• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Study shows social media content material material opens new frontiers for sustainability science researchers


Mar 17, 2023

A virtuous cycle for social media (SM) info and sustainability by suggests of transparency, inclusivity, and accountable info use. Credit: A single Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

With extra than half of the world’s population active on social media networks, user-generated info has proved to be fertile ground for social scientists who study attitudes about the atmosphere and sustainability.

But various challenges threaten the accomplishment of what is recognized as social media info science. The major concern, according to a new study from an international study group, is restricted access to info resulting from restrictive terms of service, shutdown of platforms, info manipulation, censorship and regulations.

The study, published in the journal A single Earth, is the 1st recognized to evaluate the scope of environmental social media study and its potential to transform sustainability science. The 17-member study group analyzed 415 analysis, published involving 2011 and 2021, that examined social media content material material connected to the atmosphere.

“Ideas about climate transform and our atmosphere are increasingly coming from social media,” pointed out Derek Van Berkel, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s College for Atmosphere and Sustainability and a single of the study’ three lead authors. “On the web communities like Reddit, or merely news stories shared by your pals on Facebook, have develop to be digital landscapes precisely exactly where a lot of recommendations are shaped and formed.”

Understanding how these recommendations are shaped aids science communicators in honing environmental messaging and prompts them to fill gaps precisely exactly where information is lacking or misrepresented.

Regardless of the potential public rewards of social media info science, the authors argue, current enterprise models of social media platforms have generated a vicious cycle in which user info is treated as a private asset that can be purchased or sold for profit. This has raised public concern and mistrust of social media providers, prime to a larger demand for extra regulation.

The study supports the believed of replacing this vicious cycle with a “virtuous cycle.”

“A virtuous cycle demands the collaboration of SM providers, researchers, and the public,” pointed out co-lead study author Johannes Langemeyer from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technologies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

“For their aspect, sustainability researchers can foster extra trust and cooperation by embracing larger ethical needs. Inclusivity, transparency, privacy protection, and accountable use of the info are vital requirements—and will lead to an enhanced standardization of study practices moving forward,” Langemeyer pointed out.

A promising instance of cooperation from a social media platform was initiated in January 2021 when Twitter set a new standard for broader access to researchers by introducing a new academic study item track, which for the 1st time permitted no price total-archive searches for authorized researchers.

Such an approach could have served as a model for wider open access across social media platforms. But confirming the fears of researchers, Twitter not as well lengthy ago announced that as of Feb. 9, 2023, the corporation will no longer help no price access.

“SM info has the potential to usher in a revolution in the current practices of sustainability study, especially in the social sciences, with an impact on par with that of Earth observation in the environmental sciences,” pointed out co-lead study author Andrea Ghermandi from the Division of All-organic Sources and Environmental Management at the University of Haifa in Israel.

The study concludes that social media info assessments can help the 2015 U.N. Sustainable Improvement Targets that serve as a universal get in touch with to action to finish poverty, defend the planet, and make positive that by 2030 all men and women get pleasure from peace and prosperity.

“Attaining the U.N. Sustainable Improvement Targets will demand large-scale, multi-nation efforts as efficiently as granular info for tailoring sustainability efforts,” the study authors wrote.

“The shared values and objectives of functioning for a sustainable future could present widespread ground for the cooperation expected to completely realize the contribution that SM info delivers.”

Far far more information:
Andrea Ghermandi et al, Social media info for environmental sustainability: A essential evaluation of possibilities, threats, and ethical use, A single Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

Journal information:
A single Earth

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