Youth and Social Media

June 29, 2014 Posted by: Dakota McCoy

It has been a pleasure watching the interns grow, develop and achieve all that they have. This is my third summer working at Badlands National Park, and I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing teens, providing guidance whenever needed.


This summer, my work focuses on how to best use park social media to reach a special group of people: teens. Today in our society, I find that our younger generation stares expectantly at their smartphones or smart devices awaiting incoming texts, or pop-up notifications that they’ve received 10 or more likes on their recently posted photograph to Instagram. To keep up with these new trends, I decided to create an official Instagram account for Badlands National Park (@BadlandsNPS).


Fifteen years ago, if you wanted to go hiking in Badlands National Park you would have had to visit the park in person. Today, through the use of technology, you can hike virtually through the park. Technology is advancing faster than I can blink, and connectivity is more prevalent than ever before. In order to connect our visitors to parks, we post to Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, YouTube, and now Instagram. Social media not only updates everyone on what is happening in our park, but it allows us to capture the attention of teens.


The teenage interns I am working alongside this summer are constantly reminding me what the new “cool” apps, words/phrases, and even what the coolest hashtags are at the moment. Although I am nearing the age of 23, I feel as if I am already behind the times, but I do my best to keep up! All in all, it has been a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of interns. I only hope that I am impacting their lives as much as they are impacting mine, especially by helping me with my “cool” factor.


Dakota McCoy, Park Ranger


Earl Henry and Jayden engage with the next generation of young learners by swearing in a new Junior Ranger:

9 Comments Comments icon

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  9. July 02, 2014 at 11:50

    Very interesting read! Love the twitters.

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Last updated: April 10, 2015

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