Pro-Environmental Campaigns via Social Media: Analysing Awareness and Behaviour Patterns



Published Oct 16, 2017
  • Miriam Fernandez
  • Lara Piccolo
  • Harith Alani
  • Diana Maynard
  • Christop Meili
  • Meia Wippoo


Changing people's behaviour with regards to energy consumption is often regarded as key to mitigating climate change. To this end, endless campaigns have been run by governments and environmental organisations to engage and raise awareness of the public, and to promote behaviour change. Nowadays, many of such campaigns expand to social media, in the hope of increasing their reach and impact. However, and in spite of persistent efforts, public engagement with these campaigns tend to be rather underwhelming. This demonstrates the need for adopting new strategies in designing and executing these campaigns. To the best of our knowledge, these campaigns often overlook existing theories and studies on user engagement and behaviour change. To close this gap, this paper uses Robinson's Five Door Theory of behaviour change \cite{robinson5doors} to analyse online user behaviour towards climate change. With this approach, users's behavioural stages can be automatically identified from their contributions on social media. We apply this approach to analyse the behaviour of participants in three global campaigns on Twitter; United Nations COP21, Earth Hour 2015, and Earth Hour 2016. Our results provide guidelines on how to improve communication during these online campaigns to increase public engagement and participation.
Abstract 4902 | PDF Downloads 498


[1] W. Abrahamse, L. Steg, C. Vlek, and
T. Rothengatter. A review of intervention studies
aimed at household energy conservation. Journal of
environmental psychology, 25(3):273{291, 2005.

[2] E. Amigo, J. Carrillo-de Albornoz, I. Chugur,
A. Corujo, J. Gonzalo, E. Meij, M. de Rijke, and
D. Spina. Overview of replab 2014: author proling
and reputation dimensions for online reputation
management. In International Conference of the
Cross-Language Evaluation Forum for European
Languages, pages 307{322. Springer, 2014.

[3] D. Ariely. Dening Key Behaviours. 2014.

[4] D. Ariely, J. Hreha, and K. Berman. Hacking Human
Nature for Good: A Practical Guide to Changing
Human Behavior. 2014.

[5] J. Berger. Dening Key Behaviours. 2013.

[6] H. Blunck. Computational environmental
ethnography: combining collective sensing and
ethnographic inquiries to advance means for reducing
environmental footprints. In Proceedings of the fourth
international conference on Future energy systems,
pages 87-98. ACM, 2013.

[7] A. Campbell. How cavemen did social media. A
comparative case study of social movement
organisations using Twitter to mobilise on climate
change. PhD thesis, The University of Sydney, 2010.

[8] M. Cheong and V. Lee. Twittering for earth: A study
on the impact of microblogging activism on earth hour
2009 in australia. In Intelligent Information and
Database Systems, pages 114-123. Springer, 2010.

[9] A. Corner, E. Markowitz, and N. Pidgeon. Public
engagement with climate change: the role of human
values. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate
Change, 5(3):411{422, 2014.

[10] H. Cunningham. GATE, a General Architecture for
Text Engineering. Computers and the Humanities,
36:223{254, 2002.

[11] A. Darnton. Behaviour change knowledge
review{reference report. Andrew Darnton for the
Government Social Research Unit, 2008.

[12] N. Eyal. Hooked: How to build habit-forming products.
Penguin Canada, 2014.

[13] M. Fernandez, G. Burel, H. Alani, L. S. G. Piccolo,
C. Meili, and R. Hess. Analysing engagement towards
the 2014 earth hour campaign in twitter. 2015.

[14] M. Fernandez, L. S. Piccolo, D. Maynard, M. Wippoo,
C. Meili, and H. Alani. Talking climate change via
social media: communication, engagement and
behaviour. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference
on Web Science, pages 85-94. ACM, 2016.

[15] B. J. Fogg, 2003.

[16] J. Froehlich, L. Findlater, and J. Landay. The design
of eco-feedback technology. In Proceedings of the
SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing
Systems, pages 1999{2008. ACM, 2010.

[17] E. Kazakova. Environmental campaign construction
and symbolism. 2009.

[18] C. Kormos and R. Giord. The validity of self-report
measures of proenvironmental behavior: A
meta-analytic review. Journal of Environmental
Psychology, 40:359{371, 2014.

[19] D. Maynard and K. Bontcheva. Understanding climate
change tweets: an open source toolkit for social media.
In Proceedings of EnviroInfo, Copenhagen, Denmark,

[20] L. S. Piccolo and H. Alani. Perceptions and behaviour
towards climate change and energy savings.
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015. EnviroInfo and ICT4S
2015: Building the Knowledge Base for Environmental
Action and Sustainability.

[21] J. Proskurnia, R. Mavlyutov, R. Prokofyev, K. Aberer,
and P. Cudre-Mauroux. Analyzing large-scale public
campaigns on twitter. In International Conference on
Social Informatics, pages 225{243. Springer, 2016.

[22] L. Robinson. Doors. an integrated theory of behaviour
change. 5.

[23] E. M. Rogers. Elements of diusion. Diusion of
innovations, 5:1-38, 2003.

[24] Science and T. Committee. Communicating climate
change. Technical report, House of Commons, 2014.

[25] C. Shaw, A. Corner, J. Clarke, and O. Roberts. Are
we engaged? un climate talks and the uk public.
Technical report, Climate Outreach, 2015.

[26] G. Vaynerchuk. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Harper
Collins, 2013.

[27] L. Whitmarsh, I. Lorenzoni, and S. O'Neill. Engaging
the public with climate change: Behaviour change and
communication. Routledge, 2012.