• Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Examine reveals social media content material opens new frontiers for sustainability science researchers


Mar 17, 2023

A virtuous cycle for social media (SM) information and sustainability via transparency, inclusivity, and accountable information use. Credit score: One Earth (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

With greater than half of the world’s inhabitants lively on social media networks, user-generated information has proved to be fertile floor for social scientists who research attitudes in regards to the atmosphere and sustainability.

However a number of challenges threaten the success of what is often known as social media information science. The first concern, in response to a brand new research from a world analysis crew, is proscribed entry to information ensuing from restrictive phrases of service, shutdown of platforms, information manipulation, censorship and rules.

The research, printed within the journal One Earth, is the primary recognized to judge the scope of environmental social media analysis and its potential to remodel sustainability science. The 17-member analysis crew analyzed 415 research, printed between 2011 and 2021, that examined social media content material associated to the atmosphere.

“Concepts about local weather change and the environment are more and more coming from social media,” mentioned Derek Van Berkel, assistant professor on the College of Michigan’s College for Atmosphere and Sustainability and one of many research’ three lead authors. “On-line communities like Reddit, or just information tales shared by your mates on Fb, have turn out to be digital landscapes the place many concepts are formed and shaped.”

Understanding how these concepts are formed aids science communicators in honing environmental messaging and prompts them to fill gaps the place data is missing or misrepresented.

Regardless of the potential public advantages of social media information science, the authors argue, present enterprise fashions of social media platforms have generated a vicious cycle through which person information is handled as a non-public asset that may be bought or offered for revenue. This has raised public concern and distrust of social media corporations, resulting in a higher demand for extra regulation.

The research helps the thought of changing this vicious cycle with a “virtuous cycle.”

“A virtuous cycle requires the collaboration of SM corporations, researchers, and the general public,” mentioned co-lead research writer Johannes Langemeyer from the Institute of Environmental Science and Know-how on the Autonomous College of Barcelona.

“For his or her half, sustainability researchers can foster extra belief and cooperation by embracing excessive moral requirements. Inclusivity, transparency, privateness safety, and accountable use of the info are key necessities—and can result in an improved standardization of analysis practices shifting ahead,” Langemeyer mentioned.

A promising instance of cooperation from a social media platform was initiated in January 2021 when Twitter set a brand new commonplace for broader entry to researchers by introducing a brand new tutorial analysis product observe, which for the primary time allowed free full-archive searches for authorized researchers.

Such an strategy may have served as a mannequin for wider open entry throughout social media platforms. However confirming the fears of researchers, Twitter just lately introduced that as of Feb. 9, 2023, the corporate will now not assist free entry.

“SM information has the potential to usher in a revolution within the present practices of sustainability analysis, particularly within the social sciences, with an influence on par with that of Earth commentary within the environmental sciences,” mentioned co-lead research writer Andrea Ghermandi from the Division of Pure Assets and Environmental Administration on the College of Haifa in Israel.

The research concludes that social media information assessments can assist the 2015 U.N. Sustainable Growth Objectives that function a common name to motion to finish poverty, shield the planet, and be certain that by 2030 all individuals take pleasure in peace and prosperity.

“Reaching the U.N. Sustainable Growth Objectives would require large-scale, multi-country efforts in addition to granular information for tailoring sustainability efforts,” the research authors wrote.

“The shared values and objectives of working for a sustainable future might present widespread floor for the cooperation wanted to totally understand the contribution that SM information affords.”

Extra data:
Andrea Ghermandi et al, Social media information for environmental sustainability: A important evaluate of alternatives, threats, and moral use, One Earth (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

Journal data:
One Earth

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