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Social Networks, Awareness and Behavioral Modification to Reduce Air Pollution and Carbon Footprint: the Claircity Project in Liguria Region

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The paper discusses the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to promote the activities of the ClairCity project in Genova area and to increase awareness and induce behavioral modification to reduce Air Pollution and Carbon Footprint. The activities are implemented in the frame of Horizon 2020 Project ClairCity, a four year project (2016-2020) working directly with citizens and local authorities in six countries around Europe. From the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, great attention has been devoted to reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions at the international level and specific initiatives at city level have been launched. At the same time despite continued efforts to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants, air pollution remains a worldwide concern, including in large areas of Europe, particularly in cities where the effects on human health are the major concerns. The project start from the consideration that city citizens' behaviour and day-today activities are crucial element to modify to achieve the goal of reducing air pollution. To promote ClairCity across a broad range of residents in each partner city and beyond, a suite of social media tools are running. Particular attention is devoted to the use of local Facebook groups to disseminate the information. Analytic instruments are used to evaluate the penetration of the information between the local population while results on direct participation of citizens to surveys and meetings are used to evaluate the follow up of the social media actions. The conclusion is that, while a traditional use of social networks is useful to spread the results of the project between the scientific community and the technicians involved in the work, the population is hardly made aware. To increase awareness, it is necessary to bring communication where the population is most easily reachable. To this end, an activity aimed at Facebook groups that are of local interest and are directly managed by citizens is an important tool for spreading project ideas and involving non-professional people.
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Sustainable Development and Planning 2018
10th International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning
4 - 6 September, 2018
Siena, Italy
SOCIAL NETWORKS, AWARENESS AND BEHAVIORAL
MODIFICATION TO REDUCE AIR POLLUTION AND
CARBON FOOTPRINT: THE CLAIRCITY PROJECT IN
LIGURIA REGION
CARLO TROZZI, RITA VACCARO, MART INA TROZZI
Techne Consulting srl, Via G. Ricci Curbastro, 34 00149 Roma, Italy
ABSTRACT
The paper discusses the use of social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to promote the activities
of the ClairCity project in Genova area and to increase awareness and induce behavioral modification
to reduce Air Pollution and Carbon Footprint. The activities are implemented in the frame of Horizon
2020 Project ClairCity, a four year project (2016-2020) working directly with citizens and local
authorities in six countries around Europe. From the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, great attention has been devoted to reducing
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions at the international level and specific initiatives
at city level have been launched. At the same time despite continued efforts to reduce emissions of
harmful air pollutants, air pollution remains a worldwide concern, including in large areas of Europe,
particularly in cities where the effects on human health are the major concerns. The project start from
the consideration that city citizens’ behaviour and day-to-day activities are crucial element to modify
to achieve the goal of reducing air pollution. To promote ClairCity across a broad range of residents in
each partner city and beyond, a suite of social media tools are running. Particular attention is devoted
to the use of local Facebook groups to disseminate the information. Analytic instruments are used to
evaluate the penetration of the information between the local population while results on direct
participation of citizens to surveys and meetings are used to evaluate the follow up of the social media
actions. The conclusion is that, while a traditional use of social networks is useful to spread the results
of the project between the scientific community and the technicians involved in the work, the population
is hardly made aware. To increase awareness, it is necessary to bring communication where the
population is most easily reachable. To this end, an activity aimed at Facebook groups that are of local
interest and are directly managed by citizens is an important tool for spreading project ideas and
involving non-professional people.
1 INTRODUCTION
ClairCity [1] is a four year project (2016-2020) developed in the frame of Horizon 2020 [2]
working directly with citizens and local authorities in six countries around Europe. There are
sixteen partner organisations involved in the project.
Two decades of established emissions inventories and evolving modelling practices
across the EU have only taken air quality management and carbon reduction strategies so far.
It can be argued that this is because the policy and methodologies used have, for a number of
reasons, led us towards attempts to reduce emissions predominantly through technical
measures, and away from changing the way our societies and cities operate and function.
ClairCity project apportions air pollution emissions and concentrations, carbon footprints
and health outcomes by city citizens’ behaviour and day-to-day activities in order to make
these challenges relevant to how people chose to live behave and interact within their city
environment. Clai rCi ty uses six pilot cities/regions (Amsterdam, NL; Bristol, UK; Aveiro,
PT; Liguria, IT; Ljubljana, SI; and Sosnowiec, PO).
The paper discusses the use of social network to disseminate the information and directly
involve the citizens.
Particular attention is devoted to the use of local Facebook groups to disseminate the
information and to the use of sponsored posts.
Analytic instruments are used to evaluate the penetration of the information between the
local population while results on direct participation of citizens to surveys and meetings are
used to evaluate the follow up of the social media actions.
In the paper a first balance of activities in Liguria Region (Genoa) is reported and
discussed with focus on social media use.
2 CLAIRCITY PROJECT
ClairCity [3] apportions air pollution emissions and concentrations, carbon footprints and
health outcomes by city citizens’ behaviour and day-to-day activities in order to make these
challenges relevant to how people chose to live and behave and interact within their city
environment.
Through an innovative engagement and quantification toolkit, the project stimulates the
public engagement necessary to allow citizens to define a range of future city scenarios for
reducing their emissions to be used for supporting and informing the development of bespoke
city policy packages out to 2050.
Using six pilot cities/regions (Amsterdam, NL; Bristol, UK; Aveiro, PT; Liguria, IT;
Ljubljana, SI; and Sosnowiec, PO), ClairCity source apportions current
emissions/concentrations and carbon emissions not only by technology but by citizens’
activities, behavior and practices.
ClairCity explores and evaluates current local, national and international policy and
governance structures to better understand the immediate policy horizon and how that may
impact on citizens and their city’s future. Then, working with the new methods of source
apportionment to combine both baseline citizen and policy evidence, ClairCity uses
innovative engagement methods such as Games, an App and Citizen Days to inform and
empower citizens to understand the current challenges and then subsequently define their
own visions of their city’s future based on how their want to live out to 2050. The impact of
these citizen-led future city scenarios is analysed, to develop city specific policy packages in
which the clean-air, low-carbon, healthy future, as democratically defined by the city citizens,
is described and quantified.
The results of the ClairCity process are evaluated to provide policy lessons at city,
national and EU levels. Additionally, the toolkit structure is developed for all EU cities with
more than 50,000 citizens establishing a basis to roll out the ClairCity process across Europe.
3 CLAIRCITY SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE PRESENCE
ClairCity works across six cities in Europe to engage the public on issues of air pollution,
carbon emissions and the future of their cities and regions. Core to the project are a set of
innovative tools that will allow city residents to participate in understanding the problem,
visioning the future and backcasting to achieve results for their city.
To promote ClairCity across a broad range of residents in each partner city and beyond,
the project are running a suite of online and social media tools [4]. ClairCity has set up
accounts on relevant platforms, and project partners collaborate to manage the use and
development of online dissemination.
The project website is www.claircity.eu (Figure 1); complete by October 2016, it contains
Portuguese, English, Slovenian, Polish and Italian sections to incorporate visitors from our
partner cities and beyond. It hosts more detailed information on our project design and
information on future outputs.
The website links to ClairCity social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook (Figure
2). Twitter handle is @claircity https://twitter.com/ClairCity and the project has a publicly
accessible Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClairCity/. As activities are launched
in multiple countries local social media accounts are opened in the different countries.
Figure 1- ClairCity website
The social media accounts are used to direct people to ClairCity website content and
events, but are also used to highlight (through direct Tweets or Retweets) appropriate content
which aligns with project Key Messages. Consortium. Videos resulting from the project are
stored on YouTube and embedded into the ClairCity website. Sharing of content is
encouraged using Twitter and Facebook.
Figure 2 - ClairCity Twitter and Facebook accounts
4 CLAIRCITY CITIZENS AND STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
The communication strategy introduced in the previous chapter is an important instrument to
support one of the most important primary objective of the project: to engage key
stakeholders across all of our partner cities from different European regions to give them the
platform to generate their vision for a low carbon, clean air futures.
Figure 3 - ClairCity engagement activity
This goal is supported by specific task objectives that include:
utilization of DELPHI process to engage citizens and stakeholder and give them a
platform to describe their personal future visions of their city;
to create serious game experience to actively engage city citizens and stakeholders with
an enhanced understanding of the air quality and carbon issues within cities as through
games technology, ownership of the problem and exploration of a diverse range of
decisions and solution pathways is possible:
o Exposure to the challenge of city air quality, carbon management and citizen
health
o An ability for stakeholders to create, visualise and share their progress to 2050
o Utilise decision pathways to inform or generate stakeholder dialogue
o Package data for the foundations of a Decision Support System
to give the user awareness of their personal exposure and possible health effects and to
give a tool where the user gets an understanding of personal contribution to air quality
and carbon footprint and change behaviour to reduce impacts and decrease adverse
health effects;
to empower citizens to better understand the specific challenges and opportunities that
their city currently offers and engage them into moving towards improved air quality,
reduced carbon footprints and decreased health risks.
The following steps are undergoing about engagement activities:
Citizen Delphi Engagement
Stakeholder Dialogue Workshop
ClairCity Game
ClairCity App
Schools Competition
City Days and film production.
5 DELPHI PROCESS
Delphi is a method for solving complex problems by asking for people’s (usually experts’)
opinions. The process happens in several stages or rounds. The aim is to draw on a wide
range of opinions to eventually arrive at a consensus leading to one solution, or alternatively
a dissensus that leads to multiple solutions with a number of competing views.
It’s different to usual consultation approaches as respondents are not presented with a
preconceived idea at the outset, and it helps to ensure that everyone’s opinion is included.
The Citizen Delphi Engagement used three rounds:
1. Public Engagement and Questionnaire 1The first round intend to determine, in
broad terms, citizens’ main “days to days” activities, their concerns and their views
on a range of open questions. Particularly the citizens responded about what they
like about their city, how they would improve over the next 35 years and
successively to specific questions about their travel during the day and the home
heating.
2. Questionnaire 2 – The second round asks respondents to reflect on themes arising
from Round 1 through participating in an “online only” questionnaire. This round
is about beginning to shape consensus/dissensus around common themes. It enables
respondents to think about the themes highlighted by respondents in Round 1. In the
Questionnaire 2 there are some questions on from the activity-based travel/home
heating, other city specific questions from Round 1, others ask to the respondents to
state whether they agree or disagree with a set of ambitious policy measures that
would affect their day-to-day activities. Questions are mainly closed (multiple
choice).
3. Delphi Workshop – In the third round, a representative sub-group of Round 2
participants were invited to attend the Delphi workshop. At the workshop,
participants were presented with information about air quality, climate change and
health. They will also be presented with the responses to the Round 2 questionnaire
and asked to consider how the ambitious policy measures would affect their lives if
implemented, and how their implementation could be facilitated.
6 SOCIAL MEDIA AND CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT
In recent years, many works have analysed the relationships between social media and citizen
engagement [5] [6], also related to environmental issues [7][8][9]. Special attention was
devoted to specific social group such as students [10] and more generally young people [11]
and to the role of influential individuals [12]. Also the relationships between self-reported
and objective measures of pro-environmental behaviour were investigated [13][14].
In Skoric and others [5] meta-analytic study, that reviews empirical research published
from 2007 to 2013, the authors conclude that all statistically significant findings suggest a
positive relationship between social media use and engagement and only a handful of
negative, non-significant findings have been reported. The results suggest that the use of
social media generally has a positive relationship with engagement and its three sub-
categories, that is, social capital, civic engagement, and political participation. More
specifically, they find small-to-medium size positive relationships between expressive,
informational, and relational uses of social media and the above indicators of citizen
engagement. For identity-oriented and entertainment-oriented uses of social media, their
analyses find little evidence supporting their relationship with citizen engagement.
Also of interest in the analysis of results of social media campaigns is the association
between self-reported and objective pro-environmental behaviour. Kormos and Gifford [14]
conclude that their meta-analysis revealed a strong association between its, but, if our
ultimate goal is to help effect objective behaviour change, then we have much to gain by
focusing on establishing and improving self-report validity, as well as including more
objective measures, for the purposes of assessing pro-environmental behaviour. These
considerations we think can be applied also to social network generated interests and
effective behaviour changes engagement.
7 LIGURIA REGION CASE STUDY
The Social Network strategy in ClairCity project follows the different stage of citizens
engagement activities as described in section 4. Social network strategy has been designed
for Genova following the general indication of the project with some specificity for the local
situation.
In Italy, Internet penetration rates (defined as the number of internet users per 100 people)
is 62,1% following GlobalWebIndex forecasts [15].
7.1 Starting Social Network platforms
Profiles on social networks were opened in June 2017 in particular, Twitter and Facebook
were used. Then, in August 2017, an Instagram profile was also started.
In the following Figure 4, for Twitter, Figure 5, for Facebook, and Figure 6 for
Instagram the website page are reported.
The general appearance of the profiles is consistent with the graphics of the entire project,
each post contains images related to the territory involved (the Liguria region and the city of
Genoa), and the language of posts is always aimed at asking the opinion of citizens and the
solutions they propose to the problems raised rather than providing our solutions.
Figure 4 - ClairCity Liguria Twitter page
Figure 5- ClairCity Liguria Facebook page
Figure 6- ClairCity Liguria Instagram page
7.2 Twitter and Instagram statistics for the first period
The first period of presence on social networks was during the Citizen Delphi Engagement
Process described above.
In Figure 7 the cumulated statistics for Twitter number of tweets and impressions are
reported (right scale). On left scale the average impression by tweet is also reported. It’s
evident that a nearly constant average impressions by tweet is reported. Globally the profile
has 88 followers.
In Figure 8 the cumulated statistics for Instagram number of photos (right scale) and
impressions are reported (left scale). Globally the profile has 178 followers.
In both cases there does not seem to be any particular effect of the content of the
information on the correspondence of the public and the involvement is quite limited.
The strategy followed for the presence on Twitter and Instagram was very simple and
essentially informative with little interaction with people and no or little territorial focus. The
dissemination of profiles is essentially limited to the presence on other sites and traditional
media (press releases, posts, direct contacts, ...).
Figure 7- ClairCity Liguria Twitter statistics
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cumulated numer of tweets
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ClairCity Liguria Twitter statistics
Figure 8- ClairCity Liguria Instagram statistics
7.3 The presence on Facebook groups as a key element
Completely different is the situation for the Facebook campaign on which a much more
aggressive attitude has been followed.
While presence on Twitter and Instagram was based on passive posting on profile,
presence on Facebook was more aggressive and finalized to stimulated participation and
discussion about air pollution on the specific territory and measures on energy and traffic to
have a better air quality.
The planning of campaign on Facebook had a short initial period, similar to the presence
on other networks, and consistent with the traditional use of social networks to disseminate
the initiatives and events of the project.
After this phase a second phase was followed principally based on presence on Facebook
groups. Facebook defines the groups as follows: “Groups provide a space to communicate
about shared interests with certain people. You can create a group for anything your family
reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club — and customize the group's privacy
settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group.” [16]
A first screening was performed evaluating the groups that had an environmental, and
more generally social, background. It is clear that these groups are those that potentially
contain people who may be more sensitive to the ClairCity's environmental issues.
However, these groups are generally at national level and few groups deal with the
environment at a regional or municipal level. These groups are usually with limited
participation and made up of people already sensitive to environmental issues, while the goal
of ClairCity is to involve as many citizens as possible. Furthermore, it is necessary to make
another very important consideration for the objectives of the project, which, as mentioned
in the introduction, are those of change the way our societies and cities operate and function.
So, all the activities of public involvement must target ordinary people in order to influence
how people choose to live and interact within their city environment.
We globally joined 56 groups distributed as in the following Figure 7.
The main characteristics of the campaign is:
the frequency of posts is low (usually no more than 1 for week);
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cumulated photo numbers cumulated like numbers
ClairCity Liguria Instagram statistics
each post has a Genoa event photo or a design from the project;
each post is concise (max a few lines) and refers to the ClairCity website for
further documentation;
most of the posts raise problems on which the opinion of citizens is asked (for
example on how citizens move in the city or how they heat their homes);
some posts raise topics related to mobility much discussed by citizens (for
example concerning the “sopraelevata”: elevated road in central area of Genoa);
only informative posts for a few major events are released;
each post is shared in the groups.
Figure 9 - ClairCity Liguria Facebook groups joined by category
7.4 Facebook statistics for the first period
Globally, the Facebook page has about 300 likes that come for 95% from Italy and in
particular for 70% from the city of Genoa and 7% from the rest of Liguria region. The
distributions of likes between sex (F & M in the picture) and age class is reported in Figure
10.
Figure 10 - ClairCity Liguria Facebook likes by sex and age
0 5 10 15 20
Activi sm
Civil society
Commercial
Free pre ss
Local History Culture
Local Pictures
Professional/academic
Tou ris m/E ven ts
In Figure 11 are reported the cumulate reach and impressions by month. The reach is
the number of people for whom any content from the page or about the page entered their
screen. This includes posts, check-ins, ads, social information from people who interact
with the page and more (unique users).
The impressions are the number of times that any content from the page or about the page
entered a person's screen. This includes posts, check-ins, ads, social information from people
who interact with the page and more (total count).
The graph shows a very large participation of Facebook users, beyond any initial forecast.
Figure 11- ClairCity Liguria Facebook reach and impressions by month
7.5 Delphi process implementation
In order to promote the compilation of the questionnaires by citizens and the participation at
the Delphi Workshop, social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) were constantly used
by the ClairCity team during all the period of the surveys.
Particularly, the diffusion of the ClairCity project and of its different phases through the
social media has permitted to raise many people which then have acceded to the
questionnaires available on the ClairCity website.
Furthermore, some Associations and Organizations of Genoa opportunely contacted have
put on their Facebook pages the link to the survey.
That, together with the publicization on different institutional websites, direct contacts
and other activities has permitted to raise a very good result:
Round 1 Survey: 649 questionnaires (295 interviews and 354 online questionnaires)
Round 2 Survey: 763 online questionnaires
Round 3 Delphi Workshop: 19 people participated and discussed about the measures to
improve air quality and reduce carbon footprint in their city.
Totally, the number of people involved in the Delphi process is 1431. That is a very good
result, considering that the theme, whether important for the citizen’s life, is not so funny.
Next year, following the launch and playing by the citizens with the Game, the
Stakeholder Dialogue Workshop (SDW) will be implemented. The aim of the SDW is to
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Cumulated Reach Cumulated Impression s
synthesize the evidence streams from the ClairCity process such as the Delphi, Mutual
Learning Workshop and Game to allow city/region stakeholders to generate a number of
potential scenarios. This means examining the range of policy scenarios and checking that
they match with the ambitions from the Delphi and are viable according to policy. Also, these
activities will be publicized and diffused through social media, trying to continue to improve
the awareness of the citizens on these themes.
8 CONCLUSIONS
The project starts from the consideration that city citizens’ behaviour and day-to-day
activities are crucial element to modify to obtain the goal of reduce air pollution.
To promote ClairCity across a broad range of residents in each partner city and beyond,
a suite of social media tools are running. Particular attention is devoted to the use of local
Facebook groups to disseminate the information.
Analytic instruments are used to evaluate the penetration of the information between the
local population while results on direct participation of citizens to surveys and meetings are
used to evaluate the follow up of the social media actions.
The conclusion is that, while a traditional use of social networks is useful to spread the
results of the project between the scientific community and the technicians involved in the
work, the population is hardly made aware, to increase awareness, it is necessary to bring
communication where the population is most easily reachable. To this end, an activity aimed
at Facebook groups that are of local interest and are directly managed by citizens is an
important tool for spreading project ideas and involving non-professional people.
Finally, for the purposes of assessing effective behaviour changes of the citizens
behaviour induced by the project, also with social network activities, more objective
measures must be introduced in the future, with the evaluation of the effective reductions of
the pressure on air quality (air pollutant emissions) induced by the project.
Acknowledgement
The study was carried out in the frame of ClairCity project. The project has received funding
from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant
agreement No 689289.
REFERENCES
[1] European Commission, ClairCity, Community Research and Development Information
Service (CORDIS) Web Site, https://cordis.europa.eu/ project/rcn/202636_en.html,
Accessed on: 19 May 2018
[2] European Commission, Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and
Innovation, COM/2011/0808 final
[3] ClairCity Technical Summary, 2016
[4] Fogg Rogers, Laura, Corra Boushel, ClairCity social media and online presence,
ClairCity Project Deliverable D2.3, July 2016
[5] Skoric, Marko M, Qinfeng ZhuQ, Debbie Goh, Natalie Lee San Pang, Social media and
citizen engagement: A meta-analytic review. New Media & Society 18(9), 2015
[6] Näkki, Pirjo, Asta Bäck, Teemu Ropponen, Juha Kronqvist, Kari A. Hintikka, Auli
Harju, Reeta Pöyhtäri & Petri Kola, Social media for citizen participation. Report on
the Somus project, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2011
[7] Zhang, Nan, Marko M. Skoric, Media Use and Environmental Engagement: Examining
Differential Gains from News Media and Social Media, International Journal of
Communication 12, pp. 380–403, 2018
[8] Michele L. Barnes, John Lynham, Kolt, Social networks and environmental outcomes,
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[9] Mooney, Peter, Winstanley, Adam C., Corcoran, Padraig, Evaluating Twitter for Use
in Environmental Awareness Campaigns. Proceedings of the China-Ireland
information and communications technologies conference CIICT 2009, pp. 83-86
[10] Suraya Hamid, Mohamad Taha Ijab, Hidayah Sulaiman, Rina Md. Anwar, Azah A.
Norman, Social media for environmental sustainability awareness in higher education,
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[11] Beth A. Robelia, Christine Greenhow & Lisa Burton, Environmental learning in online
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[12] Brook Lyndhurst, The diffusion of environmental behaviours: The role of influential
individuals in social networks, http://www.brooklyndhurst.co.uk/the-diffusion-of-
environmental-behaviours-the-role-of-influential-individuals-in-social-networks-
_110/
[13] Miriam Fernandez, Lara S.G. Piccolo, Diana Maynard, Meia Wippoo, Christoph Meili,
Harith Alani, Talking Climate Change via Social Media: Communication, Engagement
and Behaviour, Open Research Online, http://oro.open.ac.uk/46530/1/Fernandez
WebSci 2016_v9.pdf
[14] Christine Kormos, Robert Gifford, The validity of self-report measures of
proenvironmental behavior: A meta-analytic review, Journal of Environmental
Psychology 40, pp.359-37, 2014
[15] GlobalWebIndex’s flagship report on the latest trends in social media, 2018,
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20NEW.pdf?t=1533905238694
[16] Facebook. About groups https://www.facebook.com/help/1629740080681586/
?helpref=hc_fnav
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Reeta Pöyhtäri & Petri Kola, Social media for citizen participation
  • Pirjo Näkki
  • Asta Bäck
  • Teemu Ropponen
  • Juha Kronqvist
  • Kari A Hintikka
  • Auli Harju
Näkki, Pirjo, Asta Bäck, Teemu Ropponen, Juha Kronqvist, Kari A. Hintikka, Auli Harju, Reeta Pöyhtäri & Petri Kola, Social media for citizen participation. Report on the Somus project, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 2011
  • Nan Zhang
  • Marko M Skoric
Zhang, Nan, Marko M. Skoric, Media Use and Environmental Engagement: Examining Differential Gains from News Media and Social Media, International Journal of Communication 12, pp. 380-403, 2018
Evaluating Twitter for Use in Environmental Awareness Campaigns
  • Peter Mooney
  • Adam C Winstanley
  • Padraig Corcoran
Mooney, Peter, Winstanley, Adam C., Corcoran, Padraig, Evaluating Twitter for Use in Environmental Awareness Campaigns. Proceedings of the China-Ireland information and communications technologies conference CIICT 2009, pp. 83-86
The diffusion of environmental behaviours: The role of influential individuals in social networks
  • Brook Lyndhurst
Brook Lyndhurst, The diffusion of environmental behaviours: The role of influential individuals in social networks, http://www.brooklyndhurst.co.uk/the-diffusion-ofenvironmental-behaviours-the-role-of-influential-individuals-in-social-networks-_110/