Discourses surrounding sustainability and digitalization in Europe on Twitter over time
This study analyzes the discourses surrounding the interrelation between digitalization and sustainability in Europe on Twitter between 2010 and 2021. We identify 34,802 tweets related to the interrelation between digitalization and sustainability among 634,017 tweets discussing sustainability issues with explicit mentions of Europe. Based on a qualitative analysis of tweets, we identify the main domains discussed (and not discussed). We then sketch the development of the identified domains, as well as their relationship to each other over time, based on a quantitative analysis of their (co-)occurrences. We find that smart city and mobility were two of the most dominant and interrelated domains, particularly in the middle of the decade. In parallel, the domain of climate change has gained ever more attention since 2017 and has emerged as a discursive hub. We further develop hypotheses for how external factors and events (especially EU-level programs) likely led to increases in attention to some domains. Finally, we find that the Twitter discourse across domains mirrors common blind spots regarding sustainable digitalization discourses in its uncritical stance toward economic growth and its overreliance on efficiency in comparison to sufficiency concerns.
Keywords: digitalization; discourse; social media; sustainability
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 13, 2023
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