Can we monitor the natural environment analyzing online social network posts? A literature review

Philip Lei, Gustavo Marfia, Giovanni Pau, Rita Tse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A number of works have addressed the question of assessing the status and the[Formula presented] quality of the environment through the lens of Online Social Networks (OSNs). These contributions fall in the area of human-centric sensing, area specialized in using what people spontaneously say on social media to detect the occurrence of given events. Research in this area has exhibited interesting results, regardless of the accuracy of sensing operations. In fact, in some cases it is possible to corroborate the information extracted from OSN posts with the ground truth obtained from specialized hardware sensors. In others, the information extracted from OSNs does not reveal true environmental conditions. Nevertheless, OSNs may help shed light on the sensitivity of human beings to a wide variety of environmental phenomena. We here review the work that has been published to this date. In particular, we provide a survey that may benefit both environmental and computer scientists, as this work aims to show where we stand in the understanding of the complex relationship between human beings and the natural environment, when this is mediated by OSNs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-60
Number of pages10
JournalOnline Social Networks and Media
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Environmental sensing
  • Human perception
  • Online social networks
  • Wellbeing


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