The remarkable success of online social media sites marks a shift in the way people connect and share information. Much of this information now contains some form of geographical content because of the proliferation of location-aware devices. For the first time, we can observe human activities in scales and resolutions that were so far unavailable. However, due in part to the event-driven and self-selected nature of contributed information, social media data have mainly been applied in social science domains with limited crossover into investigations of human and environmental interactions. The sheer volume and diversity of social media data offers the potential to investigate socio-environmental systems (SESs) at finer spatial and temporal resolutions than possible with conventional data sources.
This workshop will investigate the current state of and identify unique challenges for using social media data to inform socio-environmental research, and explore ways to meaningfully link insights from social media data analysis to socio-environmental system dynamics and management. Specific research questions that will be addressed during the workshop are:
- What are the unique challenges of working with social media data in the context of socio-environmental research?
- How can the inherent biases in social media data be managed to understand human and environmental interactions across a broader range of socio-economic characteristics and locations (e.g., urban vs. rural participation)?
- How can the near real-time, event-driven nature of social media inform the investigation of longer-term dynamics typical of environmental systems?