Visiting a Park is as Good as Christmas Morning.

Social Media in the Park

We all know getting out to a park makes us feel a little bit less stressed… but is that effect real and measurable? A group of innovative researchers came up with an ingenious way to answer those questions. 

Studying the social media posts of thousands of people, the University of Vermont. smarties analyzed the likely mood (something they call “sentiment analysis”) of the poster. They compared various events throughout the year, various locations, and various times of day. The results were captivating: when people visited local city parks, they were happier than they were on Christmas morning

Social posts were less likely to include “me” language or negative words and far more likely to include positive ideas and sentiment. 

So, Let’s Get People to the Parks

We’ve long known that parks make us happy, but now we’ve got the science to back it up… but what do we do with it? I suppose, “get more people out to the park,” goes without saying. Here are 3 simple steps to commit your community to more and better activity and elevate everyone’s mood. 

Post Pre-Made Workouts for All Ages
Using a park might seem easy to those of us more inclined to be active, but it’s still a mystery for many people in your community. Sure, they’ll go to a park, but if they don’t know what to do when they’re there, they might not return.

We suggest posting a few workout challenges for people of all ages. A flat walking mile; a hilly trail run; a fun search-and-find for kids looking to explore. Put them up on your website, on social media, post them on signs, and make them into Playon activities. Feeling tech-savvy? Try making guided routes on Strava, MapMyRun, AllTrails, and others. 

Social Media Challenges
Leverage the very tool we’re hoping people might put down for a while at the park: social media. Challenge your community to varying levels of adventure with your parks. Get users posting selfies at your 3 most popular parks to enter a drawing. Post your kid on the playground for a chance to get $100 sports scholarship at the local YMCA. You can get fun and creative with it. 

Do a “Get Active Strategic Plan” 
At Playon we’ve been building plans tailored to communities who want to get more active. These plans can be smaller endeavors, building on a larger strategic plan that you might have in place. They define goals, baselines, and use an assessment to create smart strategies aimed to get folks out there and in the underused parks. 

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