Nature Representations in Selfies
Online platforms are an increasingly important way to identify, find out about, and conduct nature experiences. Yet, platforms also shape how people talk about and communicate about nature experiences—for example, through influencer culture, or the desire for social recognition. Thereby, platforms and their user-created content affect public societal ideas about ‘good’ or ‘desirable’ engagements with nature. Selfies taken in nature are one such instance, where the online shapes our understanding of outdoor spaces: nature is presented as a backdrop to individual identity performances, as pristine, tidy, and removed from civilisation.
Algorithmic Ignorances and the Environment
Algorithmic information systems, e.g. commercial search engines or social media, but also citizen science apps, contribute to what we know and how we know it, but also to what is unknown, silenced and invisible. This project examines some of the ways in which such ignorances and absences related to the climate and other environmental crises are created and maintained and places them in a wider theoretical and societal context.
As part of this project, we hosted a public symposium and an academic workshop in October 2022 titled “Networked silences - A symposium about the missing environmental communication on algorithmic platforms.” Information on this can be found here: https://www.slu.se/en/subweb/mistra-ec/event/networked-silences/
Publications in the project
Haider, J., & Rödl, M. (2023). Google Search and the creation of ignorance: The case of the climate crisis. Big Data & Society, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517231158997
Climate Denial by Googling
Climate change denial is not very widespread in Sweden, but how does it appear more popular? Following the traces of appeals to “please google” (“googla gärna”) a specific term, in this project we investigate how climate deniers’ appeals to people to "do their own research" proliferate through online and offline media. These carefully curated terms are meant to sow doubt onto scientific consensus and create the illusion of a much broader support for climate denial in Sweden than there actually is.
Algorithmically Embodied Emissions
The idea of algorithmically embodied emissions is an attempt to conceptualise how the various choices facilitated by algorithmic systems as they are deployed by multi-sided platforms, such as commercial search engines or various social media and recommender systems, contribute to climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction.
Publications in the project
Haider, J., Rödl, M., & Joosse, S. (2022). Algorithmically embodied emissions: The environmental harm of everyday life information in digital culture. Information Research, 27, colis2224. https://doi.org/10.47989/colis2224
Popular science summaries on Data & Society: Points and The Conversation.
This project provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how (dis/mis)information about sustainable energy initiatives is configured in society's dominant information infrastructures. It examines how information about wind power in Sweden is made visible and invisible on social media and in search engines and how it is related to other issues. It further asks what this means for the public understanding of the problem space configured around the issue of sustainable energy.
A report has now been published in the project: https://www.slu.se/site/mistra-ec/nyheter/rapport-vindkraft/.
The team also includes Elisa Tattersall-Wallin and Björn Ekström, both SSLIS (Swedish School of Library and Information Science).
Investigating Algorithms as Communication participants
This Formas-funded project “Creating meaning on the climate crisis: An investigation of commercial algorithms as communication participants” (2023–2026) examines how Google, Facebook et al contribute to creating meaning on the climate crisis. These algorithmic information systems are invisible but omnipresent communication participants in today´s society. They filter, select and sort information, making decisions about visibility and relevance.
The project examines the increasing importance of online algorithmic information systems, such as commercial search engines and social media, in shaping (pro-)environmental discourses, norms and social practices, and how they thereby create meaning on the climate crisis.