Study: Leonardo DiCaprio's Impact on Climate Communication


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A scientific study has attempted to analyse the impact of a recent Leonardo DiCaprio climate speech on Twitter and other social media – and has concluded a DiCaprio speech is better value than a COP conference.

Big Data Sensors of Organic Advocacy: The Case of Leonardo DiCaprio and Climate Change

The strategies that experts have used to share information about social causes have historically been top-down, meaning the most influential messages are believed to come from planned events and campaigns. However, more people are independently engaging with social causes today than ever before, in part because online platforms allow them to instantaneously seek, create, and share information. In some cases this “organic advocacy” may rival or even eclipse top-down strategies. Big data analytics make it possible to rapidly detect public engagement with social causes by analyzing the same platforms from which organic advocacy spreads. To demonstrate this claim we evaluated how Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 Oscar acceptance speech citing climate change motivated global English language news (Bloomberg Terminal news archives), social media (Twitter postings) and information seeking (Google searches) about climate change. Despite an insignificant increase in traditional news coverage (54%; 95%CI: -144 to 247), tweets including the terms “climate change” or “global warming” reached record highs, increasing 636% (95%CI: 573–699) with more than 250,000 tweets the day DiCaprio spoke. In practical terms the “DiCaprio effect” surpassed the daily average effect of the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Earth Day effect by a factor of 3.2 and 5.3, respectively. At the same time, Google searches for “climate change” or “global warming” increased 261% (95%CI, 186–335) and 210% (95%CI 149–272) the day DiCaprio spoke and remained higher for 4 more days, representing 104,190 and 216,490 searches. This increase was 3.8 and 4.3 times larger than the increases observed during COP’s daily average or on Earth Day. Searches were closely linked to content from Dicaprio’s speech (e.g., “hottest year”), as unmentioned content did not have search increases (e.g., “electric car”). Because these data are freely available in real time our analytical strategy provides substantial lead time for experts to detect and participate in organic advocacy while an issue is salient. Our study demonstrates new opportunities to detect and aid agents of change and advances our understanding of communication in the 21st century media landscape.

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I guess we can look forward to jetset climate hero Leonardo DiCaprio being bombarded with even more official honorary climate roles, as well as lavish sponsorship offers from anyone who wants to sell an electric car.

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Tom Halla
August 8, 2016 10:39 pm

How depressing anyone takes him seriously.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2016 2:54 am

Oh boy!…yet another “peer-reviewed” paper, tinkering with and tweaking the hive’s wanker-normative con-artistry, from that cutting-edge and unfailingly paradigm-busting branch of hive-science that specializes in turnin’ out gimcrack, marketing tips-and-tricks for the use of its myriad “agents-of-change”, hired-guns, hucksters, flim-flammers, hype-masters, puffery-pushers, sweet-talkers, wheedling-geekballs, green-washed opportunists, tenured bull-shitters, spoiled-brat dumb-kids, useless-dorks-with-hive-mummy-connections, and all the other, mutant, blood-meal-based, good-comrade life-forms and their bot-replicant spin-offs contained within that grab-bag of grifters the hive employs to seal-the-deal for its signature Gaia-hustle scam and build a better, agit-prop rip-off. Like I said…Oh boy!
Haven’t we seen this movie before? And, oh by the way, can’t the hive find, for once, some air-head, pretty-boy celebrity-lickspittle, who is not also an in-your-face, grotesquely obscene example of your basic, sell-out, brazen-hypocrite, carbon-piggie eco-bootlicker, to star in at least one of its interminable, street-theater productions? And must everything, with which the hive’s organs come in contact, instantly sink into a sloganeering, motor-mouth, mind-numbing miasma of Orwellian, double-think, crapulous*, party-line cant and group-think, Lysenkoist orthodoxy? But, then, us “good guy” lovers of Liberty and ethical science know the answers to all the above questions. Keeps us goin’–and then some.
*Contrary to what the lefty-infiltrated, in-on-the-deal, so-called “Dictionary community” would have you believe, dear reader, to the contrary, the natural and rightful definition of “crapulous” is “full of crap”, or for those of you who prefer the slightly more crass, but traditional, High-Renaissance, Italian-derived alternative–“full of crapola”.

Reply to  mike
August 9, 2016 10:07 am

Nice! And Cook’s enc etc for the Cooking aka Rigging.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2016 9:49 am

Well, people were actually researching his points, which is a valid point of analysis, and this is using real, measured data instead of proxies or analyses. While I would put high bars of error on any conclusion, I would say that we can definitely say a single public speech given in a lay forum is far more effective than a giant conference preached to the choir.
Of course, this has been well known for millenia. It wasn’t Brutus’s or Cicero’s speeches to the Senate that stirred people to action, but Mark Antony’s public funeral oration for Caesar that caused rioting in the streets of Rome after the Ides of March.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
August 9, 2016 3:28 pm

I think that speech by Marc Antony is probably the most powerful speech in English Literature – that I have read.
It is – in the play – the wording of Shakespeare.
I don’t know whether it had any historic basis; I think the wording, the rhythm, the oratorical devices all came from the late 16th Century – if influenced by the great Classic orators.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
August 9, 2016 5:14 pm

While the actual text of the speech didn’t survive, and Cicero wasn’t at the funeral to comment on it, we do have records of the speech, and the riot that followed.
It didn’t start with “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” though

David Walton.
August 8, 2016 10:40 pm

Do do not pretend to understand this at all. Who gives a hoot what Leonardo DiCaprio says about anything? Are we a species of idiots who think actors have some special or relevant knowledge about climate science?

Reply to  David Walton.
August 9, 2016 9:16 am

Wait: There’s Alar, Autism from vaccinations, fracking all of which were quite heavily influenced by celebrities. So the answer to your question may indeed be “yes”.

Reply to  Reality check
August 9, 2016 11:51 am

I always defer to that noted agronomist and toxicologist Meryl Streep.

Christopher Paino
Reply to  David Walton.
August 9, 2016 10:52 am


Mike McMillan
Reply to  David Walton.
August 9, 2016 9:09 pm

We pay people to entertain us, to amuse us. If they sing and dance very well, we sometimes reward them very well.
Should I ever require Mr DiCaprio’s opinion on anything, I will surely send him a check.

August 8, 2016 11:03 pm

I wonder if DiCaprio has learned the difference yet, between “Glo.Bull Warming” and a “Chinook Wind” ?

Keith Woollard
August 8, 2016 11:16 pm

He made a movie on a beach once, what more qualifications do you need!!

Reply to  Keith Woollard
August 9, 2016 12:01 am

The Rising Sea Level obviously missed.

Peter O'Brien
August 8, 2016 11:22 pm

Right at the moment I’m reading 1984. That extract above could have been lifted directly from it.

August 8, 2016 11:26 pm

I suspect any attention gained by people like him will be fleeting and of no lasting detriment to society

Reply to  David Johnson
August 9, 2016 12:11 am

Jenny McCarthy has had a lasting effect on many people’s lives.

4 Eyes
August 8, 2016 11:29 pm

“I guess we can look forward to jetset climate hero Leonardo DiCaprio being bombarded with even more official honorary climate roles, as well as lavish sponsorship offers from anyone who wants to sell an electric car.” And I am sure he will ensure he make personal appearances by using his low CO2 footprint jet to get there. Maybe Al Gore will fly the same flight path to join him.

Gary Hladik
August 8, 2016 11:31 pm

Celebrities. Is there anything they don’t know? 🙂

August 8, 2016 11:39 pm

that’s how goofy the climate movement is. it’s a circus. the clowns rule.

August 8, 2016 11:41 pm

Arne get down of that tower before you get hurt.

August 8, 2016 11:51 pm

Ah – but they don’t know why people were looking for said content. Skeptics look for his quotes as well – but not because of any positive effect he’s had on how people view climate change. I certainly go after quotes made by alarmists for other reasons…you know…like Obama saying “the planet will boil over.” I suspect that if I were to do a search for DiCaprio’s speech, I would find plenty of the same kind of fodder, lol.

Michael 2
Reply to  4TimesAYear
August 9, 2016 7:04 am

Agreed; my first thought also. An increase in Google Searches does not indicate agreement; but I think the term was “engagement”. Skeptics of the world, engage!

August 8, 2016 11:55 pm

In an era where George Clooney operates a satellite to monitor hostilities between to nations in Africa, “climate awareness advocacy” isn’t even “bumper sticker on a burned out car in a scrap yard” level of commitment yet it is rewarded with actual $$s.

Reply to  prjindigo
August 9, 2016 6:53 am

Actually, “global warming” jumped the shark a long time ago as a “fashionable” advocacy “cause.” Today it’s all about Racism, Hating, Homophobes, Trans-phobes, and Black Lives Matter. I don’t think nearly as many people are hanging on ol’ Leo’s words as he thinks. Teen-heartthrob movie “Titanic” was a generation ago now, and The Man Himself is turning into a paunchy dirty old man who looks like a low-level gangster. He’s not anything close to a “scientist,” and I think a lot of people have had a major bellyful of agitprop in general and “activist” talking heads in particular. The best thing we can do is ignore him and all his kind.

Reply to  Goldrider
August 10, 2016 8:00 pm

“…The Man Himself is turning into a paunchy dirty old man who looks like a low-level gangster.”
He did that role too, in Gangs of New York. To me, he occasionally looks like Jack Nicholson, but seems to be edging closer to Orson Welles. Watch the waistline, and the leftist activism, also more Welles than Nicholson, a liberal Democrat who plays both sides.

August 9, 2016 12:08 am

“Because these data are freely available in real time our analytical strategy provides substantial lead time for experts to detect and participate in organic advocacy while an issue is salient.”
Standard cointelpro (counter intelligence program) practice, and Climate Change inc. is after all the official top priority of the US Gov . . Do the math, I suggest ; )

Dodgy geezer
August 9, 2016 12:08 am

Great methodology! Now you just need to differentiate between:
“Caprio talked about climate change – there must be something in it…” and
“Caprio talked about climate change – what a wanker…”

August 9, 2016 12:15 am

UN, White House et al. may be ditching Mr. DiCaprio given his (his film and film company, remember the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’) involvement in the ongoing 1MDB (One Malaysian Development Bank) scandal.

August 9, 2016 12:40 am

Twitter is a Left echo chamber … is anybody surprised?

August 9, 2016 12:56 am

It is the train wreck effect. Take something conspicuous, involve it in an event that is unexpected, and many people will watch just to see how it ends. Some will even become fascinated by the details. That doesn’t mean they want to be a part of it, though.

August 9, 2016 1:24 am

Kevin Kostner would be even better, “After the melting of the polar ice caps, most of the globe is underwater. Some humans have survived, and even fewer still, notably the Mariner (Kevin Costner), have adapted to the ocean by developing gills.”
The opening scene is marvelous! North America is covered in water to a depth of hundreds of feet greater than all the water on the surface of the Earth and probably the crust as well.
I had a good laugh when one of the characters pointed to the Mariner’s gills. (I never read the spoilers, so was taken by surprise.)
You don’t need scientific facts to make a good story.

August 9, 2016 2:15 am

Climate communication and advocacy from an actor who by all accounts has the carbon footprint of a small nation i.e. yachts, multiple mansion size homes and a private jet or two…

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  AussieBear.
August 9, 2016 6:01 am

Precisely. They should now do a “study” on that to see how well all that detracts from his “communication” prattle.

Reply to  AussieBear.
August 9, 2016 6:54 am

Right up there with Obama!

August 9, 2016 3:37 am

I like Leonardo. He is so cool, and so handsome, and so hip. And saved that poor lonely suicidal chick in that iceberg movie. Whatever he says is ok with me.

August 9, 2016 6:07 am

I hear there are some openings in Caracas for useful idiots, especially the Hollywood types.

August 9, 2016 6:17 am

Someone should do an on the street survey of what people think Leo actually knows about climate science and then reveal some actual answers Leo gave to climate science questions, and we call can have a laugh because everyone is wrong.

Alan the Brit
August 9, 2016 6:24 am

He’s a good actor, like oh so many of these thesbians are! Trouble is, they are actors, NOT technically minded nor competent people, (apart from Harrison Ford who at least started out as a carpenter!). When they portray “scientists” on screen I doubt much that they have a clue what dialogue they are spouting in their on screen pretence!

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Alan the Brit
August 9, 2016 6:46 am

Odd, I wouldn’t think there would be that many lesbian actors, or that he’d be one of them.

Mark from the Midwest
August 9, 2016 6:49 am

“Big data analytics make it possible to rapidly detect public engagement with social causes by analyzing the same platforms from which organic advocacy spreads.”
This is nonsense, with most large and dis-organized data sets it’s next to impossible to find a significant and non-spurious “anything.” Many threads on purely social platforms quickly devolve into nonsense. In marketing and communications it’s common for decision makers to lean on spurious relationships only because something is better than nothing at all, (association to an association is better than random scatter).
The notion that there were 250,000 tweets that linked DiCaprio to climate change doesn’t mean anything more than there was parroting of the parrot. DiCaprio parrots all the buzz words. His diehard fans parrot the parrot. In terms of traditional models of learning there is nothing real going on here.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
August 9, 2016 3:34 pm

They’re de-evolving rapidly from eating nothing but kale, with their sperm counts lowering apace. Fear not!

Caligula Jones
August 9, 2016 6:59 am

Could be worse, trust me. Here in Canada, we have a True Climate Change Believer Prime Minister who is more famous for taking his shirt off than actually having a third digit to his IQ.
Nice to know that we could dispense with actual democracy and elections and stuff shop for a political leader at the local gym.

Ross King
Reply to  Caligula Jones
August 9, 2016 8:28 am

Here in Canada, those of us who cannot forget his eminently forgettable father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, will remember that that generation of the family lucked-out … PET actually got a third digit to his IQ, AND he used it (literally) for demonstrating his imperious & dismissive demeanour to the average Joe Voters from train windows. Other genetic traits remain, sadly, intact. Shirt-dropping, pugilist Pretty-Boy will do anything to keep his (politically illiterate) female groupie-fans creaming their jeans and squealing in the bleachers.

Caligula Jones
Reply to  Ross King
August 9, 2016 9:29 am

Well, as the old joke goes, a Hollywood Starlet wanted to make a baby with Famed Physicist. “Why” she purred, “he’ll have my looks and your brains”. “But dear”, said the scientist, “what if its the other way around?”.
In this case, I supposed the best case scenario that PM Selfie doesn’t have his mother’s brains. Although she doesn’t use them much, maybe he could borrow them on state occasions.

August 9, 2016 8:45 am

Leotardo Deepcrapio

August 9, 2016 9:32 am

Jet setting for climate awareness….and publicity. I suppose it beats the Kardashians and Jenners, but not by much.

August 9, 2016 9:39 am

Searched for tweets including the terms “climate change” or “global warming”
Quick, somebody apply for another Jolly Green Mutant Climate Grant to make sure the Twitterers agree at the 97% level that “CO2 is a greenhouse gas and we’re all gonna die!” Why would their scientific acumen be any different from the “expertise” of the Carboneering Climate Change “Scientists”? QED. And it’s a Consensus of all the “Right People”!
But don’t nobody try to just steal Cook’s and in fact all the Mainstream Climate Scientists’ “proprietary method” above or you’ll face another Frau D charge for trying to be one of the self-anointed Masters Of The Universe – such as the newly inducted Leonardo, hallowed be his name – or at least for Trying To Supplant The King Of The Underworld. [For example, for some Pigs it’s not T-Reason anymore! See James Comey’s new U.S. Code Legal Precedent for being President, ~”Too unsophisticated/not reasonable enough to be Prosecuted.” And credit where it’s due to Saul Alinsky’s teachings. [pbuh] At least ~”Satan got a Kingdom!”]
No, if you want to use the MSCCCS’s and Satan’s Always Short Circuited Method, you’ll be well-greened, but you’ll have to give up your Soul! As even the Pope has responded, “No problem, Naomi.”

August 9, 2016 9:54 am

What needs to be kept in mind is that one fourth of the kids gradusting have been medicated with psychotropics during their developing years. This is to enable them to sit in rows for tthirteen years in a public school under the teachers’ unions. The rest have also been brain damaged by illegal drugs, and suffer various degrees of mental impairment.
This is largely traceable to the fact that the boomers were listening to an academic Twit named Timothy Leary, and an array of rock Twits who were also pushing drugs.

Reply to  Zeke
August 9, 2016 10:12 am

The strategies that experts have used to share information about social causes have historically been top-down, meaning the most influential messages are believed to come from planned events and campaigns.

This is a really critical opportunity for the counter culture to to understand just how top down their movements actually were.

August 9, 2016 10:03 am

One could suppose the upside of Leo speaking in lieu of COP meetings is a marked reduction in useless travel by world delegates to these annual meetings. Ah, but then what would all these *scientists* do for vacation since they couldn’t possibly go to a nice tropical island paradise on their own dime.

Retired Kit P
August 9, 2016 10:14 am

I like it much more when celebs worry climate change and fat people.
Jane Fonda took her work out tape money to fund a campaign with her activist husband, Tom Hayden, to close the nuke plant I worked, Rancho Seco.

David Ball
August 9, 2016 10:53 am

I, for one, will never let DiCaprio forget his Chinook gaff. It is beautiful in that it reveals so many levels of lack of understanding about how our atmosphere works. How a Chinook works is a hard question for even seasoned alarmists to explain and incorporate into their understanding.
Hold their feet to the fire.
Stop making stupid people famous.

Mickey Reno
August 9, 2016 10:56 am

Every day and in every way, my comparison of modern CAGW alarmists to Scientology becomes more accurate. The Scientologists also use their big celebrity movie star adherents (esp. Tom Cruise) to peddle their influence and recruit new believers. Has Leo DiCaprio become the first Operating Thetan of the Church of CAGW?

David Chappell
August 9, 2016 5:15 pm

I have never understood why actors are regarded as savants. Their sole purpose in life is to repeat lines written by someone else and do as they are told by a director – excellent training for being an expert on everything.

George Lawson
August 10, 2016 3:18 am

If you want to get a message across then use an actor. An actor does not have to think for his or herself or question what they are told. They are trained to take in anything they read or are told to say. That’s why most of them are in the ‘Green’ camp. They do not have to be basically intelligent. indeed most of them would not pass a test on any subject. So long as they are reasonably good looking and have a good voice they become all-important, at least in their own minds. And dressing for the red carpet to parade like cattle at an agricultural show will help Their only equals are in their absence of intelligence are those that promote the AGW cause, and the mindless admirers who worship the ground they walk on..

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