Chapter 11 Is It All Just Emojis and LOL

Or Can Social Media Foster Environmental Learning and Activism?

In: Education for Democracy 2.0
Author:
Ellen Field
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Abstract

This chapter explores both the potential and limitations of social media as a quasi-networked citizenry, facilitating environmentally-focused learning and activism among young people. Online social networks have become embedded within most young people’s everyday lives. In fact, the increase in the use of social networking sites is unparalleled by any other activity on the web. Both the availability of online information and the rise of social networks has impacted how young people engage in knowledge production, communication, and creative expression. The open, collaborative nature of social networks as communication and organizational tools, along with shifts in the way that civic and political engagement unfolds, raises questions of how young people use these networks to learn about and take action on the environmental issues that concern them the most. This chapter draws upon data collected from an international survey of self-identified environmentalist youth and their usage of social media, including a 6-month observation of youth posts and usage of Facebook, as well as interviews that consider how they use social media for environmental learning and activism.

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