Analysis of the Climate-Related Twittersphere

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015: 1:45 PM
226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
John E. Ten Hoeve III, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD

Effective communication of climate change information to the public is critical to increase awareness and influence perception of the issue. Social media, including Twitter, has recently become one of the most popular ways to communicate climate change information, events, stories, and opinions, to large numbers of people very quickly. Because of its reach and interactive nature, this tool can also be used to analyze how the public reacts to climate change information and events, which can in turn help improve communication strategies. This study analyzes all tweets over a 5-month period between December 2013 and March 2014 that included the terms “climate,” “climate change,” or “global warming.” The data provides us with an understanding of the climate-related stories, events, and issues that generate the most activity on Twitter, versus those that did not generate significant activity but may have been higher-profile in the traditional media. The most active climate-related twitter users and the most impactful twitter users in terms of their retweet to tweet ratio are also analyzed. The study also shows the time of day when tweets are most likely to be retweeted and thus reach more users. Finally, the number and geographic distribution of “climate change” versus “global warming” tweets are presented, as well as a sentiment analysis of the most popular tweets and twitter users in each category, allowing for an improved understanding of the terminology and demography of both believers and skeptics of man-made climate change.