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Rachel Weidinger's picture

Son of Sharkinar: More Defending Sharks Online During Shark Week

on August 9, 2012 - 12:08pm

We heard your requests, and scheduled more time this week to share Shark Week campaigns, recruit evangelists, and ask for help. Son of Sharkinar is on the books. Join fellow shark heroes this Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST. Register here, and invite your colleagues.  The 10 minute State of the Shark briefing will be at the end of the call so you can hear it.

Son of Sharkinar
Friday, August 10 at 11am PST/ 2pm EST.
Register here

Our first sharkinar was a wild success, with 26 online shark fanatics attending.  A wide smattering of shark advocate NGOs attended.

Shark lovers who we love even more for registering for the first Sharkinar.

Shark Social Media Backchannel

As participants requested on the call, we’ve set up a listserv backchannel for you: the Shark Social Media Backchannel. This email group can serve as a backchannel among shark conservationists and enthusiasts active on social media. You know, to make sharks more famous on the internets.  You should have already recieved an invite, if not please email and we’ll get you right in.

State of the Shark Online

Aaron’s briefing is captured in this blog post.  Slides are here. And you can listen to it, beginning at minute 8:01, in the recording linked here.  The topline for you online shark-talkers:

  • 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!Are you a Finfluencer?

Finfluencers.  It’s a bad pun, we know. Do you tweet about sharks? Do you have a Facebook page on which you post assorted sharkanalia? Are you part of an online engagement campaign in which you interact with followers and others? Are you, in short, a shark influencer? Do you know others who might be? We compiled our own list of influencers who we’ve identified; do you have any other suggestions? Anyone you think is missing? Please let us know.  And follow them.

How’s that Toolkit Coming?

A draft of our Shark Week Toolkit is posted here.  We're adding the most liquid social content, composing shark myth-busting resources, and compiling compelling Shark Week campaigns from the conservation community.  Check it out and send us your tips:

But I Want Every Last Sharkinar Detail

No problem.  We captured it all and organized it for you.

Thanks for doing the good work.  We can’t wait to run into you more in the depths of the internet.

Finally, if you need a Sharpie drawing for your Shark Week campaign, just let me know and I’ll make you as many awkward drawings of sharks as you need. Thanks for the kind words, Michelle:

I'm really appreciating the hand-drawn graphics in the #sharkinar from @upwell_us. MORE SHARKS!

— Michelle Cassidy (@ilechelm) August 7, 2012

Matt Fitzgerald's picture

Shark Week Toolkit

on August 7, 2012 - 4:14pm

// This Toolkit is in progress. 
// Have suggestions for what should go in here?
// Get in touch

Welcome to your home for shark-saving resources to help you defend, protect and celebrate sharks online during Shark Week (starting Sunday, August 12 at 9pm ET)!

There's a lot in here, so we've packed all the action-y goodies at the top, and pushed the background information to the end. 

Table of Contents

I. Being a Super Engager

II. Background Information

This toolkit is a living, breathing thing, so please send us suggestions for additions and alterations. Also, let us know what this toolkit helps you do, and we'll repay the favor by driving more attention to your content!
Aaron Muszalski's picture

Shark Week 2012: How To Drive The Shark Conversation (Without Jumping It)

on August 7, 2012 - 3:59pm

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.
Register here

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.

In Summary

  • 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!
Rachel Weidinger's picture

A #sharkweek Sharkinar is so much more delightful than a webinar

on August 7, 2012 - 9:22am

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

Register now for the Sharkinar.


Sharkinar resource round up








Kieran Mulvaney's picture

Who's Influencing the Shark Conversation Online?

on August 6, 2012 - 4:28pm

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.

Alisa Schwartz

Followers: 3,991
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.

David Shiffman

Followers: 6,722
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

Followers: 1,368
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: ·

A marine biologist and parasitologist who has studied many aspects of aquatic animal health, Alistair now specializes in the biology of whale sharks.

Chuck Bangley

Followers: 366
Klout Score: 48
Twitter Bio: Grad student and wanna-be shark expert.

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.

Rob Stewart

Followers: 5,777
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, an organization that among other things campaigns against shark finning. His documentary, Sharkwater, received numerous awards. Also involved in Shark Angels (see below).

Neil Hammerschlag

Followers: 449
Klout Score: 40
Twitter Bio: Professor at University of Miami; Sharks Oceans Research; Education & Conservation. Views my own.

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.

Project AWARE

Followers: 8,930
Klout Score: 49
Twitter Bio: Protecting Our Ocean Planet - One Dive at a Time

Engages scuba divers across the world to become involved in two principal project areas: marine debris, and protection for manta rays and sharks.

Shark Truth

Followers: 2,150
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.

Shark Defenders

Followers: 2,182
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

Shark Week

Followers: 70,041
Klout Score: 65
Twitter Bio: Jawsome. Coming to you August 12th.

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)

Followers: 1,273
Klout Score: 66
Twitter Bio: Conservation Biologist

Captain Chris Wade

Followers: 605
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!

Pew Environment

Followers: 1,860
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.

Shark Savers

Followers: 3,895
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

Followers: 5,923
Klout Score: 43
Twitter Bio: Shark fin soup could mean the end of sharks. Join me and stop shark finning.

Shark Angels

Followers: 2,454
Klout Score: 40
Twitter Bio: The Shark Angels are leading a grassroots movement to save sharks... and we need your help.