By January 25, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Idle No More at two months: evolution of a community (part 2/6)

Along with the sentiment analysis, I believe this analysis to be the most interesting. This post looks at trends relating to new participants in the chatter and the growth of the Idle No More conscious. I use the word conscious because I can’t think of any other word at the moment to describe both public awareness/participation, and the aggregate growth of the movement.

In doing this analysis, I looked as participants based on the number of times they contributed to the conversation and made a few assumptions. For example, anyone issuing only a single relevant tweet is more likely to be a member of the public rather than a member of the movement. The greater the number of contributions, the more likely one is to be joining the movement. Still, some members of the public — whether commenting without bias or revealing themselves to be a supporter or critic — may issue more than one tweet.

My first assumption is most unaffiliated participants are likely to issue 20 or fewer tweets. So, I broke down the categories most-likely to include ‘the public’ into those issuing a single tweet (‘1′), those issuing between two and 10 tweets (‘2-10′) and those issuing between 11 and 20 tweets (’11-20′).

This first graph shows when people in each of those groups tweeted for the first time. Notice there are few people who joined the chatter who stuck around to contribute 11-20 tweets. The 2-10 group shows a healthier amount of growth. This is important because, for a movement to flourish and anchor itself for the long-haul, it must consistently enlist new participants.

IdleNoMore-NewSources-1_20

This next graph shows how the various groups accumulated participants. Rather than showing the first and only time of new membership, it shows the size of the group. For a movement like Idle No More which has unfinished business, these graphs should be cause for concern. We see here the acquisition of new low-participation members has plateau’d. Even one-time contributions have all but stopped. The 11-20 group seems to have stopped any discernible rate of growth in late December.

IdleNoMore-CumulativeContributors-1_20

The next group is the mid-level participants — those who have contributed between 21 and 100 tweets between November 25 and January 19. This group saw some explosive growth in new membership in mid-December as the movement really began to take shape.

IdleNoMore-NewSources-21_100

The committed members, those I consider to be the epicentre of the movement, are those who have contributed 101 or more tweets. It’s true that the mid-level participants and event some of the epicentre could include vocal critics and even members of the media. In fact, both of these groups could also include ‘noise’ which I discuss in the sentiment analysis. Still, a movement in many definitions doesn’t exist without critics or some form of adversary — particularly in politics. Here we see a majority of first timers ‘signed on’ in early and mid-December.

IdleNoMore-NewSources-101_up

How does that look in terms of the growth of the movement? I combined the mid-level and ecosystem groups into a single growth graph. Again, we see that all groups have plateau’d. The largest of these groups plateau’d by mid-December and that’s understandable. After all, each of these groups demand that participants issue a lot of tweets. That takes time so you need to sign up early. Particularly if you’re in the 501+ category. By the way, some people have tweeted nearly 4,000 times. Check out my Top 10 post to see more about them.

However, Idle No More hasn’t been able to keep growing the movement’s more active groups. They seem to have stopped picking up new 21-50 members in the second week of January, and growth of the 51-100 and 101-250 groups levelled off around the new year. To get new 251-500 and 501+ members, Idle No More needs to graduate members in the lower level groups which they’re picking up at a slower rate.

So, when we consider the movement’s goals, most of which have not yet been achieved, one has to wonder if the movement has enough momentum and a good enough growth strategy to see any of it goals across the finish line?

IdleNoMore-CumulativeContributors-21_up

Index of my Idle No More at two months analysis series:

I conducted analysis using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and MAP, and a custom tool I’m having developed which I call Compass.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.