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

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.

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