The Idle No More movement is regaining some of the online energy that largely evaporated following January 11. The surge in online activity was evident in the 9,007 Idle No More related tweets issued yesterday as a group of youth finished their peaceful Journey of Nishiyuu — a 1,600 km walk from James Bay to Parliament Hill in Ottawa started by seven Cree youth.

It was the first time since January 28 that the movement enjoyed more than 8,000 tweets in a single day. Most of the activity of late has been fluctuating between 1,500 and 2,500 tweets each day.

Analysis was performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat.


I noted in analysis I’ve been doing on Idle No More that the movement has been largely ineffective at harnessing the online energy it has attracted to convert it into anything more than a brief period of amplification through the convenience of a single click.

In fact, 68% of yesterday’s Idle No More twitter activity came from retweets. Retweets are a great way of measuring public sentiment. On the other hand, they don’t demonstrate any level of commitment on the part of the person performing the click.

Analysis also shows 66% of contributors to yesterday’s chatter issued only a single tweet. While too many tweets by a single person can be considered noise, too many one-time tweeters-of-support who aren’t harnessed could be considered a lost opportunity to enlist grow the movement and the number of event organizers.


Recent reports suggested the movement was going through a period of retrenching and re-focusing. The question becomes, have they advanced that effort enough to keep building on the new stage of energy and turn online slacktivists into active participants in Idle No More’s efforts to achieve its desired goals?

While there are examples of adversarialism and how it can be effective on the web, it’s my observation that inspiring acts, creative and good-spirited campaigns, and a positive and productive approach can be far more effective; and more quickly so. This becomes evident when analyzing yesterday’s chatter.

The connecting excitement for the walkers and display by those who witnessed the completion of the journey was far more energizing for people contributing tweets than being part of the criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for being in Toronto to attend the arrival of the Panda bears being loaned to Canada by China. Only 10% of yesterday’s Idle No More traffic mentioned the Prime Minister being in Toronto to greet the panda bears while 23% expressed some form of enthusiasm for the journey, the youth who completed it and the potential for positive change. There were just enough Justin Bieber tweets thrown in to register on the buzzgraph.


Justin Trudeau issued yesterday’s most popular #IdleNoMore tweet. His rallying cry to bring about real engagement on First Nations issues has attracted 204 retweets and 47 favourites.


Featured photo: Elizabeth May.

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