I was asked by several people this week why I’m still collecting and analyzing data on the Idle No More movement. One of the people who asked included “The movement has wandered out to pasture. Why are you wasting your time?”
Wasting my time? I disagree. There are two parts to my answer.
- This is the first movement of its kind in Canada. I’ve already uncovered so much of what was done, well and not. I’ve collected data that help identify how Canadian movements form through online tools, how they do and should organize, how various tools are used and misused in the pursuit of desired outcomes, and how movements are impacted by external forces. There’s still so much to learn. As long as there’s relevant online activity, the story is still being written and contributing to the pool of knowledge regarding digital advocacy, activism, politics and public affairs.
- Even though IdleNoMore may not enjoy the same level of energy and public interest as it did in December and early January, I don’t believe the movement is done. Not yet. There’s too much at stake for the communities from which the movement emerged. Plus, I don’t believe those who are most passionate about the goals of the movement will be satisfied with their legacy including a footnote that goals were not carried through. I suspected that to be the case even before Pam Palmater was quoted in the media this past week that the movement is reorganizing and restrategizing.
What follows is the analysis of Idle No More online activity for February 10 through 16, inclusive. Analysis was performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and a tool being developed for Full Duplex, currently being referred to as Compass.
There was a 23% drop in all online mentions from last week’s analysis (from 36,921 last week to 28,331 this). Online news mentions posted the largest drop, falling 57% (from 1,127 to 488) followed by mentions on online forums including Reddit dropping 45% (from 594 to 324). Blog posts were down 36% (from 478 to 306), Facebook mentions fell 26% (from 4,548 to 3,388) and there were 21% fewer relevant tweets (from 30,007 to 23,664). There were 4% fewer YouTube videos (167 last week, 161 this).
The movement experienced its first sub-3,000 tweet days this past week. The last time Idle No More recorded fewer than 3,000 tweets in a day was December 9, the day before the movement took hold online.
The 23,663 tweets issued this past week came from 7,011 unique Twitter accounts; an average of 3.4 tweets per account. This indicates a trend of both decreasing activity as well as decreasing overall participation.
The three Twitter accounts which issued the most tweets tagged #IdleNoMore, #NativeWinter or including the text “Idle No More” were @idlenomoreyeg (636 tweets, up from 542 last week), @annfinster (263) and @SmoketheSun (210). They combine for 1,088 tweets or nearly 4% of relevant tweets for the week.
The graph that follows shows daily Twitter activity (Record Count), the number of unique participants contributing to the daily Twitter activity (Unique) and the number of new participants (New). New participants appear on the graph only once on the date they issued their first Idle No More tweet. The graph covers the period of November 25 through February 16, and shows the trend of activity and participation. The graph illustrates the quick arrival of the movement, its rise and increasing energy, a peak and its gradual calming.
Most of the Twitter traffic is retweets. Retweets account for anywhere between 50% and 80% of daily traffic. The graph that follows compares daily Twitter activity (Record Count) to daily retweets (RT).
The number of tweets mentioning Chief Theresa Spence dropped from 418 last week to 192 today. There was an overall drop from 920 mentions to 363 — a 60% drop. Traffic is low enough that I decided to drop the Chief from my ongoing analysis.
Gender splits remain more-or-less neutral this week (52% male, 48% female). There was acually a 1% increase in male participation over last week’s analysis.
The most popular tweet of the week was issued on February 10 by Wab Kinew. It was retweeted 213 times and 74 people indicated it as a favourite.