New Publication Explores #climatechange Hashtag Community on Instagram

May 24, 2018
Jaime Clifton
Nature Images

Drs. Jaigris Hodson, Ann Dale and Brigitte Petersen just published a new article in The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies. Entitled, The Instagram #climatechange Hashtag Community: Does It Impact Social Capital and Community Agency?, this study explores the potential for Instagram to inspire meaningful action. Some scholars consider such social media platforms as powerful technologies for social change. As an image-based platform, Instagram not only helps people connect worldwide but can also mobilize messages to a broader public. Furthermore, the compelling nature of images can make a huge impact on people and even inspire users to act on important issues such as climate change. However, some scholars are concerned that online “slacktivism” begins and ends with posting online.

To examine the potential for meaningful action through the building of social capital and novel network formation, they chose the #climatechange community on Instagram. Their analysis revealed that while this hashtag community has the potential to affect such change, it is currently unrealized. This is a result of a few factors, including the unidirectional nature of comments and posts as well as the homophilic nature of the media.

To learn more, check out the full article posted on Dr. Ann Dale’s CRC Research website. Visit her Instagram account, @Sustainability_Stories, for regular posts on art, biodiversity, sustainable development and more!