Energetic voices on social media? : Strategic Niche Management and Finnish Facebook debate on biogas and heat pumps

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Rantala , S , Toikka , A , Pulkka , A & Jari , L 2020 , ' Energetic voices on social media? Strategic Niche Management and Finnish Facebook debate on biogas and heat pumps ' , Energy Research & Social Science , vol. 62 , 101362 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.101362

Title: Energetic voices on social media? : Strategic Niche Management and Finnish Facebook debate on biogas and heat pumps
Author: Rantala, Salla; Toikka, Arho; Pulkka, Anna; Jari, Lyytimäki
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Date: 2020-04
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Energy Research & Social Science
ISSN: 2214-6296
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/323349
Abstract: Strategic niches are protected spaces for emerging technologies, where expectations are articulated, social networks built, and learning occurs. Although Strategic Niche Management (SNM) can be done in a directed, strategic manner, more diffuse, loosely connected and self-organizing niches also exist. We explore such niches in a particular setting: a social media discussion forum - a Facebook group - set up for an open discussion on the reform of national-level energy policy in Finland. We focus on discussions related to two renewable energy technologies: biogas and ground-source heat pumps. We conduct Social Network Analysis and quantitative as well as qualitative content analysis of the social media material to ask what kind of SNM happens in these discussions. Our results indicate that the discussion networks may be conducive for wide engagement and incorporation of new ideas, while also containing sub-groups that may foster learning. However, the discussions are highly centralized around a few active discussants and focused on the present-day situation, drawing from specific local and national experiences and technical details, despite the original aim of the group to induce forward-looking debates on energy policy. The articulation of future expectations is not a predominant feature of the discussions related to these two technologies. Still, the quantitative content analysis reveals extensive agreement in their framing as sustainable future energy solutions, while the qualitative analysis also points to critical debates that may support learning and further development of shared expectations.
Subject: 1172 Environmental sciences
Energy policy
Social media
Facebook
Strategic Niche Management
Biogas
Heat pump
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
NEWS
TRANSITION
INNOVATION
NETWORKS
POLICY
EVOLUTION
KNOWLEDGE
PROJECTS
BRITISH
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