Talking Climate Change via Social Media: Communication, Engagement and Behaviour

Fernandez, Miriam; Piccolo, Lara S. G.; Maynard, Diana; Wippoo, Meia; Meili, Christoph and Alani, Harith (2016). Talking Climate Change via Social Media: Communication, Engagement and Behaviour. In: WebSci '16 Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Web Science, ACM, New York, USA, pp. 85–94.



While individual behaviour change is considered a central strategy to mitigate climate change, public engagement is still limited. Aiming to raise awareness, and to promote behaviour change, governments and organisations are conducting multiple pro-environmental campaigns, particularly via social media. However, to the best of our knowledge, these campaigns are neither based on, nor do they take advantage of, the existing theories and studies of behaviour change, to better target and inform users. In this paper we propose an approach for analysing user behaviour towards climate change based on the 5 Doors Theory of behaviour change. Our approach automatically identifies five behavioural stages in which users are based on their social media contributions. This approach has been applied to analyse the online behaviour of participants of the Earth Hour 2015 and COP21 Twitter movements. Results of our analysis are used to provide guidelines on how to improve communication via these campaigns.

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