130106-IdleNoMore-blockadecriticismA few interesting and new things happened between December 30 and January 5 with the online component of the IdleNoMore movement.

  1. Online chatter increased over last week. That doesn’t necessarily equate to an overall increase in support. My research to-date shows a significant portion of the chatter comes from within the core of the movement which would account for much of the positive thrust. I will conduct some further analysis this month to (hopefully) more accurately determing public sentiment.
  2. Online chatter stayed consistently high all week. While there was a drop in chatter on New Year’s Day, it was not nearly as substantial as the Christmas Day drop.
  3. Participation rates have increased. In fact, they’ve increased more than chatter rates. That means there’s a better distribution of average tweets per participant. This is the first week average tweets per participant dipped below 3.0.
  4. While the rail blockades increased overall mentions of #IdleNoMore, they also drew more criticism of the movement. On one hand that gets more people talking and helps spread the word. On the other, this will probably help draw out more criticism now that the tracks have been laid (pun intended).
  5. Despite the apparent increase in media interest in Chief Spence’s hunger strike and her Friday afternoon press event, online mentions of of the leader have dropped dramatically this week, particularly yesterday.
  6. Global participation has increased. Among the countries getting in on the chatter are Antarctica (323 mentions), Germany (151), Egypt (292), Spain (183), Finland (117) and France (190). Of course the bigger international players are led by the USA (19,584) and UK (1,525).

All analysis was performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat.

Tweets Sources Average
Dec 30 28,281 9,372 3.0
Dec 31 27,015 10,366 2.6
Jan 1 23,252 9,217 2.5
Jan 2 28,158 10,068 2.8
Jan 3 28,710 11,268 2.5
Jan 4 27,863 10,084 2.8
Jan 5 27,771 9,017 3.1

Traffic for this past week (211,356 mentions) was up 32% from last week (160,390 mentions). Of course, Twitter is not the only platform for online activity. Facebook played host to 14,569 mention (up 19% from 12,258 mentions last week). There were also 2,682 mentions on news sites (up 130% from 1,165), 703 videos uploaded to YouTube (down 28% from 977) and 1,277 blog posts (up 71% from 745) mentioning the movement.

Positive sentiment was down only slightly overall for the week from last. Criticism is more evident on specific issues such as the blockade of passenger trains. The positive sentiment calculation (93%) appearing in the graph below was determined using automated sentiment analysis. The number considers both positive mentions of the Idle No More movement and its goals, and neutral mentions (mentions that simply report information and don’t indicate any sentiment) as being ‘favorable’. While I generally don’t trust automated sentiment, a manual analysis of a random sample a few weeks ago revealed 48% of tweets were positive towards the movement (and critical of the Government/PM), 51% were neutral or revealed no sentiment, and 1% was critical of the movement and First Nations (and positive toward the Government/PM). So, the automated sentiment seems plausible enough to accept in this case.

I’ll be conducting a newer random sample analysis of sentiment in the coming weeks.


There were 8,735 online mentions #ChiefSpence or #TeresaSpence, down significantly from last week’s 20,680.


Online mentions of the train blockade contributed to the overall level of traffic. The blockades also drew out more criticism, though I haven’t conducted a manual random-sample analysis so I have no sentiment analysis to share at this time.


#IdleNoMore remains a gender-neutral movement. This is unique for online participation in Canadian political issues.


There are a number of hashtags which are included with #IdleNoMore. The most popular is #cdnpoli, the hashtag used to identify tweets relating to Canadian politics (by participants-in-the-know). The #nhl is finding its way in to a handful of mentions. Speaking of which, I did a comparitive analysis of NHL and IdleNoMore traffic earlier today.


Photo: Idle No More 21 12 2012 uploaded to flickr by Teresa Healy.