Social Media and Climate Change – SoMeCliCS

Everyday life is strongly shaped by social media communication, particularly for young people. Even if these services allow people to communicate in real time around the globe, in recent years problems such as echo chambers, filter bubbles, or fake news emerged. These phenomena also affect societal discourses about topics such as climate change, leading to digital spaces with open denial of scientific facts. Due to this development, there is a need for further knowledge about the role of social media for the climate change discourse.

An interdisciplinary perspective on science education

Usage, Literacies, and Interventions from the Perspective of Science Education

Within SoMeCliCS, we apply the perspective of science education to investigate (1) the usage, (2) required literacies, and (3) possibilities for interventions to foster these competencies. Therefore, we use (4) digital methods.

Research approach

  • What is social media?

    Social media describes a variety of platforms, that allow to communicate with other people via internet-based services (Carr & Hayes, 2015). Within social media, different categories such as social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) and social messenger (e.g., WhatsApp, Telegram) can be differentiated.

  • Why „from the perspective of science education“?

    Social media is no new phenomenon, which is why many studies have already examined the role of social media. For example, big data analyses were able to investigate the effects of echo chambers (e.g., Williams et al., 2015). Nevertheless, these studies often exclude the psychological perspective of social media (Montag et al., 2016).

    Science education (biology, chemistry, and physics education) are in a prominent position here, as they combine the respective content knowledge with relevant pedagogical and psychological processes. We understand the viewing and processing of subject-related content in social media as informal learning, which we investigate from a science educational point of view.

    In addition to this connecting role of science didactics, researchers from the L3S support the project by developing modern computational techniques to grasp the large amounts of data.

  • Why for the topic of climate change?

    Even if the possible effects of climate change have been known for many years, a sufficient approach of mitigation has not been started. While the science behind the topic is complex and therefore hard to understand, people also are confronted with motivated biases that can be fostered in social media due to phenomena such as echo chambers, filter bubbles, and fake news.

    Given the urgency of the topic of climate change, we believe the topic is a perfect example for unravelling the effects of social media for scientific topics. The results may therefore also contribute to a wider understanding of social media in society and illustrate ways to prepare living in modern digital societies.

Research framework

Group photo of project participants at the Someclics Symposium on 10th March 2023
  • Project overview

    The overall project is defined by five different subprojects, which all include specific aims. First, we are interested in the usage (U) of social media for the topic of climate change. Based on this, the next package defines the required literacies (L) needed for acting competently in social media. Both packages inform possible interventions (I), describing ways to foster the literacies in formal learning contexts. All these projects are supported by the package of digital methods (DM), in which the L3S supports the research with methods from computer science.

    Concerning the distribution of the project results, all projects contribute to the final package science communication (SC), which includes web visibility, own scientific conferences, and an edited volume.

    Project structure


    The project started in July 2021 and will be completed in 2024. In the first year, the project was established and the first research packages were started. In March 2022, the kick-off meeting was held to further discuss the research strategies. In March 2023, another meeting was held. A variety of researchers working on social media in relation to climate education were guests. They will also contribute a part to the edited volume, which will be published in the last year of the project. The project ends with a final presentation.

  • Subprojects

    As described in the project overview, we have overall four main research packages: Usage, literacies, interventions, and digital media. Each of these projects involves own research aims, described in further detail on this page.


    As a first aim of our project is to define how people and particularly students use social media for the topic of climate change. Within this aim we investigate the general role of social media (U1) and possible connections (U2) with other variables. For the role of social media, we currently apply qualitative methods for investigating how people perceive social media content in social media. As a final objective, we will generalize the results to a larger audience (U3).


    The second major aim of the project is to define required literacies for the topic of climate change in social media. For this, we first conduct a systematic literature review (L1) about relevant existing literacies and then state the literacies (L2) for students. In the final package, possible influences on these literacies are investigated (L3).


    The aim of the third subproject is to investigate possibilities to foster the defined literacies in interventions. To be able to investigate effects of these interventions, we develop a measurement instrument (I1), which then will be applied in an inquiry oriented (I2) and training oriented (I3) intervention.

    Digital methods

    While the packages are focused on relevant subject specific research questions, the methods require certain skills in the face of digital methods. These includes using techniques such as machine learning or eye-tracking, to uncover the role of social media for science education in a larger set of data by allowing a high resolution of the learning processes.

    Science communication

    For all packages, we plan different activities to communicate our results. This includes web visibility (SC1), different scientific meetings (SC2), and an edited volume at the end of the project (SC3).

  • Collaborators

    The project is a collaboration of the Institute for Science Education and the L3S Research Center at Leibniz University Hannover.

    We also collaborate with colleagues from the Justus-Liebig-University Gießen. While the project leading is with the Institute of Science Education, we have different people working with the project. An overview of all involved people in alphabetical order and their roles can be found in the table.

    Oleh Astappiev

    Expert for LearnWeb-platform

    Dr. Alexander Büssing
    Institute of Science Education

    Project leader and leader subproject usage

    Dr. Marco Fisicella

    Expert for Artificial intelligence

    Prof. Dr. Gunnar Friege
    Institute of Mathematics and Physics Education

    Leader subproject interventions

    Prof. Dr. Kerstin Kremer
    Justus Liebig University Giessen

    Leader subproject usage

    EN [Text: Kresin]

    Soraya Kresin
    Institute of Science Education

    Doctoral student subproject usage

    Dr. Stephanie Lenzer

    Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel

    Subproject literacies

    Dr. Ivana Marenzi

    Project leader subproject digital methods

    Prof. Dr. Andreas Nehring
    Institute of Science Education

    Leader subproject literacies

    Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Nejdl

    Project leader subproject digital methods

    Catharina Pfeiffer
    Institute of Science Education

    Doctoral student subproject literacies

    Sophia Siegman
    Institute of Mathematics and Physics Education

    Doctoral student subproject interventions

    Apoorva Upadhyaya

    Doctoral student subproject usage

Project funding

The project started in July 2021 and will be ongoing until June 2024. We are thankful for the funding of the Volkswagen Stiftung and the Niedersächsische Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (MWK) in the line Niedersächsisches Vorab.


Symposium 2023

The symposium started on Thursday with the Keynote Lecture, where Prof. Dr. Sascha Schanze gave welcoming words at the beginning. This was followed by Dr. Alexander Büssing with an introductory talk on the SoMeCliCS project. The final presentation was contributed by Dr. Friederike Hendricks, who spoke in her keynote on the topic of trust in digital media. This was followed by a panel discussion in which people from the research community, as well as a teacher and a student from the Fridays for Future group, discussed the role of social media in digital science education. The panel was moderated by Dr. Nadja Belova(University of Bremen).  The evening ended with a final reception.

The following day included presentations from all participants covering the broad range of research. In addition to the presentations from the SoMeCliCS projects, other topics like the detection of fake news, the role of Nature of Science as part of science media literacy, and literature reviews on inoculation theory or interventions to promote competence, were also presented.


The kick-off meeting of the SoMeCliCS project took place on the 10th and 11th of March 2022.

The kick-off meeting was spread over two days. The lecture evening took place on Thursday in the beautiful atmosphere of the royal stables and was streamed live on YouTube. First, Dr. Alexander Büssing gave an overview about the project under the title Perspectives on social media and Science Education: About SoMeClICS an overview of the research project. Afterwards Prof. Dr. Rogers (University of Amsterdam) talked about the communication of climate change using modern methods under the title Where is the urgency in the Climate Change Discourse. In the following discussion, these possibilities and the interdisciplinary character of the topic were emphasized.

On Friday morning, all those involved in the project had the opportunity to discuss the individual sub-projects online. In the afternoon, the focus was on the school practice of the project, with teachers presenting their perspectives and making exciting contributions. Prof. Dr. Höttecke (University of Hamburg) supported the teacher training with a lecture about climate education.


Showing results 1 - 11 out of 11


Büssing, A. G., & Lenzer, S. (2023). Fachliche Diskursräume nutzen: Lernen mit und über soziale Medien in der Lehrkräftebildung. Weiterbildung - Zeitschrift für Grundlagen, Praxis und Trends, 8(4), 18-21.


Beniermann, A., Büssing, A. G., & Bergmann, A. (2022). I like! Soziale Medien im Biologieunterricht nutzen. Digital Unterrichten Biologie, 3(7), 3.
Büssing, A., Hamm, T., & Fiebelkorn, F. (2022). Facebook im Biologieunterricht? Social Media Beiträge als Unterrichtsmaterial einer Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung. In A. Bush, & J. Birke (Eds.), Nachhaltigkeit und Social Media: Bildung für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung in der digitalen Welt (pp. 259-285). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.
Büssing, A., Pril, S., Beniermann, A., Bergmann, A., & Kremer, K. (2022). Inhaltlicher Diskurs oder Shitstorm? Analyse fachlicher Bezüge in Kommentaren eines YouTube-Videos zum Klimawandel. In A. Bush, & J. Birke (Eds.), Nachhaltigkeit und Social Media: Bildung für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung in der digitalen Welt (pp. 87-114). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.
Büssing, A. G., Gruber, L., Kresin, S., & Kremer, K. H. (2022). Soziale Medien in einer transformativen Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung. In A. Eberth, A. Goller, J. Günther, M. Hanke, V. Holz, A. Krug, K. Rončević, & M. Singer-Brodowski (Eds.), Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung – Impulse zu Digitalisierung, Inklusion und Klimaschutz (pp. 92-113). Verlag Barbara Budrich.


Beniermann, A., Bergmann, A., & Büssing, A. G. (2021). Ein Like für die Fachdidaktik? Potenziale und Grenzen sozialer Medien für Professionalisierungsprozesse angehender Lehrkräfte am Beispiel Twitter. In D. Graf, N. Graulich, K. Lengnink, H. Martinez, & C. Schreiber (Eds.), Digitale Bildung für Lehramtsstudierende: TE@M ‒ Teacher Education and Media (pp. 219–226). VS Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften.
Bergmann, A., Beniermann, A., & Büssing, A. G. (2021). Social-Media-Diskurskarten zur Förderung der Argumentations- und Diskursfähigkeit in naturwissenschaftlichen Kontexten nutzen. In M. Kubsch, N. Graulich, S. Sorge, & J. Arnold (Eds.), Lehrkräftebildung neu gedacht: Ein Praxishandbuch für die Lehre in den Naturwissenschaften und deren Didaktiken (pp. 201-205). Waxmann Verlag GMBH.
Büssing, A. G., & Fiebelkorn, F. (2021). Neue Bedrohung oder altes Geheul? Beiträge aus sozialen Medien im Kontext der Rückkehr des Wolfes nutzen. Unterricht Biologie, (469), 15-19.
Büssing, A. G., Bergmann, A., & Beniermann, A. (2021). Social Media im Biologieunterricht: Lernpotenziale sozialer Medien erkennen und nutzen. Unterricht Biologie, (465), 44-47.
Hamm, T., Fiebelkorn, F., & Büssing, A. G. (2021). Social Media als Unterrichtsmedium? Eine Interviewstudie mit Schülern zum Thema "Rückkehr des Wolfes nach Deutschland". In H. Korn, J. Stadler, & R. Schliep (Eds.), Treffpunkt Biologische Vielfalt XVIII - Interdisziplinärer Forschungsaustausch im Rahmen des Übereinkommens über die biologische Vielfalt : BFN Skripten 590 (pp. 28-30). Bundesamt für Naturschutz.


Büssing, A. G., Thielking, A., & Menzel, S. (2019). Can a like save the planet? Comparing antecedents of and correlations between environmental liking on social media, money donation, and volunteering. Frontiers in psychology, 10(AUG), Article 1989.

Project leader