Today is the last day of Idle No More’s third month. Expect that in the next week or so I’ll conduct another deep-dive analysis similar to the one I did at the end of the second month. This will be an opportunity to share a suite of more comprehensive graphs. However, it’s my ongoing research that is uncovering the interesting patterns and changes.
One such discovery, which I illustrate later in this post, is the shrinking size of the Idle No More conversational-footprint has helped bring the movement’s issues into greater view. However, this comes at a time when public interest (as indicated by the quantity of media reports and online chatter) has reached an all-time low. Among other things, this is an indication of the delicate balance between amplification and activism. At some point the momentum can work against a movement through a number of factors including oversaturation, competing interests and the magnetic pull of popular hashtags to spam generators.
What follows is the analysis of Idle No More online activity for February 17 through 23, inclusive. Analysis was performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and a tool being developed for Full Duplex, currently referred to as Compass.
There was a 23% drop in all online mentions from last week’s analysis (from 28,331 last week to 21,786 this). Online news mentions posted the largest drop, falling 50% (from 488 to 244) followed by 27% fewer YouTube videos (161 last week, 118 this). Blog posts were down 25% (from 306 to 227), there were 24% fewer relevant tweets (from 23,664 to 17,985), Facebook mentions fell 14% (from 3,388 to 2,912) and mentions on online forums including Reddit dropping 7% (from 324 to 300).
The movement experienced its first sub-2,000 tweet days this past week. Participation on both dates dipped below 1,000 people for the first time as well.
The 17,989 tweets issued this past week came from 5,532 unique Twitter accounts; an average of 3.3 tweets per account. This reflects the continuing trend of both decreasing activity and decreasing overall participation (down 21% from last week).
The three Twitter accounts which issued the most tweets tagged #IdleNoMore, #NativeWinter or including the text “Idle No More” were @idlenomoreyeg (651, up from 636 tweets last week), @databrokers (395) and @hickory_ground (259). They combine for 1,305 tweets or 7% of relevant tweets for the week. That’s up from 4% by the top three tweeters during the week previous.
Gender splits remain more-or-less neutral this week (53% male, 47% female). For a second week in a row, there was a 1% increase in male participation over the previous week’s analysis.
As the movement has evolved, there is less focus on cultural, awareness-building events such as the flashmobs and round dances which gained a significant amount of media and online attention. Instead, content identified as part of the Idle No More movement has become more obviously directed at issues important to the movement.
To be clear, the issues were always part of the movement’s online activity; it was just harder to see over the event-driven promotion of the movement. Prominent issues include the oil sands development and the Keystone XL pipeline, water quality, climate concerns and murdered indiginous women.
Despite the shift, the word cloud that follows indicates saturation of issue-specific terms isn’t occuring in a way to more clearly put the issues on the public radar.
By comparison, the following word cloud was generated based on online activity between January 6 and 12. Notice that this second cloud is more focused on the energy of the movement rather than its concerns.
This shift in what is signal and what is noise means the movement may be in a better position to help the public understand its goals. However, it comes at a time when media and public interest has moved away from the movement. This highlights one of the many challenges of which public affairs campaign teams need to be aware — striking the balance between tactics intented to attract attention and those which bring clarity to the issues. By the way, both should form the foundation for clear and scalable calls to action.
The most popular tweet of the week was issued on February 17 by the Sierra Club. The tweet captured the end of a February 17 Day of Action rally; it was retweeted 91 times and 27 people indicated it as a favourite.