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Me and My Shark Fin, Shark Art, Mission Aquarius and more: Attention Lab Wrap for the week of July 16

Ray Dearborn's picture
on July 18, 2012 - 4:01pm

Ok, ok, we know it's not shark week YET (shark week starts August 12). But there was just too much shark goodness this week, so our big attention campaigns focused on the misunderstood apex predators. There was also a big bump in attention to coral reefs and their prospects for the future, spurred by an op-ed in the New York Times. Between ailing coral reefs and sharks, we had quite an exciting week. 

Kool Kid Kreyola: Where Sharks Meet Rap

The big thing on our plate this week was making this video popular. We loved it so much we featured it in our Tide Report, twice. Why'd we choose this? This is precisely the type of content we believe can amplify attention to the ocean, particularly among new audiences. Ocean content is abundant, but the edgy stuff from new voices is a bit rare. Kool Kid Kreyola is a San Francisco-based painter/rapper who is so impassioned about sharks that he is using his artistic powers to spread the word about shark finning.


We began by transcribing the lyrics in rapgenius, a website that serves as the Wikipedia for rap lyrics. We asked some of our shark scientist friends to contribute their perspective to the lyrics. We'd like to send a big Upwell shout out to David Shiffman and Chuck Bangley for droppin' some real ocean science.

We had been in conversation with a freelance writer, Christine Ottery, about another project. But when she got wind of this project, she asked us for more information, and then ended up writing an amazing blog post in the Guardian, which helped the message go farther. Many organizations that may have been hesitant to share the (somewhat NSFW) video were excited to share the article. The Guardian has a global traffic rank of 183 on Alexa (meaning it's the 183rd most popular website on the net - The New York Times is 108th, for reference). While it's UK based, the readership is global, so this was a BFD. 


So far, the Guardian article has gotten over 170 mentions on twitter, and "Me and My Shark Fin" has over 400 mentions. A Google Blogs search for "Me and My Shark Fin" turns up about 2700 results, and a news search returns 114 results. These are astounding results, and we are happy to be able to say we were able to make this happen. 

Play counts and top referral sources for 'Me and My Shark Fin' on

#MMSF (as Kreyola likes to tweet it) has jumped from 640 plays to over 3600 in the time since we started promoting it (initially through the incomparable, which we liberated through a gift of pizza). Of the top referral sources for the video (as posted on Vimeo), we and our Tide Report subscribers directly influenced seven of the top nine (displayed above). The other two sources (Facebook and Google) were likely significantly influenced but its difficult to uncover attribution. All in all, congrats, you! 

Thank you to our Tide Report readers and other members of the ocean conservation community who shared it with your audiences. Thank you to Nico Dinan (OceanMinds), Mark RovnerNRDCThe Ocean ProjectPew EnvironmentAyana ElizaDavid ShiffmanEarth Island InstituteKevin ZelnioMiriam Goldstein, and John Bruno for tweeting about Kool Kid. Thank you to BlooSee for including it in your newsletter! Special thanks to Ocean Conservancy's theblogaquatic, and Hilary Gridley, for giving us an excuse to watch that Tupac hologram again.

The West Coast Migration Tour: Where Sharks Meet Art

We learned about this awesome art and film tour of West Coast cities through Kool Kid Kreyola's video. The tour, brought to us by PangeaSeed and the Beneath the Waves Film Festival, had just the right recipe for bringing ocean conservation issues to a new audience, so we reached out to our friends Tre Packard (of PangeaSeed) and Austin Gallagher (of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival) to see how we could help the message spread. Here's a snapshot of what we did:

  • We advised them both on how to use social media to make their artwork go farther.
  • We created a Pinterest board of all the shark art featured in the art tour (to help the work spread beyond the west coast). We felt Pinterest was the best tool for this, because the art is beautiful (and thus apt to spread quickly on Pinterest) and, with information about the tour included in each pin, could help drive traffic to the tour.
  • When missionmission (a local blog here in SF) had a blog post featuring a mysterious new San Francisco shark mural, we let the drama develop and then closed the loop by providing Migration information.
  • The Upwell interns researched blogs and social media accounts that share events in each of the cities the tour is stopping in. They looked for those with local spirit, a love of the arts, music, nonprofit events and even foodies (who would be on the no shark fin soup bandwagon). We reached out to people in Portland to promote the event happening there this weekend and began outreach for the San Francisco event.


We are queuing up big online success of the whole tour, and are helping PangeaSeed build a hip West Coast base that is active online for their ongoing outreach around shark and ocean conservation. Over 90 people  RSVP'd for the Portland event, and we're just building up steam! We believe that every attendee has the potential to help the shark conservation message spread online. There have been about 200 mentions of the art tour on Twitter, and we are planning some additional promotional work next week, with the aim of beating that. 

A Debate Over the Future of Coral Reefs

In Tuesday's Tide Report we summarized the conversation happening around coral reefs in the New York Times. We suggested tweets of powerful quotes from each of the different reactions. Those suggested tweets weren't used by any of our readers. Perhaps we jumped into the conversation a bit too late? Many of our readers were already engaged in the conversation. 

Following up on the coral conversation sparked by Roger Bradbury’s op-ed, we created a Storify board to keep track of the strongest voices sounding on the matter. The growth of the coral debate is important to lay out in this way, since how problems afflicting our oceans are packaged and presented frames how people will think about the future of our oceans and what is possible to be done. With the flurry of tweets and retweets, blog posts and articles, Storify has been a great tool to help us clearly outline what is being said and by whom on the future of coral reefs.

One highlight of our work to amplify the conversation was engaging with Andy Revkin on Twitter. It's always a little heart-fluttering when "big-time journalist" responds to or retweets your tweet, and @revkin did it three times - to his 37,386 followers! He updated his blog post several times this week, in part due to us showing him that the conversation was continuing. 

What Else We Were Up To This Week

The whale shark sucking fish out of a net video that we shared in last Monday's newsletter is still getting shared and featured in blog posts widely. Upwell helped the video spread to BoingBoing, among other websites.

We were so happy to have two ocean-y friends visit our office this week! A good pal of Upwell’s, Kate Wing from the Moore Foundation, finally got to meet the whole Upwell team on Wednesday. Working side by side with us, she inspired not only our work ethics but also our bellies, bringing us some delicious treats to fuel us through the afternoon work stretch.

Crystal Sanders, a big mover in the sustainable seafood movement, also dropped by to brainstorm social media tactics to amplify Dine Out For Wild Salmon, a one-day SalmonAID event coming up next month.

Inspired by a post by the Nature Conservancy, the interns got started on an awesome infographic to be revealed in Monday’s tide report, so stay tuned! They also did some research to determine whether or not Boing Boing’s ( coverage of ocean issues has increased in the recent past. Busting out their content analysis skills, they trolled through months and months of Boing Boing posts, stumbling across many fun human-interest stories,  ( and learning that Boing Boing tags are not always accurate, but BoingBoing posts are always interesting.
The interns also sent out some colorful, hand-written postcards to our Upwell super fans. Thank you all for constantly supporting our work!

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