The practice of influencing : how zero waste YouTubers try to influence the reduction of waste through online communities

Detta är en Master-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Sammanfattning: The huge generation of waste has become one of the world’s most crucial environmental issues, due to consumption, massive use of resources and short life-spans of products. As a response to this, the waste management industry has started to implement zero waste strategies, striving for reduction of waste to lessen environmental impact. The idea of zero waste has during recent years been transformed into a lifestyle by individuals striving to live more sustainably. Some of these individuals have turned to social media to spread their way of life, contributing to the creation of online communities for environmental dialogue. This study investigated how the video sharing social media platform YouTube is used to spread awareness about reduction of waste in individuals’ everyday life through video blogs. These individuals can be seen as influencers, as they can influence others by being a source of information, inspiration and ideas. The empirical data in this study was collected by using netnographic methods, with the aim to gain the perspectives of the participants in the online communities. Participatory observations of eight zero waste YouTubers’ channels and structured online interviews with two of them were conducted. Through the theoretical framework of practice theory, it was possible to highlight important aspects of the elements materials, meanings and competences that constitutes the practice of influencing regarding reduction of waste. The findings showed that materials that are part of the practice are technology, zero waste products, accessibility and time. Meanings related to the practice are spreading awareness, community and feelings. The competences that are necessary are how to use technology, knowledge about zero waste and mentorship. By understanding the practice of influencing regarding waste reduction and its elements, it opens up for insights about how to get more individuals to improve their waste practices.

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