Update: Want a personal walk-through of the State of the Shark online? Join Son of Sharkinar on Friday, August 12 at 11:00 am PT/ 2:00 ET. We'll share Shark Week campaign plans as well.
Son of Sharkinar
Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
Shark Week 2012 is fast approaching. If you're involved in the online conversation about sharks, Shark Week represents a major opportunity to grab some attention, and extend your social media reach. Just how big is this opportunity? And what can you do to best leverage it? Using Upwell's magic "Big Data" 8-Ball, and salty nautical insight, we're going to give you the answers.
Shark Week Is Big
In a typical week, Upwell measures between 40,000 and 70,000 mentions of sharks online. During Shark Week 2011, there were over 740,000 social mentions of sharks, 95% of which were directly attributable to Shark Week.
There's no escaping it: Shark Week is responsible for the single largest bump in the online shark conversation for the entire year.
When you see that fin-shaped spike, it's time to get into the (social media) water.
Total social mentions for Upwell's keyword groups for "Sharks" and "Shark Week", January 1st - December 31st, 2011
And Getting Bigger
Since 2009, total social mentions of Shark Week have increased by a factor of five every year. If that trend holds, this year's Shark Week could generate over 2,000,000 social mentions. Now you're talking attention apex predator!
Of course, mentions in and of themselves are only helpful if the information or sentiment they express is factual or positive. While Shark Week unquestionably promotes strong conservation messaging, does that break through the notion of sharks being eating machines with big teeth that occasionally kill or injure humans?
Fortunately, yes, We broke down those 740,000 Shark Week-related social mentions into three categories:
- Celebratory — e.g. "Sharks are awesome!"
- Terror — e.g. "Sharks are violent killers!"
- Conservation — e.g. "Sharks are endangered!"
And as this pie chart shows, a very significant majority were in the celebratory camp. (or as we call it, ‘Yay!’)
Online Mentions of Shark Week 2011 which contained terms associated with one of the following themes: Celebratory, Terror, and Conservation
While Terror remains a popular theme in Shark marketing (Sharketing?), it's increasingly begun to receive a negative response from audiences, particularly online. Perhaps this due to the abundance of more accurate and less sensational information about sharks that's available on the Internet. Or perhaps it's a consequence of twenty-five years of Shark Week helping to change our broader cultural attitudes about the humble elasmobranch. In any case, Terror isn't a theme we reccomend that shark conservation orgs resort to, for obvious reasons.
If you want your shark content to reach the widest possible audience, "Sharks are awesome" (or beautiful, or fascinating, etc.) is the theme to use.
Which Shark Week Hashtag is the Most Popular?
Total mentions (Twitter only) for the top Shark Week hashtags, July 5th - August 5th, 2012
With over 88% Share of Voice, #SHARKWEEK is by far the most widely used Shark Week hashtag.
There are a variety of other popular Shark Week related hashtags, most linked to a specific campaign (like Discovery's fun #PhotoChomping and #Chompie photo sharing campaigns) or event (like #VWsharkweek, Volkswagen's mobile, VW-shaped shark cage).
Mentions of these various hashtags are likely to increase as Shark Week approaches. But if you want to ensure that your content reaches the greatest possible number of shark-interested online readers, the #SHARKWEEK hashtag is clearly your best bet.
- Shark Week is the biggest single spike in the online shark conversation for the entire year.
- The most popular theme for shark content and sentiment is Celebratory. People think sharks are awesome. (They are!)
- The most popular Shark Week hashtag is #SHARKWEEK
- If you're involved in the online shark conversation and want to reach a bigger, broader audience, Shark Week is an incredible opportunity to do so.
- Follow the top influencers, start Tweeting and Facebooking, and join the conversation!
This morning, we're convening some of the top social minds in sharkiness to talk #sharkweek. THE SHARKINAR IS UPON US.
Defending Sharks Online During Shark Week
If you talk about sharks online, please join the crew of activists, scientists, bloggers, journalists, super-tweeters, and nonprofits at 11am PST/ 2pm EST to discuss how we can change the Shark Week online conversation together.
During the sharkinar we’ll:
• Share Upwell’s “State of the Shark” conversation, and our online shark conversation baseline data
• Discuss your Shark Week plans, and provide resources to support each other’s campaigns
• Provide tips for increasing the volume of shark conservation mentions online
Sharkinar resource round up
- Follow The Sharkinar Twitter List
- Live notes from the Sharkinar: http://bit.ly/sharkinarnotes
- Upwell's Shark Week Toolkit (link to come)
- State of the Shark Online (slides, recording and blog post to come)
- Top Shark Influencers
- Sharkinar Recording (link to come)
We're just days away from Shark Week - the annual catalyst of by far the single biggest surge in cartilaginous conversation online. In recognition thereof, and in to complement our Sharkinars, we compiled a list of some of the most effective and influential drivers of social media shark discussions. Read on to learn more about our picks.
Subscribe to Upwell's "Shark Influencers" list on Twitter to keep tabs on these influencers from the comfort of your own Twitter feed.
Klout Score: 66
Twitter Bio: Scuba diver & outspoken marine conservationist w/focus on sharks. No Blue = No Green. Total Ocean Devotion here! Follow @sharkangels too! #savesharks
Alisa is one of the most engaged individuals posting online about shark conservation, tweeting many times daily, including mutiple article and news links.
Klout Score: 54
Twitter Bio: I am a shark conservation biologist and blogger. I support science-based management, sustainable fishing, and do not support direct action.
David is one of the most active of shark experts in social media, frequently engaging his followers in conversations on science and policy and compiling some of those discussions in Storify form. he is also a frequent blogger at Southern Fried Science.
Dr. Alistair Dove
Klout Score: 51
Twitter Bio: Director of Research/Conservation at Georgia Aquarium. Blogger at DeepSeaNews. In love with the diversity of life in the oceans. Views my own.
Website: http://www.alistairdove.com · http://www.deepseanews.com/
A marine biologist and parasitologist who has studied many aspects of aquatic animal health, Alistair now specializes in the biology of whale sharks.
A specialist in the interactions between marine apex predators and fisheries, Chuck provides a good description of his work and the importance of outreach through social media in this interview with Bora Zivkovic following the ScienceOnline 2012 conference earlier this year.
Klout Score: 44
Twitter Bio: Biologist, shark lover, photography and documentary filmmaker. Creator of Sharkwater, founder of non profit @uc_revolution working on second movie, Revolution
Rob boasts a wide presence online, not just through his own Twitter handle but also that of @uc_revolution (the website of which is www.unitedconservationists.org), an organization that among other things campaigns against shark finning. His documentary, Sharkwater, received numerous awards. Also involved in Shark Angels (see below).
Conducts research on many aspects of shark and shark conservation; publishes with great frequency in the scientific literature but also has become a real 'go-to' scientist on sharks, shark behavior and shark conservation for print and broadcast media.
Engages scuba divers across the world to become involved in two principal project areas: marine debris, and protection for manta rays and sharks.
Klout Score: 43
Twitter Bio: A grassroots nonprofit dedicated to promoting awareness & action for sharks (sans #sharkfin). Home of HappyHeartsLoveSharks Tweeters @claudiali @ei_van
Founded by Chinese Canadian activist Claudia Li, Shark truth focuses on the Chinese-Canadian community, using social media and other grassroots efforts to bring about an end to the use of shark fin soup in wedding ceremonies and elsewhere.
Klout Score: 48
Twitter Bio: Shark Defenders is dedicated to creating shark sanctuaries and supporting the proper management of shark and ray species worldwide. #FinSanity
Of course, we have to include Shark Week itself, which is promoted widely across social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, as well as Discovery's own dedicated sites.
Not Enough Shark for You?
Outside of our top ten, of course, are multiple other individuals and organizations tweeting and engaging online wholly or partly on matters shark-related.
Shark Savers (Sam Whitcraft)
Captain Chris Wade
Klout Score: 63
Twitter Bio: Jump aboard, mateys, and follow the Captain and crew's adventures on the R/V Sea Watch - the Shark Boat! Lets save the sharks!
Klout Score: 54
Twitter Bio: We work globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands, and promote the clean energy economy.
Klout Score: 42
Twitter Bio: We are raising awareness, educating people, bringing organizations together and empowering a grassroots effort to protect and sustain sharks on a global scale.
Founded in 2007 by a team of divers, Shark Savers is working as a conservation partner with Discovery Channel for Shark Week.
Stop Shark Finning
(Thank you to Liana Wong, one of our illustrious Upwell interns, for helping write this post!)
We're getting busier and busier at Upwell, and cataloguing everything we do is getting a bit tough! So we're going to try something new this week with the wrap post, and touch on our top 5 highlights of the week. Each week we are going to include in our list of 5 the biggest successes we had as well as some of our failures. We'll be explaining what we learned from our successes and our failures. Of course, if you are interested in what else we did, or want to know what happened with something you saw in the Tide Report, feel free to reach out to us!
1. Making Sustainable Seafood Sexy
As if the Olympics weren't exciting enough, we found out earlier this week that London 2012 is serving sustainable seafood for participants and attendants of the Games. Their goal is to become a "Sustainable Fish City" with the Sustainable Fish Legacy attributed to London 2012.
A quick Topsy search for "sustainable seafood olympics" shows that there's not much news coverage of this story. The news coverage that exists has been shared on Twitter only a small handful of times. Cory Doctorow once noted that "conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about." With that in mind, Upwell considered how to create conversation around a piece of content that wasn't getting much attention. Learning from our recent successes with images, we started thinking about what the classic British icons are. after a rather raucus brainstorm, we ruled out an Abbey Road image with fish in the place of the Beatles, and went for a couple quicker (and easier) icons that we thought would spark some conversation: a Buckingham Palace guard:
and the saucy David Beckham:
News about sustainable seafood may not be totally buzz-worthy, but slapping it over the image of a scantily-clad Beckham just might spark some conversation. Additionally, the Olympics hook didn't hurt. We try to find the "ocean angle" in conversations that are happening big (like we did with ocean acidification and the Rio+20 conversation). Much easier to add content to an existing conversation than to try to create content and a conversation all at once.
Aside from how much fun we had with this project, the most exciting discovery was seeing our assumptions proven corrent. On Greenpeace USA's Facebook page, the post of the Beckham image yielded 283 likes, 113 shares, and 40 comments - that's a lot of cod indeed. The Greenpeace blog post had an additional 91 shares and 1 tweet. The Keep Calm image was also shared on Twitter by Miriam Goldstein, and subsequent responses and retweets led to over 300 views of the image.
2. Deep Sea Coral Versus Shell
Greenpeace recently found abundant deep-sea coral at Shell's Arctic drill site. The soft coral Gersemia rubiformis, or the sea raspberry, will become vulnerable as soon as next week if Shell gets their way. Our response was to create an image macro depicting the lack of transparency from the oil giant.
Greenpeace shared this image on Facebook, resulting in 1,098 likes, 1,901 shares, and 52 comments.
Two big lessons jumped out at us from this campaign:
In retrospect, the loaded wording we used was more suitable for Greenpeace's online channels than other organizations that are active on Arctic issues, so it makes sense that Greenpeace was the one to share the image.
One aspect of these results jumped out at us - there were far more shares than likes. This is unusual on Facebook, and insinuates a higher than average level of engagement. The text on our image calls Shell out for their deception and secrecy - a negative message. We wondered whether people may be hesitant to click "like" because there's cognitive dissonance in "liking" an image that relays bad news. Many still clicked "like" because they found our image effective, but the high number in shares possibly indicates that users would rather spread the message than just click "like" as you would on a cute cat video (or a really handsome picture of David Beckham).
This hypothesis begs the question: do people share more when there's a negative message? If so, does this matter? It would be interesting to figure out whether major organizations use social media outlets to take advantage of this type of dissonance, its effects, and how we at Upwell could work with negative messages (but in a totally non-evil way).
3. Sharkinar - Living Every Week Like It's Shark Week
Only 9 more days until Shark Week is here! In honor of the longest running television cable program, Upwell is busy preparing for our Sharkinar on August 7th, 2012. It will be a virtual gathering of shark advocates to bring attention to conservation efforts online.
The prep work required to make this event sharktastic is incredibly time-consuming, but our prep work for this event is a great example of Upwell's unique role in the ocean conservation world. Because we are working outside the structure of a normal organization, we are able to identify and hopefully fill gaps that could be useful to ocean communicators.
We've curated some great content and Matt, Aaron and our interns Liana and Paulina have been consumed with gathering the data which will all go towards delivering an insightful and fun Sharkinar for you all! We don't know which direction our campaign efforts will go in, but what we are seeing is a real opportunity -- this is a big conversation and we want to amplify it.
In case you were wondering, here's a list of organizations that have already signed up for our Sharkinar. Don't forget to sign up yourself!
Pew Environmental Group
Shane Research Institute
Speaking of sharks, it was my birthday on Tuesday and I got a jawsome shark backpack - don't get too jealous!
4. No One Dished to the Daily Beast!
In Monday's Tide Report, we shared recent coverage in Andrew Sullivan's blog on the Daily Beast about sharks, and asked our readers to ask the Daily Beast to continue to cover ocean issues. We were hoping to get a crew of ocean advocates to thank them for paying attention to the important issue of shark finning. We sent our own pitch over to the Daily Beast as well. We got a favorable response from the Daily Beast, but none of our readers followed suit.
We are wondering why our readers didn't jump on the bandwagon. Some theories we're throwing around include:
- It's a big ask to have our readers do traditional pitching, compared with asking them to share pre-made material on social media channels.
- It's possible that many of our readers aren't used to pitching blogs, and do not do that in their everyday work.
- The piece about the Daily Dish was buried in our Tide Report and had few clicks - perhaps people just didn't read it.
We'll be trying this again in the future, perhaps with a different angle. If you've got some ideas, send them our way.
5. #S(h)aveTheWhales and Bruno Mars
Talking To The Moon... and now about whales? Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars tweeted this week with a curious hashtag: #ShaveTheWhales. Yes, shave. It comes from a clever t-shirt on Threadless featuring a sperm whale rocking a luscious brown beard.
We aren't exactly sure why Bruno Mars decided to start spreading this hashtag on Twitter, but it's gotten more people to talk about #SaveTheWhales, the actual whale-loving cause.
This odd phenomenon taught us yet again that a celebrity with such a large social media platform can make real difference around a conservation cause, even inadvertantly. It brings into question the power of the celebrity and what great things can come of it. Ultimately, the boost in the #savethewhales hashtag came not from Bruno Mars, but from his fans. Did Bruno activate some level of latent whale-love in the pop-loving masses? If so, how can this be leveraged again, potentially for sharks during shark week?
With our intrepid Rachels on a Southern California sojourn down to visit our friends at One World One Ocean and the Waitt Foundation, Upwell’s Team Interns pulled on their red beenies and stepped up to the helm.
Can you spot the interns?
Equally Evil Meets Socially Awesome, Again
Here at Upwell HQ we listen to and engage in online ocean conversations on a regular basis in order to amplify the best content and increase engagement. Since we happen to have some rather specialized tools at our disposal, we also jump in and do conversational analysis at times where we think we have something important to add.
A couple weeks ago we wanted to better understand the impact that the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) had on the overall coral reef and ocean acidification conversations online. After doing a data dive, Aaron wrote a post, "Equally Evil = Socially Awesome," about differences in news media and social media coverage, as well as how the conference drove the biggest spikes in online mentions of coral and ocean acidification of 2012.
We recently updated the data to reflect the post-ICRS conversation -- including subsequent commentary collected by Andy Revkin over at Dot Earth (here and here). Worth paying attention to, particularly for ocean communicators, is how the original Op/Ed fares in comparison to the subsequent contextualization and debate.
Between July 13th and 20th, the "World Without Coral Reefs" Op/Ed received 1,384 online mentions. This is nearly exactly as many as Jane Lubchenco's "equally evil twin" quote received the week before (1,398), and a useful illustration of the "social liquidity" of emotional content. As is often the case online, controversy moved faster than context.
Thanks to Living Oceans Foundation for helping us share the ICRS data dive on twitter.
Self-identified or aspiring #datanerd? Suit up and swim deeper into Aaron’s world, here.
London Calling.. Tuna
After the Nature Conservancy posted a slideshow of Olympic athletes versus awesome animals we got in touch and then created a Michael Phelps vs Bluefin Tuna infographic. We pitched it to a few science-y and fun pages on Facebook like “I f*****g love science.” The impressive reach and engaged fan base of those facebook sites make them a great ally for sharing and finding slippery visual content.
“Give a Sh*t about Nature” posted the image to their Facebook and received 38 “likes”, 12 shares, 4 comments, and 13,186 impressions. “Give a Sh*t about Oceans” posted the image to their Facebook and received 3 “likes” and 1 comment. “Boycott Bluefin Tuna” posted it and received 10 “likes” and 2 shares, one of which had 4 more likes and one more share.
On twitter, our Phelps tweets got 8 retweets thanks to tweeps like David Shiffman, SeafoodWatch, Ken Peterson, Twilight Greenaway and others. Your twitterings garnered a collective 28,644 impressions!
Pop-up Shark Video
To continue our promotion of Kool Kid Kreyola’s awesome shark rap, we helped annotate the YouTube version of the video with some of the comments from RapGenius. We then shared the new video on Twitter. So far, the video has 245 views and 19 likes. Share it with your friends!
Other Tide Report Stuff
Is it Really All Over for Coral Reefs?
Our friends over at Seamonster Blog, specifically our besty of the week, Clare Fieseler, put together a great video clip of Jeremy Jackson’s rebuttal of ‘zombie ecology’ and his words of genuine hope for coral reefs. We watched the initial version of the video, and offered some suggestions to Clare on how to make it even more captivating, including music. Clare worked into the late hours to make edits so we could feature it in Thursday’s Tide Report.
The video is short, punchy, and a terrific example of how multimedia can be used to connect with an audience beyond an original audience.
The video and blog post were tweeted over 15 times, including by our friends Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Ocean Portal at Smithsonian, with over 25,000 impressions. People are still talking about it.
The video is “evergreen,” meaning it’s good to share any day, so keep on sharin’ on.
In our Thursday Tide Report we featured a story in the Guardian UK about the mass murder of manta rays for Chinese “medicinal” purposes. We asked our readers to tweet about it, and several of our readers, including Miriam Goldstein and Jen Savage, helped spread the word.
Miriam’s tweet was retweeted 18 times, including by Ed Yong, who has more than 20,000 followers. In total, the tweet had over 34,000 impressions. Thanks Miriam, for spreading the word!
Upwell has been pitching more media and blogs recently, what with the success of last week’s Guardian story on Kool Kid Kreyola and the social liquidity of the coral reef conversation on the New York Times. This week, we pitched some writers on a few stories we thought could use additional attention.
We pitched Julia Whitty of Mother Jones, Peter Hanlon of Ecocentric and bunch of coffee blogs about the “Caffeine in our Ocean” story coming out of the Pacific Northwest. No luck so far, but we’ll continue to keep an eye out.
We also reached out to Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast after he featured two shark stories in his blog, to try to bring his attention to additional ocean content. We sent the Kool Kid Kreyola video and offered to continue to feed them awesome ocean-y content. We’re now in touch with the editor of the Daily Dish and look forward to building a relationship. The Daily Dish has over a million unique visitors a month!
We found this short and easy to understand “guide to the sustainable seafood guides” on EcoCentric. We sent it over to Ask Umbra at Grist and Maria Finn (a freelance journalist who covers sustainable seafood for USA Today, Sunset, and other outlets). So far, no response, but even a single win with one of these efforts will help elevate and simplify the issue of sustainable seafood with a large audience.
In shark art news, we continued our outreach around PangeaSeed’s Great West Coast Migration Tour this week, reaching out to San Francisco blogs and event websites to get them to promote the San Francisco event, happening this weekend. So far, the event has been featured in missionmission, sfist, funcheap, brokeass tuart, and more.
Looking ahead, we also started to brainstorm activities for Shark Week. We’ll be kicking off with a conference call with our shark friends to share strategies and ideas to make shark conservation issues go big this year. We’re working hard to pull together metrics about the shark conversation from times past so that we’ll have a good idea of what the baseline is.