses personally.

“David Bowie is a huge loss for people who love music or who grew up listening to certain messages within that music,” Stevens said. “That kind of loss affects people very personally.”

Colorado Senate GOP / Flickr - Creative Commons

Several police reform measures are making their way through the statehouse, and lawmakers are also looking at how best to address the problem of teenagers sexting. We asked two reporters working under the gold dome to review the week that was.

Viral Old MacDonald Video Hits Sour Note With Farmers

Mar 12, 2015
Only Organic / YouTube

Nothing conjures bucolic, pastoral farm imagery like a group of kids singing along to “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” You know the words: He has a farm and on that farm he has some animals. E-I-E-I-O.

The nursery rhyme is iconic. It rouses a certain kind of nostalgia. Tamper with the formula to stir up some emotions, and you’re begging for a slugfest.

Erin O'Toole / KUNC

Rocky Mountain National Park officially turns 100 years old Jan. 26. On this date in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation establishing the park. A century ago, the word ‘selfie’ didn’t exist in its current form. But these days lots of people are taking the opportunity to pose in front of park signs commemorating the Centennial.

“The signs are already very, very photographed with people in front of them – and even more so now with this great little ‘100th’ banner on the bottom,” said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson. “We’ll take that off in 2016 – so it’s a great experience for memories to be made, and to say ‘I was there’ at the Park’s 100th anniversary.”