Why social media is important in the #climatewars

I noted today that WUWT just passed 6000 followers on Twitter, and 15,000 followers of the blog by email. About the same time, WUWT reached 5000 likes on Facebook. A few years ago, I never much thought social media was worth much, but seeing how Michael Mann and Bill McKibben have been using it to their advantage, my view on the importance of it has changed.

For them, social networking is glue for the cause, it keeps their base in line and comforted with missives they want to hear. A good example is this recent tweet from Bill McKibben to a follower due to this WUWT story where I call out McKibben for some nonfactual regurgitation, and mention the reaction of one his followers who is too mentally cocooned to look for herself. She gets comforting words from the leader of 350.org: 

mckibben_andrea_tweet

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that you can waste a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter, but they have their value. The value for skeptics has been underutilized in the past, and I aim to change that in 2013.

Here is what you can do to help get the word out this year.

1. If you don’t have a Twitter account or Facebook account yet, get one. They are free, and you can turn them off at any time if you just get tired of them.

Signup: https://twitter.com/   facebook.com

2. Follow some of the biggest climate mouthpieces on both Twitter and Facebook, such as Bill McKibben and Michael E. Mann.  Here are the links:

McKibben on Twitter: https://twitter.com/billmckibben

McKIbben on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bill-McKibben/116439015075458

Mann on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann

Mann on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist

From these, you’ll pretty much get the entire spectrum of people in the ClimateMedia Complex they run with, making it easier to find and follow others.

3. You can optionally follow WUWT on Twitter and also on Facebook

Some others to follow are RyanMaue, Marc Morano, and Andrew Revkin. Again you can pretty much get the entire spectrum of followers from their accounts.

4. When you see climate alarmism in action, Tweet or Facebook post something to counter it, or simply ask a question asking how such claims can be supported. Be polite, don’t start a flame war.

5. Watch Mike Mann immediately ban you, like this reader discovered:

From: alice

Sent: Tue Jan 01 11:18:37 EST 2013

To: morano

Subject: Michael Mann

Just had the weirdest thing happen.

I posted a very mild comment on Michael Mann”s FB page regarding his criticism of an article by Gil Spencer.

I merely pointed out that Spencer is saying that the Supreme Court upheld the right of people to criticize public figures.

I came back to edit the comment and I saw that I am blocked from his page.

He only wants people who agree with him to post.

Now there”s a true scientist for you.

Happy new year, Alice

Save those screencaps, rinse and repeat.

6. Learn how to use hashtags to your advantage

As Andrew Revkin recently observed, “blogs are important”, but so is social media, and skeptics have not taken advantage of this arena that much.

There’s no better time than the present #armyofdavids.

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Watts-Up-With-That/110272895662047?fref=ts&__req=d&rf=133172440046388#
Are there two WUWT? This one has only 317 likes.
REPLY: It appears that one is a doppelganger – Anthony

Anthony the term is called Clicktivism.And we are Clicktivists
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/cerian-jenkins/clicktivism-a-model-for-2_b_2210340.html

normalnew

added people to my twitter. wasn’t in use anyway 🙂

I can certainly recommend twitter, for getting to know people that would not perhaps not make comments on sceptic blogs.
If you are polite and civil, interesting dialogues and debate can start, and continue been elsewhere beyond the confines of 140 twitter chars.
thanks to twitter, I’ve had lunch with Mark Lynas and a certain Oxford Professor (who dared to foi CRU, and hopefully got across that sceptics/lukewarmers are not all the cliched ‘oil funded deniers’ that so many people lazily repeat without thinking. If they know you, as a rational sensible adult this is much harder to do.
One very interesting twitter story started here..
http://allmodelsarewrong.com/all-blog-names-are-wrong/
and carried on here.
http://www.realclimategate.org/2012/02/clarifications-and-how-better-to-communicate-science/

I too found a comment deleted from Mann’s Facebook page. In the comments on Mann’s diatribe on the WUWT calender and the ensuing libels about Big Oil and Heartland funding, I posted an ambiguous (as I thought) remark – “This is all too sad.” This was promptly disappeared. Now I think that my comment could have been taken either way, as an expression of support or as an expression of criticism. Which brings me to my question:
Is it possible that these groups maintain a database of posters on skeptical sites that they can use to delete and so deprive skeptics of oxygen on “their” sites?
Or have I strayed from the sceptical to the cynical?

Chris D.

Glad you saw the light, Anthony.

BradProp1

Sorry Anthony, but social media the likes of FB and Twitter I find very disturbing. I find too many people that have literally centered their lives around the crap. They become truly “Social Morons”. I will never fall into that black hole. But, I will still follow you on this great site where knowledge, facts, and sanity reigns. 😉

Mark Nutley

I would sooner chop off my left nut that use twatir. You are already on my facebook, but again, I would sooner lose a bollock than friend Mann or that ilk. Sorry Anthony, but even I have standereds.

And I completely forgot to put my own twitter address ! 😉
https://twitter.com/BarryJWoods

Bill McKibben is right. Climate skeptics have to be doing what we do as a hobby because we can’t eek out a living from it.

Ulrik

What you need to get on Favebook is EdgeRank. Most fans dont der your posts simpelt bevares they never male it to their Wall In competition with all the other posts out there.
You need to post stuff that people like, comment and share. The more likes, shares and comments a post on FB has, the higher that posts EdgeRank becomes and the more likely it will be that it will be posted on someone’s wall and the larger the reach will become = exposure = more fans!
Normally large pictures with little text seems to get a lot of EdgeRank. Also simple but provocovatibe messages.
Long sentences with complex meanings normally don’t work.
You can test it out yourself and see what gains the most attendance. Also you can try to acquire fans through ads. With some decent ad targeting I would assume you could get below 1$ per fan. Remember that each fan has around 200 friends that also see that fans wall and their likes/comments.
Anyhow, there is a lot to gain. I work with web and social Analytics as a senior consultant and have quite extensive knowledge in that field. Let me know if you need some advice 😉

Ulrik

Ok, sorry my phone translated half that post to Danish 🙂
It was meant to say that most of your posts do not make it to people’s walls because it competes with all other posts in EdgeRank.
So basically EdgeRank is how relevant is the post to me x likes x shares x comments divided by a factor on how old the post is.
Shares is worth more than comments which is again worth more than likes.

tommoriarty

Anthony, this is an excellent post. Frankly, I have avoided twitter and facebook, because I have perceived them to be venues for fluffy narcissism. I used to have the same perception of blogs, but that perception was changed in large part by WUWT. I started my own very minor blog (ClimateSanity) partly because of the positive influence of WUWT.
So I am inclined to follow your advice about facebook and twitter. But there are some things I worry about. I do not want to spend alot of time sorting through the uninformed and/or emotional nonsense I expect to see. I do not want to make myself a target for vitriol. Maybe these concerns are unfounded. I guess I will give it a shot.

PaulH

Gosh, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to “unfollow” all of those annoying, self-indulgent and otherwise uninteresting people I’ve allowed to clutter my twitter feed. McKibben and Mann would blow my resolution before it even starts. ;->

Contrarians’ absence from Clicktivism would not be happening if we were in fact well organized and well funded. It’s another item to add to my list in “Notes from Skull Island” at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/16/notes-from-skull-island-why-skeptics-arent-well-funded-and-well-organized/

Chris D.

Anthony, I just checked and saw that your last Facebook post was Nov 10th. You used to post a status with each new WUWT post. Also, none of your Facebook posts can be shared via the norma Facebookl “share” mechanism. One has to create a new post using your URL. Is it because your security settings block sharing? You might want to look into that.
REPLY: not sure what page your are looking at, but that’s not what I see . URL please. You may have the “fake” WUWT setup by haters. – Anthony

beesaman

Been blocked by Mann since he didn’t like me calling him out on a number of factual inaccuracies, mainly revolving ariund him being a hypocrite. Roger Harrabin (@rharrabin) is also another one to keep an eye on as he spins the enviroloon message for the BBC. Fascinating looking at who they follow…

John in L du B

The impoversihed Dr. Mann is doing this for a living but the big oil well-funded and well-organized skeptics are doing this as a hobby. Clearly this little exchange hasn’t started Andrea Angulo thinking for herself yet.

Ross

Can I just add: please be careful? A thin-skinned comedian in the UK responded to a negative post about him by urging his fans to go and flame the poster, or ‘fly my beauties’ as he put it. The poor negative poster was practically cyber-nuked and the comedian found himself in trouble.
Just sayin’.

I maintain a number of social media accounts, twitter and facebook etc. as part of my other, non science, life. I must admit I post once or twice a day and follow several hundred others but never read anything that appears from twitter and only comment on facebook stuff that is important or family. Takes about 20 minutes a day, the effects of which are probably nil but if that generates a few customers probably worth my effort. More on topic here I remain skeptical of the effect. I do tweet about my philosophy of science blog but since I don’t read the incoming stuff have no idea about responses. I also suspect my readership is too “old” to be into social media much if at all.

Gras Albert

Anthony
Just as with web sites, an increasing number of social media accounts are managed by third parties on behalf of the individuals or organisations who ostensibly ‘own’ them, often under a commercial arrangement.
Just as WUWT & RC are managed by a moderation team so will be many activist social media accounts, especially those for individuals who are so important to the ‘science’ that tolerating any contrary opinion, let alone entering a debate, would be considered a waste of their valuable time.
Bear in mind that sock puppetry is not limited to message board & blog comments

climatebeagle

and have perseverance, I’m still trying over three months later to obtain the reference that backs this statement:
WILLIAM COLLINS, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: “Look at how warm California has gotten, four or five degrees hotter than our historical climate.”
Dr. Collins has never replied, PBS NewsHour said they would look into it, but that was in Sept. Even the PBS Ombudsman (who has been responsive) can’t get an answer from NewsHour.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec12/climatechange_09-17.html

climatebeagle

I see the same as Chris D, last article is from Nov 10th. Using the link provided in the article:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/wattsupwiththat/133662869999306
Did you privacy settings get changed?

Alan Clark

Welcome to the 21st century new tweeters. Expect that Mann and McKibbin will block you instantly but interestingly Al Gore will put up with all manner of abuse. The value is that while Mann may block you, you still get to converse with his followers and some pretty productive discussions ensue. You’ll find that most of the Mann and McKibbenites have no idea of some of the more inconvenient information such as the recent IPCC AR5 draft “hide the decline” graphs. I’m sure that I have brought many to tears with my patented “Before you throw your usual “WUWT is not a credible source” straw-man, please note that the chart is from IPCC AR5″.
It’s a blast!

Chris D.

Hmm – Anthony, it must be an iPhone (what I typically use) thing vs the larger platform that I am using now. iPhone doesn’t display the “share” option for the page whereas using the laptop does. Odd. However, I am correct that the last status posted was Nov. 10:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/wattsupwiththat/133662869999306?fref=ts

stricq

I would much rather see WUWT on Google+ as I don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account.

CodeTech

Same with me… last item on Facebook page is Nov 10, and that was linking directly from the FB link on THIS page.

This seems as good a time as any. I’ve just started a climate related blog. The first article (the first of 2 or 3 parts) is about the Mann vs. Steyn defamation case and what Mann has been up to on his Facebook account. I had written it to submit to WUWT but Anthony has stated that he doesn’t want to quote the offending text here. Which I totally understand. But it is impossible to write anything in-depth about the case without quoting it.
Anyway, this is the link for anybody that is interested.
QTCV http://qtcv.wordpress.com/

If you raise enough hackles, your accounts will be banned as well. Facebook and Twitter are not equal opportunity sites. They have their own agenda, and the people that are going to get their information from it are exactly like your example:
“I like peace, you know”. Forgetting the blood shed to get to that point.
As Calvera (Eli Wallach) said ” If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”

mpainter

philjourdan says: January 2, 2013 at 11:29 am
If you raise enough hackles, your accounts will be banned as well. Facebook and Twitter are not equal opportunity sites. They have their own agenda, and the people that are going to get their information from it are exactly like your example:
“I like peace, you know”. Forgetting the blood shed to get to that point.
As Calvera (Eli Wallach) said ” If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”
================================
He wants them sheared, most definitely. So let’s be goats.

My biggest concern about Facebook and especially Twitter is that it tends to dumb down any debate to bite sized chunks. Yes, it’s great for keeping people informed so long as the information is minimal. And, yes, you can reach a lot of people but what kind of audience does it consist of? People with an attention span of two or three lines of text at a time. [And, yes I do appreciate the irony of what I just said in two or three lines of text.]

Godric

Who in there right mind would want to sign up and follow Mann and McKibben and his ilk on FB or anywhere? One look at the drippy infantile exchange between McKibben and Andrea whats her face tells me all i need to know. If others want to fight them. Good. You do a stirling job keeping your cool dealing with the mentalist made-up rent seeking drivel that they spew ALL the time. Im not interested in gadgets and (un)social media, it bores me. Just as well the good fight is not left to me. Keep up the good work

Cam_S

I don’t know about Facebook or Twitter…
Seems they both get used mostly for mundane, stupid things.
One of my favorite cartoons for Facebook and Twitter;
http://s146.photobucket.com/albums/r260/cam_shaft/?action=view&current=thefuture.jpg

Lewis P Buckingham

Cannot get the hashtags link to work

Ulrik says:
January 2, 2013 at 10:09 am
Ok, sorry my phone translated half that post to Danish 🙂
Lol. I relate easily to that! I guess all people who dont have English as their device’s language do. I regularly fight my tablet.

James Allison

Great idea Anthony and I’m sure that many regular readers will embrace the social media as an alternative way to get the message across. At the very least Michael Mann will be too busy blocking people that he won’t have time to do any more of that particularly bad science he has been previously won’t to do.

Cam_S says:
January 2, 2013 at 11:55 am
I don’t know about Facebook or Twitter…
Seems they both get used mostly for mundane, stupid things.
That was my opinion back then. Then I reminded myself that the use of a thing is what I do with it.

Big Trev

I just followed the link to Mann’s FB page and will follow for a while. But when you read the nastiness of the commenters one feels a little unclean. Those who follow the AGW creed have a different tone to the comments you read on this site or others like Jo Nova. I think it is why people like me feel hesitant to take on these guys directly as it gets personal, nasty and downright ugly very quickly – really it is sinister.

Gunga Din

“1. If you don’t have a Twitter account or Facebook account yet, get one. They are free, and you can turn them off at any time if you just get tired of them.”
==================================================================
I don’t have either but I was on Facebook briefly. I don’t know how twitter works and maybe facebook has changed since then but if you do get a facebook account and then drop it, your “friends” will not be told you have cancelled your account. They’ll be told you dropped them as “friends”. I’d suggest putting up a notice a week or so before telling them you plan to cancell to avoid misunderstandings.

I went to Mann’s facebook and twitter accounts and can’t imagine getting up every morning to the dreck and hyperbole that he spews. It would mess up my day from the word go. You are a stronger man than I, Anthony.

Alan Clark

David Ross Says:
Contrary to your perception, I actually find that the links to information outside of Twitter and Facebook are the valuable resources. As I mentioned previously, I can give people a quick jibe and then a link to a full article or web-page. Whether they travel through or not is anybody’s guess but I routinely follow the links from my twitter pals and often come across some real gems.

john robertson

It may be a premature assumption that, what Twits around McGibbon and Mann do, have any resonance in the real world.
What little of the twit-world I have scanned , brings mutual admiration society to mind.
I find these so nauseating that I do not think contrary comment necessary.
When the Mann is making an ass of himself, why would I interfere?

If a published pro-AGW researcher or apologist was truly interested in discussing or debating the multiple facets of climate change, then I’d add them to my Twitter and Facebook (not that I often use either). But after my posting credentials were pulled at two, pro-AGW web sites for linking to alternative, peer-reviewed papers, I understand AND (more importantly) accept that such a person is neither a dedicated practitioner of the scientific method nor an honest proponent of reviewing all the available data. Instead, they have seemingly embraced a subjective belief system, which acknowledges a revealed truth (i.e., faith) rather than an objective truth (i.e., reason).
A number of prominent people have staked their professional reputations, careers, livelihoods, and (reportedly) lives on (1) the notion that catastrophic climate change is occurring and (2) humanity is responsible. A person cannot back away from such an entrenched position without having a serious and possibly damaging break with reality. Debating them via any medium is likely to be frustrating and ultimately pointless.

Tom Jones

I hate to rain on your parade, but far and away the most interesting thing about WUWT is the kind of lengthy analysis that won’t come close to fitting in 140 characters. I’m a lot more interested in the stuff that set Ms. Angulo off than I am in witty comments to her.

Had my own Twitter page since 2010 but barely knew how to use it more effectively until recently. Set up my new FB page relating to it just a few weeks ago and now I have over 70 Friends, many who are the ‘celebrities’ of the skeptic side:
https://twitter.com/questionagw
https://www.facebook.com/russell.cook.7334

paul matthews

I agree that twitter is worthwhile.
Other people to follow include
Roger pielke jr
bishop hill @adissentient
tamsin edwards @flimsin
lucia
and of course paul matthews @etzpcm

Ian H

Although I have a FB account (mostly so that I can friend my kids) I never use it. Despite this it is disturbingly accurate in terms of its knowledge of my social network. The amount of information this company holds on ordinary people makes big brother look like a complete ignorant wimp. The world seems to be trending towards corporate dictatorship and whereas governments have run very inefficient dictatorships, corporations seem to be frighteningly efficient at it.

Gene Doebley said (January 2, 2013 at 9:29 am)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Watts-Up-With-That/110272895662047?fref=ts&__req=d&rf=133172440046388#
Are there two WUWT? This one has only 317 likes.
REPLY: It appears that one is a doppelganger – Anthony…”
Apparently, it’s a re-direct from wiki. Maybe you need to go there and set the correct re-direct location.

Alan Clark wrote:

Contrary to your perception, I actually find that the links to information outside of Twitter and Facebook are the valuable resources. As I mentioned previously, I can give people a quick jibe and then a link to a full article or web-page. Whether they travel through or not is anybody’s guess but I routinely follow the links from my twitter pals and often come across some real gems.

Point taken. I agree social media functions best as lists of links to other places where more information and better discussion can be found. But I am still resistant to using them. I do not trust Facebook in light of their past behaviour regarding privacy and other issues.
But as Anthony points out, you cannot ignore them if you want to participate in a battle for public opinion.