Microblogging and Macro Weather: Climate Change Risk Discourse on Twitter

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 52
Oral Presentation
Giuseppe A. VELTRI , Media and Communication, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
The social web represents a new arena for local, national and global conversations and will play an increasing role in the public understanding of science and the creation of risk discourses. This paper presents an analysis of climate change social representations on Twitter, analysing over 60,000 tweets collected using a random week method. The analysis includes a combination of web metrics, latent semantic analysis and semantic network analysis. Results indicate that most active users on climate change are distributed according to a power law distribution and that web metric indicators suggest a moderate conversation on the topic. In terms of content, there is a remarkable complex network of topics that hints to a rather multi-dimensional and complex risk discourse accounting for complex causality links between climate change and natural, social and economic consequences. Most of the tweets cluster around the domains of the effects of climate change, the measures that are proposed to adapt to it, the policy debate between policymakers and energy industry and call for actions for offline events. Moreover, the media ecology of the tweets, the web links shared in them, are from a wide set of sources with a major role played by traditional media but with a substantial presence also of scientific journals and NGOs websites.