Reddit: a novel data source for cultural ecosystem service studies

Fox, Nathan; Graham, Laura J.; Eigenbrod, Felix; Bullock, James M. ORCID:; Parks, Katherine E.. 2021 Reddit: a novel data source for cultural ecosystem service studies. Ecosystem Services, 50, 101331. 14, pp.

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Social media sites have been gaining traction as a source of novel data for environmental research, particularly for cultural ecosystem service (CES) assessments. However, Reddit, a discussion-based site, has yet to establish itself as an important source of data for CES research, possibly due to researchers not being aware of its potential applications or because Reddit posts lack georeferencing information. Here, we demonstrate how researchers can search Reddit for CES datasets related to recreation and how specific pages on Reddit may provide data for other CES such as aesthetics. Using named-entity recognition, we developed an automated method of geocoding the approximate location of where images in Reddit posts were taken. Furthermore, we compare posts from Reddit and Flickr for a range of recreational activities and compare the content and textual metadata of images relating to hiking. Though there is potential for Reddit data to be used in spatial analysis, we highlight the limitations associated with georeferencing posts. We recommend that data from Reddit is best suited to assessing general trends in CES, either for a given service or place. By demonstrating the value of big data from Reddit we hope to encourage its inclusion in future CES and environmental research.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2212-0416
Additional Keywords: cultural ecosystem services, social media, Reddit, Flickr, aesthetic values, recreation
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 23 Jul 2021 13:50 +0 (UTC)

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