Social Media

Earth Day Tweets Dominate Digital Chatter

April 23, 2009

By Lara Hejtmanek, Director of Customer Insights at 360i

Earth Day was a huge success on Twitter, with more than 30,000 tweets in a 24-hour period, or an average of 21 tweets per minute. Whereas blogs still typically dominate digital chatter on most topics, Twitter accounted for 64 percent of the conversations about Earth Day in the last 30 days. It seemed like the event was tailor-made for this micro-medium, with each individual acutely aware of the small, virtually effortless actions they can take on this day to help make something bigger happen.

What did Twitterers do for Earth Day besides spread the word? How did they feel about it? The unique thing about Tweets is that they are stream of consciousness missives, less self-conscious and less carefully constructed than blog postings, often more emotional, more ambient. One way to capture this ambiance is through visual expression of the language used. This type of exercise can yield nicely qualitative insights, uncovering both actions and sentiments in one shot.

For example, here is a tag cloud of about 50 tweets on what people did to honor the earth on April 22:

People celebrated by turning off the lights for one minute, planting trees with their kids, going for walks, generally enjoying nature – and they seemed quite happy about it all (full disclosure: negative, sarcastic tweets were left off this exercise). All in all, Earth Day made them feel good, and they wanted to share that feeling.