Tracking Oil Spill Content with Social Media

Since I work for the National Wildlife Federation, I’ve been spending 99.9% of my day thinking  about the oil spill and all the ways we can help.

Personally, I’d love nothing more than to hop on a plane and fly down to the gulf to clean some birds or monitor some water ways, but the truth is, the best way I can help is make sure people KEEP talking about the oil spill so the media KEEPS covering it.

That’s why we’re asking people to use social media to share information about the oil spill and give a voice to what’s happening in the Gulf.

We’re compiling a lot of it on our Tweetmixx page.

Our web team has done a great job of keeping our work and content up on our site. Because of this, I get the job of monitoring when and where we are being mentioned. By using my listening dashboard, I can see that people are sharing our content, but sometimes I want to know more! I want to know where they are sharing it the most and why.

[Figure 1: Our analytics for the first month of the Oil Spill]

The positive thing about social media, is that we can track when people share content! And of course, while the data in this graph is several months old, we’re seeing most of our traffic and sharing coming from Facebook. –> What does this tell me?

There are many website tools you can use to analyze social sharing activities and tracking where people are likely to share your content can guide your outreach and help you better equip your readers. But all of this would be useless if we don’t LEARN from it and change. The point that we need to take away from these analytics is that we MUST feature Facebook as a way of sharing and make it as easy for readers as possible to share with Facebook.

When I talk about this at the National Wildlife Federation, I like to stress the importance of giving a microphone to your current audience. Sharing content and making information easy to disperse is especially important when disasters like the BP oil spill happen, because we can better equip our audiences to become the messengers for events that need attention.

This oil spill disaster is on all of our minds, but I’m hopefully going to work to make it easy for you to get the information you’re interested in hearing… also, I’ll try and throw in funny things to offset the sadness that we all feel.

5 thoughts on “Tracking Oil Spill Content with Social Media

  1. Hi Danielle,

    Great information and keep up the great work keeping the oil spill front and center.

    I think this is a great reminder to a) understand what your audience is doing and where they are sharing b) to make it easier for your audience to share where they like to.

    Keeping an eye on the data and properly filtering will allow us to continually equip our audience to help share our message .

    -Devin Day

  2. This is spot on. I’ve been tweeting about the #OilSpill from day one and now I’m getting about 500 hits/day on my mini blog.

    here is an example:
    BP #Oilspill | How Many Sea Turtles Have Died? ~>

    It is a great idea to track these stories and see how far out they get retweeted.

    Thank you for your excellent work
    This is worth fighting for, since there is a media blackout and it fades fast from ‘top stories’ in the news.

  3. Thought you might be interested in a moving slideshow of the spill featuring Dr. John’s song “Black Gold”. Check it out:

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