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During its first year of incubation, Upwell successfully pioneered the development of new methodologies in social monitoring, demonstrated success in elevating the ocean conversation above the ...

During its first year of incubation, Upwell successfully pioneered the development of new methodologies in social monitoring, demonstrated success in elevating the ocean conversation above the baseline, earned praise for its non-branded approach to campaigning from social media thought leaders and attracted additional philanthropic interest in expanding the project beyond the intent of the pilot phase across a range of environmental issues. We are grateful for the Waitt Foundation’s significant initial investment, which provided the vision and commitment to launch this entrepreneurial initiative and are appreciative of other funding we have received for the project.

This is the final report of Upwell’s pilot phase, completed in February 2013.

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Upwell Pilot Report 2013 Upwell Pilot Report 2013 Document Transcript

  • By Rachel Weidinger, Rachel Dearborn, Matt Fitzgerald,Saray Dugas, Kieran Mulvaney and Britt Bravohttp:/ /upwell.usTwitter: @upwell_usUpwell Pilot Reporthttp:/ /creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
  • Table of ContentsI: Executive Summary Page 3II: Introduction Page 15III: Theory of Change and Context for Our Work Page 16IV: Process and Methodology Methods: Big Listening Page 25 Methods: Campaigning Page 50V: Metrics of Impact Attention Impacts and Graphs Page 75 Ocean Evangelist Capacity Impacts Page 96VI: Insights Comparative Ocean Conversation Page 114 Analytics Insights: Big Listening Page 138 Campaigning, Collaboration and Powerful Page 145 Amplifiers Network Map: Ocean Evangelists and Ocean Page 161 Voices Online 2
  • Executive SummaryThe ocean is in crisis, plagued by overfishing, habitat loss, and acidification, among other issues.While the ocean serves as the engine for our climate and plays a central role in the global foodsystem, it still fails to register for many as a relevant and primary issue. It is, quite literally, out ofsight and out of mind. The virtual invisibility of the ocean in public discourse is a major obstaclefor the ocean conservation community to adopt and implement solution-based policies.The key to Upwell’s success—and thus, the success of the ocean conservation community—isnot to blast new, shiny information into the interwebs, but rather to nurture and bridge virtualand real-life distributed, diverse networks, and to leverage the combined reach and power ofthose networks of communicators to participate in and amplify the best content and campaigns.In inventing a new kind of collaboration, we’ve provided the tools and the space, and relied onthe ever-growing community of ocean communicators to work together to make change.Upwell’s array of goals—to utilize the immediacy of online communications, experiment withways to increase the reach of valuable content, empower and foster a broader network of oceancommunicators, and enrich our understanding of the conversational ecosystem surroundingocean topics—coalesced our broader vision of “conditioning the climate for change.” Webelieve that by getting more people talking about ocean issues and raising the baseline ofconversation, broader audiences will be more likely to take action, change behavior, and pushfor policy change that will have positive effects for our oceans.Our primary metric for understanding the conversations analyzed in this report is what we referto as a “social mention” (or “social item”). Upwell defines a social mention as the text inclusionof a monitored keyword in a post on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, blogs,mainstream news with RSS feeds, forums/boards, YouTube or Pinterest. Social mentions areonline acts of self-expression in which individuals, organizations and other entities invest (atleast) a small amount of social capital.Upwell employs Big Listening in order to understand the volume and character of onlineconversations about ocean issues. Big Listening is the art and practice of tracking topical onlineconversations over time—listening to what “the internet,” writ large, is talking about. Whencombined with data-informed campaigning, Big Listening provides a methodology forincreasing both the frequency and volume of online conversation around a particular issue. Thebasic idea is to identify pockets of real-time or historical conversation, wherever they may be,and then to use that information to make the conversation bigger. Big Listening is distinguishedfrom traditional social media monitoring by its scale, fluidity, focus on issue or cause monitoring,and expanded access to historical data. 3
  • In our work to date, the team at Upwell has come to believe that there are three measurablecharacteristics of the online ocean conversation. We are increasingly attentive to: 1. Constant level of conversational volume (Baseline), 2. Notable outliers in increased volume (spikes), and 3. Density of conversational hotspots (spike frequency).Upwell practices Big Listening on English-language conversations in the following eight topicareas: Overfishing, Sustainable Seafood, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Oceans, Cetaceans(whales and dolphins), Sharks, Tuna, Gulf of Mexico and Ocean Acidification. For each topic,both real-time and historical data provide essential context for understanding the volume,evolution and characteristics of the overall conversation.Each topic we monitor is characterized and defined by a set of search terms (includingexclusions) that we refine on an ongoing basis. While we recognize the limitations of “keywordgroups,” such as their reliance on text-based results and the absence of contextual awareness,they do provide a powerful tool for analyzing online attention. The development and activerefinement of keyword groups is at the heart of Big Listening methodology.At the time of writing, our current Baseline (v3.1) is the average of the lowest 20% of socialmention values for a topic on a given day of the week. In addition to the Baseline, we tracksignificant increases in online attention for a particular topic, or spikes. When you graph thosesocial mentions, you can actually see that burst of attention ‘spike’ the graph—hence the name.Upwell defines a spike as occurring when the social mention volume for a given day meets orexceeds one standard deviation from the mean of all recorded values for that same day of theweek.Upwell’s campaigning model is informed by Big Listening data and combines a few additionalkey elements. Our campaigns are attention campaigns, focused on raising attention to oceanissues. They are minimum viable campaigns, operating on short time-frames and focused onrapid delivery of content, continuous learning and iteration. They are run and amplified across adistributed network, rather than being housed on and amplified by way of our own platforms.What we do with attention campaigns is drive more attention to existing content and actionsthat are not on our properties. They’re not associated with our brand. We use this loosely heldconnection, tying into the momentum of the news cycle and being strategically opportunistic inthe pursuit of creating spikes in attention.Through our minimum viable campaigns, we employ ongoing, iterative, continuous delivery ofcontent, resisting our urges toward perfection and providing irreverent, timely, contextualcontent to audiences immediately instead of strategizing for six months or a year. We focus on 4
  • the quickest, dirtiest thing we can get out the door that we think will have a measurable effecton a conversation.By applying both these models, Upwell has crafted a new way of campaigning that is easilydelivered, measured, and adapts to the ever-changing sea of conversation. In summary, throughour campaigns, Upwell: • Surfs existing conversations in order to increase and expand attention. • Measures social mentions (rather than policy outcomes, petition signatures, or public opinion) to evaluate the success of our campaign efforts. • Delivers, measures, and learns from campaigns on a short time cycle, embedding lessons and insights immediately. We sacrifice perfection. • Collaborates with a network of ocean stakeholders and curating a diverse set of existing ocean content, rather than building on our own brand and creating our own content. Our campaigns are not aligned with Upwell program priorities or policy goals, but instead amplify attention to the priorities and goals of those in our network. • Running our campaigns across a distributed network of ocean communicators, rather than relying on our own platforms as information hubs.Rather than collect a large set of official MOU’s and partner logos to put up on our website, webuilt a loosely held, distributed network. We’ve reached out to nodes of people who control thecommunications channels that reach lots of supporters and followers who are interested inocean issues. We’ve been scrappy and ruthless about who we put into that distributed network,trying to make it diverse and ensure the reach is big.These are the values that guide Upwell in building and strengthening our distributed network: • Trust: we share only science-based content, ensuring that other science-based institutions know that the content we share is trustworthy. • Transparency: we share our campaign and big listening data with our network, so they can apply our lessons in their own work. • Brand-agnostic: we work as willingly with Greenpeace as we do with Deep Sea News, as we do with the Facebook page “I Fucking Love Science.” We will share an organization or individual’s content or campaign, as long as it promotes ocean conservation goals and fits our curation criteria (detailed below). Often, promoting content from an array of brands means releasing control of the message. • Issue-agnostic: We aren’t only focusing on overfishing, through GMO salmon or catch shares, to cultivate the network. We amplify any ocean campaign or content as long as it fits our curation criteria, raising attention for the crisis the ocean faces. 5
  • • Personal: We build relationships with humans, not organizations. The liveliest online conversations happen between people, not institutions. We model the authentic behavior of the internet. • Generous: We provide small bits of advice and feedback to help our network do better. If their work will get more people talking about the ocean online, it fits with our mission.Our Big Listening practice helps us understand the volume and character of oceanconversations, individually and in relation to one another. It also helps us to strategically choosewhere to invest attention. Knowing the scale of conversations—for instance, that the sharksconversation regularly spikes to over 40,000 social mentions in a day (and often much higher),whereas the marine protected areas/marine reserves conversation sits at about 50 per day—helps us right-size our expectations for attention, identify pockets of audiences ripe forengagement, and time our campaigning efforts to capitalize on the regular ebb and flow ofconversation.We curate things to amplify that meet these criteria: • Good science • Socially shareable • Conservation impact • Building social capital • New influencers • Topical • Spikeability • Under amplifiedOnce we’ve identified an opportunity, choosing a tool for dissemination is only part of the battle.We often research, curate, and create in order to provide the most shareable content. There’s noexact science to what we do—our methods are mostly informed by years of experiencecampaigning in social media. However, a few scenarios, outlined below, highlight the mostcommon ways we approach attention campaigning. • Scenario 1: The science and the message is good, but the content isn’t shareable. • Scenario 2: There’s conversation beyond the ocean community. Can we tap into it? • Scenario 3: Team Ocean isn’t coordinated. Can we create more message redundancy? • Scenario 4: The Upwell network doesn’t have direct access to Big Listening data. Can we provide insights to make their campaigns more effective? 6
  • Over time, we’ve seen the number of social mentions generated from each attention campaigngrow, concurrent with the growth of our distributed network. This is the proof in the pudding.As we continue to expand Team Ocean and encourage networked sharing, the number of socialmentions about the ocean will increase, and ultimately increase the baselines of oceanconversations.Both the Sustainable Seafood and Overfishing conversations have substantially changedsince the founding of Upwell. Both distinct conversations have seen significant increases inspike volume, spike frequency, and ratio of average daily social mentions to the averagebaseline.Sustainable Seafood 1400 1400 1200 1200 1000 1000 800 800 600 600 400 400 200 200 0 0 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Sustainable Seafood Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Sustainable SeafoodSide-by-side comparison for Winter 2011 (left) and Winter 2012 (right) showing social mentions byday for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group, as compared to the baseline, spike thresholdand high spike threshold (Winter 2011: 10/17/2011 - 1/31/12; Winter 2012: 10/1/2012 - 1/29/13)In Winter 2011 (above left), when Upwell began Big Listening in Sustainable Seafood, socialmention volume was an average of 423 mentions per day. By Winter 2012 (above right),Sustainable Seafood social mention volume is up 29.9%. Spike frequency in the SustainableSeafood conversation increased 265%. Those spikes were not just occurring more often, theywere also getting bigger. Large volume spikes, those meeting Upwell’s high spike threshold, sawa 475% increase. 7
  • Overfishing 14000 14000 12000 12000 10000 10000 8000 8000 6000 6000 4000 4000 2000 2000 0 0 Oct. 17, 2011 Nov. 17, 2011 Dec. 17, 2011 Jan. 17, 2012 Oct. 1, 2012 Nov. 1, 2012 Dec. 1, 2012 Jan. 1, 2013 Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Overfishing Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold OverfishingSide-by-side comparison for Winter 2011 (left) and Winter 2012 (right) showing social mentions byday for Upwell’s Overfishing keyword group, as compared to the baseline, spike threshold and highspike threshold (Winter 2011: 10/17/2011 - 1/31/12; Winter 2012: 10/1/2012 - 1/29/13)In Winter 2011 (above left), when Upwell began Big Listening in Overfishing, social mentionvolume was an average of 423 mentions per day. By Winter 2012 (above right), Overfishingsocial mention volume is up 71%. Overfishing spike frequency increased 784%. Those spikeswere not just occurring more often, they were also getting bigger. Large volume spikes, thosemeeting Upwell’s high spike threshold, also saw a similar 475% increase.Annotated campaign graphs are included in this report, and illustrate more specifically whereand how Upwell intervened in these two conversations. The Overfishing Conversation The Sustainable Seafood Conversation Winter 2012 Winter 2012 Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2012- Jan 2013 ! Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2012- Jan 2013 ! Gangnam Style, CA MPAs, Fish Tornado 1400 14000 NU-20 NU-24 Vote4 1200 Ocean Video 12000 Antarctic Ocean (day 10) & I Oyster NY NU-22 Cuomo Pacific Bluefin Oysters NY the 96.4% 1000 Big Blue 10000 NMS 40th & NYT Trawling FAD Safeway NU-21 Blogs NU-24 NU-5 NU-19 800 NU-23 8000 Vote4the Ocean How to Kill a Great White Seamounts Cuomo JAWS vs & Rooftops Oysters NY Sinatra Costa Rica Big Blue 600 6000 Fin Ban Blogs 4000 400 2000 200 Antarctic Antartic (day 1 of 15) (day 15) 0 0 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1.0 STDEV Sustainable Seafood SS Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1 STDEV Overfishing OFThe Tide Report, Upwell’s blog and social media channels, topic-specific webinars, plus staffspeaking engagements, guest blog posts and project consulting have provided channels fordelivering shareable content, and practical training and tools to a diverse audience of time- 8
  • starved ocean activists. According to our February 2013 survey, through these tools andopportunities, Upwell has helped the community: • Receive content that they wouldn’t come across through their usual channels • Stay up-to-date on the hottest ocean news • Save time by providing content that they could amplify to their community • Made them feel like they’re part of a community • Helped them balance humor with serious issues in their communicationsWhich ocean topics have the most Baselinevolume? 3000 90000 2500 80000 70000 2000 60000 50000 1500 40000 30000 1000 20000 10000 500 0 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 0 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat MPAs Ocean Acidification Sustainable Seafood Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Overfishing Gulf of Mexico Tuna Sharks Cetaceans OceanSocial mention Baselines for Upwell’s primary ocean topicsPerhaps not surprisingly, when we look at overall levels of conversational Baselines, the generic“oceans” conversation is orders of magnitude larger than the conversations for its constituentcomponents. While to some extent this is the result of so many conversations being conductedunder the “oceans” banner, the word “ocean” is itself so widely used that, without properfiltering, those other uses can distort the apparent size of the discussion. The next two largest ofour topics, Cetaceans and Sharks, also demonstrate comparatively high Baselines when assessedagainst the others. We can see substantial differences among our lowest-volume topics. MPAshas the lowest Baseline, Ocean Acidification and Sustainable Seafood are basically tied forsecond-lowest (each exceeds the for certain days of the week), and Overfishing comes in at 9
  • about five times higher than them.Collectively, overfishing represents a grab bag of ocean brands. The Overfishing conversationbrings together species such as sharks, tuna, salmon and lesser known but equally importantfish, with wonkish report subjects such as fisheries management and lackluster internationalconferences. The topic encompasses a relatively broad conversational area, and one that hashistorically churned out quarterly bursts of dire news.Overfishing has about five times the Baseline volume of Sustainable Seafood, and roughly two-thirds that of our next biggest topic, the Gulf of Mexico. The comparison with SustainableSeafood is particularly interesting because the two topics are obviously intricately connected—the difference is how people talk about them. Whereas sustainable seafood suffers from afragmented and cloudy brand identity (what is sustainable seafood, anyway?), overfishing hascharismatic ocean species such as sharks and bluefin who are in clear and present danger.Danger is catnip to the internet. The Overfishing conversation actually benefits, from anattention point of view, from the ongoing damage that we are doing to our oceans and fisheries.Bad news spikes high and fast online and then it goes away. Intriguingly, the spikes withinOverfishing have been occurring more frequently as Upwell has been monitoring (andcampaigning on) the topic. Overfishing is becoming more spikey and the spikes are increasing involume.The Sustainable Seafood conversation is low-volume with low-level spikes, even while theconcept is becoming increasingly well-established in consumer minds. For comparison, MarineProtected Areas has a lower baseline than Sustainable Seafood but occasionally spikes higherthan the Sustainable Seafood max. Ocean Acidification displays the same characteristic. Anddespite their obvious connections, the volume of the Sustainable Seafood conversation is onlyone fifth of that of the Overfishing conversation. Good news for fisheries and consumers, it turnsout, is not as attention-generating as bad news.The overall brand of Sustainable Seafood is fragmented, awkward and wonky. People simply donot talk about the sustainable seafood that they ate last night, or, crucially, not in those terms.The food service industry has recognized this: one trade publication forecasts growing demandfor sustainable seafood even as it pointed out that consumers prefer the term “wild”—whichobviously means something very different. Furthermore, “sustainable seafood” itself is not aterm well-suited for short-form platforms like Twitter—it takes too many characters and is hardto use in a sentence that doesn’t read as dry. Taken as a whole, the fragmentation of theSustainable Seafood conversation means that it is more difficult to accurately capture itaccurately with keywords, and that a low volume doesn’t necessarily mean people aren’t talking.Unlike Overfishing, which has regular media hooks through connections to Shark Week, direreport releases and celebrity activists, the Sustainable Seafood conversation doesn’t generallytranslate into spikes from live events and or big news stories. Where we do see spikes occur they 10
  • are usually based in one of three elements: well-known brands promoting their sustainableofferings (Safeway, McDonalds), fraud, or a bridge campaign (many of them attributable toUpwell). One other notable burst of attention can be expected from the Sustainable SeafoodSummit—although the resulting content hasn’t been particularly shareable.A comfort with complexity is necessary to forecast weather. Big Listening, similarly, requiressignificant human skill and intuition to, first, develop robust conversational descriptors(keywords) and then, second, to use the resulting information to identify opportunities for acampaign to spike a given conversation. Upwell has intentionally cross-trained campaign andlistening roles so that this integration between listening and intervention is as efficient aspossible. This comes not from any computer readout but from regular, hands-on practice.‘Weather’ forecasting of the social web is a nascent practice. Regular Big Listening to a givenconversation is essential for building an analyst’s awareness of the conversational dynamics atplay. It is most efficient to listen on an ongoing basis. Presence in the conversation is thedifference between watching a baseball game and reconstructing it through the box score.The structure of Upwell intentionally underpins the process for doing Big Listening. Eachmember of Upwell draws on a variety of tools and practices—some shared, some personalized—to generate immediately actionable insight into each day’s online events. We supplement ourpersonal suite of tools and practices with shared Upwell systems (such as Radian6).    Personal Listening Systems [human and machine-assisted] + Shared Listening Systems [machine-assisted and human-network-assisted] + Morning Meeting [humans in conversation] = Big ListeningWhile the context for Big Listening is constantly shifting, we believe that current trends point tosome likely future developments. These include: • New firehoses • Divergent functions • Smarter robots • Privacy fights • Buyer beware • Social science catches up to social media • More visuals • Spike marketplaces • More upwellings 11
  • Emergent best practices for online campaigning from the Upwell pilot include: • You can’t predict what will go viral. • Timeliness and a hook are still really important, but the half-life of news online is shorter than it used to be. Pay attention to ROI on campaigns. • Bridge conversations, movements and communities to make your message go farther. • Identify opportunities based on Big Listening. • Use simple messaging. • Think about the whole viewing and sharing experience. • Narrow in. • Be poised for rapid response. • Pair content with asks, but balance asks across a spectrum of engagement. • Celebrate victories. • Normalize obscure issues or complex ideas with iconic imagery, cultural anchors, or tribe signifiers. • Define your goals and metrics based on what is actually measurable. • Revive old stuff. • Videos: shorter, prettier, more pithy. • Memes: don’t try to make them from scratch. • Celebrity promotion: not a silver bullet.Collaboration in communications is hard, and can be expensive. Emergent best practices forCollaboration, the Distributed Network Way from the Upwell pilot include: • Provide brand neutral content. • Embrace the larger ecosystem of communicators. • Be open to ad hoc partnerships. • Share other organizations’ and people’s content. • Find unique high-touch activities to cultivate personal relationships. • In difficult times, be human.In running rapid attention campaigns, and focusing primarily on social platforms as the mediumfor our ocean famous-making, Upwell has developed a few best practices that can be applied toother small, nimble online teams. • Develop systems to capture insights. 12
  • • Encourage a flat structure. • Keep the campaigning team small, but not too small. • Keep time for developing creative assets to a minimum. • Run lots of little campaigns, and extend the ones that work. • Lean on the personal interests, strengths and networks of your team members. • Recognize and admit your weaknesses.Top insights and best practices for amplifying attention to ocean issues in general, as well assome that are specific to those communicating about overfishing, sustainable seafood, andmarine protected areas from the Upwell pilot include:For ocean communications: • The ocean is out of sight and out of mind. • We assumed there would be a lot of great ocean content. We were wrong about the ‘great’ part. • Plan social media outreach in advance of scientific report releases. • Lower your science hackles. • Cross-promote social content via collaborative outlets. • Anthropomorphize ocean creatures. • Don’t let beautiful ocean pictures do all the talking.Sustainable Seafood: • Scary stories get attention. • “It’s complicated” is a bad relationship status and a bad brand. • The actual practice of eating sustainable seafood continues to be challenging, and news coverage is not making it appear easier. • Focus on specific products, brands and species rather than the overall sustainable seafood issue. • Recipes and fluff pieces don’t generate social mentions.Overfishing: • Focus on actions that are doable and close to home. • Sensational stories make headlines. • Sharks are the quarterback of overfishing, and Shark Week is the Super Bowl of online ocean conversations. Don’t sleep on Shark Week. 13
  • Marine Protected Areas: • The MPA conversation is tiny in comparison to other ocean conversations. • Our MPA vocabulary is fragmented, awkward and wonky. • Share successes. • Emphasize individual connection to MPAs as public commons to create support.This is the final report of Upwell’s pilot phase, completed in February 2012. In it, the foundingteam of Upwell documents new methodologies for conversation analysis, the shape of keyocean conversations, the impacts of our campaign efforts, and emerging best practices for a newera of online communications. We do so in service of the larger marine conservation sector, andwith the hope that what we have learned in our short effort will speed all our collective efforts.The ocean is our client. 14
  • IntroductionOcean Conservancy and the Waitt Foundation collaboratively developed the Upwell project in2010. The project’s goal was to increase the volume of the conversation about the ocean toenhance awareness and support for ocean issues among mass audiences. Ocean Conservancyinitially envisioned an 18-24 month pilot phase for the project, with the incubation stageconcluding in the summer of 2013. We conducted a national search for the project’s leadership,hiring Rachel Weidinger, and launched the fully staffed program in early 2012. During our pilotphase, the Upwell team has enjoyed the contributions of a great number of excellent crewmembers, including Kieran Mulvaney, Ray Dearborn, Matt Fitzgerald, Saray Dugas, Britt Bravo,Lara Franklin, Aaron Muszalski and Kevin Zelnio, and interns Christine Danner, Paulina Dao,Liana Wong, and Kaori Ogawa.  We’re grateful for the support of the Waitt Foundation, ananonymous donor, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and our colleagues at the OceanConservancy including Janis Jones, Melissa Ehrenreich, Shannon Crownover, Amelia Montjoy,Julia Roberson and George Leonard. Vicki Spruill has been an important mentor for the project.This experimental pilot project charted new territory to engage a larger and more diverseaudience in the ocean conversation and to elevate the ocean while not elevating any particularorganization or perspective. We have done this by quantifying the level of the oceanconversation across a range of topics and measuring the impact of engagement on the issue, afirst for the strategic ocean communications initiatives. The Waitt Foundation served as OceanConservancy’s lead partner to help shape the direction, finance the use of new cutting-edgetechnological tools to actively monitor online conversations, and develop aggressive rapidresponse campaigns to reach and mobilize new audiences to care about ocean content. At thebehest of the Foundation, Upwell focused primarily on elevating the online conversations aboutoverfishing and sustainable seafood during this incubation period to test the efficacy of thisinnovative approach. We have had other forward-thinking funders join us in support of thisproject over the past two years.During its first year of incubation, Upwell successfully pioneered the development of newmethodologies in social monitoring, demonstrated success in elevating the ocean conversationabove the baseline, earned praise for its non-branded approach to campaigning from socialmedia thought leaders and attracted additional philanthropic interest in expanding the projectbeyond the intent of the pilot phase across a range of environmental issues. We are grateful forthe Waitt Foundation’s significant initial investment, which provided the vision andcommitment to launch this entrepreneurial initiative and are appreciative of other funding wehave received for the project.This is the final report of Upwell’s pilot phase, completed in February 2012. 15
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  • Theory of Change andContext for Our WorkThe ocean is in crisis, plagued by overfishing, habitat loss, and acidification, among other issues.While the ocean serves as the engine for our climate and plays a central role in the global foodsystem, it still fails to register for many as a relevant and primary issue. It is, quite literally, out ofsight and out of mind. The virtual invisibility of the ocean in public discourse is a major obstaclefor the ocean conservation community to adopting and implementing solution-based policies.The genesis of Upwell was rooted in a need, identified and articulated by Ted Waitt jointly withVikki Spruill of Ocean Conservancy in late 2010, to build an “ocean war room” whose core focuswas to increase attention to ocean issues among new and mainstream audiences.  The effortwould be a non-branded communications effort that would utilize new and traditional media tobuild a fast, aggressive and agile strategic communications platform to increase attention toocean conservation issues in real-time.Although the specific look, feel and direction had yet to be determined, some key elementsarticulated in the earliest stages remain true, over two years later: • It would be an informational effort, one that would simultaneously seek to raise the volume of key ocean issues while elevating them above the growing cacophony of background noise on the Internet and elsewhere. • The effort would be, in a sense, ‘unbranded.’ It would not act as a competing entity in ocean conservation, but would instead highlight the work in conservation and science already being done by others. As was expressed often in internal deliberative conversations in the project’s earliest stages, “people within the community should ideally be fully aware we exist, and that we are a resource to be utilized; but ideally, people in the street will never know of our existence, but simply be more aware of the ocean than they were before.” For that reason, the project was initially referred to internally as “Ocean Underground.” • It needed to be fast, ready to respond to and amplify developments and news at a moment’s notice. 17
  • Testing the WatersWith the loose ideas of direction (detailed above) in mind, we reached out to members of thecommunity to gauge their levels of interest, and understand where we could be the mosteffective. We spoke with many different players in the diverse ecosystem of oceancommunications: researcher/bloggers (e.g., John Bruno of the University of North Carolina),social media experts at NGOs with a particular focus on online mobilization (e.g., Ben Kroetz atGreenpeace), scientist-communicators (e.g., Nancy Knowlton, Jeremy Jackson and StevePalumbi) and many more.We shared with them these still-nascent goals and philosophy: We aim to raise the volume of ocean messaging, by utilizing the huge variety of outlets now available to maintain a constant drumbeat of news and information. We will be doing more than tweeting, blogging, and linking to every ocean story we come across. We will also be providing context, emphasizing issues and topics of particular import and helping ensure an understanding of the way they link to each other. In this way, we hope to raise the volume without merely contributing to the overall background noise. We will not be competing for the limelight. We will not be competing for funding. We do not intend to be another “brand” in the public eye. We shall we be a resource, a means of highlighting, synthesizing and contextualizing ocean issues in a way that brings further attention to those issues and to those who are researching and campaigning on them. We will seek to operate on a multitude of levels. We will work with researchers, organizations and others to produce original content for publication online or in print. We will aim to work with existing outlets and to create our own. We will offer to work with, and provide content for, outlets that need it and also to disseminate content for those who lack such networks. We will be content aggregators, synthesizers, distributors, creators, and magnifiers. [...] We hope that once we become established, we’ll swiftly settle into a pattern, in which it will become routine for members of the community to provide us with content that we can aggregate, magnify and synthesize, and that as a result ocean issues will have no problem being heard in the cacophony of the Internet.Initial feedback was incredibly positive. Members of the community agreed that there was aneed for deeper understanding of the currents of ocean conversation, and a need for a new wayto harness the energy and content and funnel it into more effective campaigning. 18
  • A Social FocusWe decided early on during this scoping process that social media was going to be our playingfield. Campaigns in the digital age—at all levels—require the rapid communication and personalconnections that social media cultivates. We would focus on unique metrics to evaluate oursuccess in penetrating and motivating social networks to spread ocean content within their peernetworks to both boost the volume of online conversations focused on the ocean and tobroaden the conversation beyond the choir. We would also respect and leverage the power oftraditional media by helping to connect social content in ways that would create mainstreammedia attention or extend shelf life. We would strive to make scientific research accessible topopular audiences online and identify relevance to new social and mainstream audiences. As wearticulated in early documents: “As an overarching goal, we have been tasked to increase the volume of ocean news, information and issues. ...Where Ocean Underground can carve out a unique and invaluable role is, as noted at the top of this section, cutting through that noise, highlighting the news that is important, discarding that which is less so, and providing a greater context for that news.”The articulation of this goal responded to what Eli Pariser—formerly of MoveOn.org and nowfounder and CEO of Upworthy—calls the “Filter Bubble”: an increased personalization of theinternet. Search engines, social media platforms and online news outlets apply highlysophisticated algorithms to analyze our internet behaviors and customize our experience,necessarily limiting our exposure to new ideas that might be critical to progressive socialdiscourse. We wanted to explore ways to circumvent and manipulate filter bubbles to broadenthe ocean conversation beyond the choir.We also wanted to experiment with ways to modernize conservation communications, aligningthem with the language and speed of the internet. By monitoring spiking attention and onlineconversation in real-time, we would quickly intervene in a conversation and inject oceancontent into popular conversations. By using humor, wit, hard-hitting facts and education andrecontextualization, we would create highly shareable content tailored to spread through socialspaces.The Need for a Big Team OceanIn our initial conversations, we learned quickly that many people in the ocean world felt theyoperated in silos, focused on one topic, region, or issue. Competition in the marine conservationspace is real—“blue” organizations get only a small fraction of environmental funding. Indeed,several of those with whom we spoke showed particular interest in and enthusiasm for our 19
  • mission when they fully appreciated that we would not be a part of that competition and wouldbe trying to find ways to make their work more effective. Our philosophy at Upwell is that we’repart of a big Team Ocean that includes marine conservation organizations, marine scientists andocean activists. Our competition is Justin Bieber, not each other. While Team Ocean is anythingbut small, most activists, researchers and free agents fly the ocean flag far below their own,specialized flag on the pole. It was clear that we had to invent a new way to collaborate.A primary way that we’d cut through the noise and make valuable content reach broaderaudiences was to foster a bigger and more diverse network of ocean communicators. In ourearly analyses of ocean conversations, we saw what nonprofit social media expert and trainerBeth Kanter calls the rise of “free agents,” and a shift away from traditional nonprofit “fortress”communications. Fortress institutions, Kanter asserts, “work hard to keep their communitiesand constituents at a distance, pushing out messages and dictating strategy rather than listeningor building relationships.”Welcome to the Fortress. Now please go away. Photo by Stuck in CustomsIncreasingly, environmental NGOs—the fortresses—were not driving conversation. Free agents—bloggers at Deep Sea News, managers of Facebook pages like I Fucking Love Science, and socialmedia savvy public figures like George Takei, to name a few—were generating conversation bysharing irreverent content and engaging their followers in a more personal way. Citizen-ledefforts utilizing social media, like the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, are examples ofthe power of decentralized communication.We wanted to bridge and engage both these communities, helping organizations to chip away attheir fortress walls, and connecting free agents with the deep, science-based content that 20
  • organizations and academics could provide. Some organizations outside the ocean sector arebeginning to experiment with this. Greenpeace elevates examples of people-poweredorganizing through its Digital Mobilisation Lab, and in December 2012, MoveOn.org embarked onwhat they call a “bottom-up revolution,” empowering its supporters to determine what issuesand campaigns MoveOn throws its weight behind. Aside from polling members on issues towork on, MoveOn also has a platform that allows members to upload or share content that canbubble up into campaigns.The key to our success—and thus, the success of the ocean conservation community—wouldnot be to blast new, shiny information into the interwebs, but rather to nurture and bridgevirtual and real-life distributed, diverse networks, and to leverage the combined reach andpower of those networks of communicators to participate in and amplify the best content andcampaigns. In inventing a new kind of collaboration, we’d provide the tools and the space, andrely on the ever-growing community of ocean communicators to work together to makechange.The Very Large Array in New Mexico harnesses a network of radio telescopes to increase itslistening power. Upwell does the same. But with social media networks rather than radiotelescopes. 21
  • We Shall Have Bigger Ears and EyesInto the InternetIf Upwell was going to operate on behalf of Team Ocean, we were going to need a way toidentify its members and assess our collective efforts. We needed a big picture perspective onthe ocean online. How many people were on our team? What were they talking about? Were wegetting our butt kicked, attention-wise, by I Can Haz Cheezburger? We needed to understand thevolume and character of online conversations about the ocean.LOLrus: playing for both Team Ocean and Team Cheezburger [source]Upwell recognized that the broadcast model of communications was insufficient for anetworked world in which attention and engagement are the primary currency. But we alsorecognized that if online attention was a currency, the ocean was basically broke. Despitewidespread love for the actual thing, the ocean as represented online was a shadow of itself. Goto the beach and the ocean was captivating. Go on Facebook and it was hard to find at all.We began to develop what would become Big Listening, a methodology and philosophy, oflistening to dynamically evolving online conversations writ large. Our primary lens for assessingsuccess would be whether or not our shared purpose succeeded, not whether our organizationdid. We would eschew the brand constraints that had crippled the ocean’s institutional voicesonline and we would speak fluent internet. We would do everything we could to make theocean more famous on the internet, and we would use Big Listening to measure our progress. 22
  • Step change vs. Incremental Change [source]Upwell entered this challenge looking for step change—a massive, discontinuous leap forward—because the ocean needs a win that really matters. Since those initial developments, BigListening has gone from an abstract concept to a replicable, demonstrated methodology. Our bigwindow on Team Ocean has also had the fortuitous effect of developing new campaigningtechniques for which the ocean sector now has a competitive advantage. That advantage won’tlast forever.Conditioning the Climate forChangeAs Kari Marie Norgaard notes in her book Living in Denial1 : Before an issue can make it into a council meeting, onto picket signs, into the framing of a local news story, or into a newspaper editorial, somebody has to start talking about it. ... Conversation is the site for exchange of information and ideas, for human contact, and for the building of community.Upwell’s array of goals—to utilize the immediacy of online communications, experiment withways to increase the reach of valuable content, empower and foster a broader network of oceancommunicators, and enrich our understanding of the conversational ecosystem surroundingocean topics coalesced into our broader vision of “conditioning the climate for change.” Webelieve that by getting more people talking about ocean issues and raising the baseline ofconversation, broader audiences will be more likely to take action, change behavior, and pushfor policy change that will have positive effects for our oceans.1 Norgaard, K. M. Living in Denial. 2011, Kindle Edition, location 809. 23
  • Metrics: Social MentionsOur primary metric for understanding the conversations analyzed in this report is what we referto as a “social mention” (or “social item”). Upwell defines a social mention as the text inclusionof a monitored keyword in a post on a social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, a blog,mainstream news with an RSS feed, a forum/board, YouTube or Pinterest. Social mentions areonline acts of self-expression in which individuals, organizations and other entities invest (atleast) a small amount of social capital. Social mentions have more in common with the Other Metrics Social Mentions metric of media hits than they do with the more (not social mentions) common, older PR and marketing metric of Tweets and retweets Impressions impressions. Upwell focuses on counting and analyzing social mentions (rather than Mainstream news articles with RSS Views impressions or online mentions) because we feeds and comments believe that the number of people who choose to take an action to create or share content is a Posts, shares and better indicator of engagement than the number comments on Clicks of people who have simply seen (or could have Facebook seen) that content. Likes / Loves / Favs Blog posts and [Facebook, Tumblr, It is worth noting that, while it is theoretically comments Twitter] possible to accurately count every single social Re-blogs on tumblr mention on a topic, Upwell’s Big Listening methodology focuses on characterizing Forum or board posts conversations just thoroughly enough to campaign successfully within them.Furthermore, Upwell believes that social mentions are abetter leading indicator of willingness to take action for the What About “Likes”?oceans than other communications metrics. This is because Likes, loves, and faves (differentsocial mentions represent actions, the choice of an terminology for different socialindividual to risk a small amount of social capital by media platforms) are in a middleassociating their online identity with a piece of online ground. While they are not socialcontent. In aggregate, the volume of social mentions not mentions (as people are notonly represents the amount of attention being paid to a creating new content), they aretopic, but a forecast of potential campaign success. also not as passive as views or impressions. While likes, loves,The strength of a community, by our standards, is measured and faves are not counted bynot by its size, but rather by its engagement level. For Radian6, Upwell does measureexample, if one tweet has 12,000 impressions (the number them, when possible. However,of people who follow the account that posted the tweet), for the purposes of this report wewe count the tweet the same way that we would count a have omitted these metrics sincetweet with 200 impressions. If a person or organization is they constitute only minimalnetwork-oriented, it would follow that their content would public engagement and can require laborious, resource-lead to more retweets, replies and/or mentions. If a tweet intensive manual calculation.goes out to 12,000 followers but gets zero retweets, it is lessof an indicator of willingness to take action than a tweetthat goes out to 200 followers and gets 10 retweets. 24
  • Methods: Big ListeningIntroductionUpwell employs Big Listening in order to understand the volume and character of onlineconversations about ocean issues.In our work to date, the team at Upwell has come to believe that there are three measurablecharacteristics of the online ocean conversation. We are increasingly attentive to: 1. Constant level of conversational volume (Baseline), 2. Notable outliers in increased volume (spikes), and 3. Density of conversational hotspots (spike frequency).Over time, we want to come to understand the role of all three as they contribute toconditioning the climate for change. This section details the current state and maturity ofUpwell’s Big Listening practices, including our Baseline methodology and spike quantificationmethodology.What is Big Listening?“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”- Bruce Lee As more and more of our conversation moves online, the potential of big data to help advocacy organizations understand the environment for their works also increases. To seize this opportunity fully requires setting aside preconceptions and engaging with the world as it is, right now, not as it was assumed to be nine months prior in a grant proposal. In the words of Bruce Lee, you have to “take things as they are,” and use immediate insights to inform your actions.Bruce Lee, strategic opportunist Since November 2011, Upwell has been monitoringthe online ocean conversation on a daily basis to identify opportunities to use our distributednetwork for online campaigning. We listen to eight primary ocean topics: Overfishing,Sustainable Seafood, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Oceans, Cetaceans (whales and dolphins), 25
  • Sharks, Tuna, Gulf of Mexico and Ocean Acidification. Our method of conversational analysis hasbeen called Big Listening, first by Micah Sifry of Personal Democracy Forum, and later bynonprofit social media expert Beth Kanter.Typically, Upwell has used Big Listening to inform campaigns that are then implemented acrossour distributed network of evangelists, influencers and social media managers in order to spreadthe marine conservation conversation beyond the "ocean sector" (beyond ocean conservationorganizations and marine scientists). During and after our campaigns, we use the same BigListening methodology to measure how many social mentions (e.g., tweets, Facebook posts,blog posts) happened in real time.Big Listening is the art and practice of tracking topical online conversations over time—listening to what “the internet,” writ large, is talking about. When combined with data-informedcampaigning, Big Listening provides a methodology for increasing both the frequency andvolume of online conversation around a particular issue. The basic idea is to identify pockets ofreal-time or historical conversation, wherever they may be, and then to use that information tomake the conversation grow bigger. Big Listening is distinguished from traditional social mediamonitoring by its scale, fluidity, focus on issue or cause monitoring, and expanded access tohistorical data.We are not alone in innovating in online conversation. Big corporations, their brands and themilitary are all attempting to make sense of the new networked landscape, whether we realizeit’s there or not. From Target predicting a teenage girl was pregnant through her purchasepattern, or the Obama campaign stitching together millions of voter records with proprietaryconsumer datasets, this cloud-based, networked, indexable world is here to stay. At Nestle, the largest food company in the world, they have gotten the message. After reaching the peak (or perhaps the trough) of social media mismanagement during a Greenpeace campaign that targeted the use of palm oil in Kit Kats, the company dramatically ramped up their online listening through their Digital Acceleration Team. As profiled in a recent Reuters story, the team operates out of a social media war room. Radian6 widgets gleam on wall-mounted flat screen monitors as employees fight for the reputation of,A view inside Nestle’s Digital Acceleration Team among other Nestle products, the plasticheadquarters [original source] water bottle industry.22 http:/ /uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/26/uk-nestle-online-water-idUKBRE89P07Q20121026 26
  • Our war room is a little different. Instead of monitoring a corporate brand or a product, wemonitor the brand of the ocean, focusing on sustainable seafood and overfishing. WhereasNestle’s listening topics are comparatively static and focused on their company properties, oursflow and evolve with the dynamic cause or movement-based conversations that we monitor.This distinction in listening, between the static product and brand conversations typified byNestle, and the shape-shifting, dynamic ocean conversations that Upwell follows, is significant,and a key distinction of Big Listening as we define and practice it. We should note that whenNestle D.A.T. members monitor the plastic water bottle conversation as a whole, rather thantheir company’s share of it, they are practicing something more similar to what we do at Upwell.Baseline MethodologyWhat is a Baseline?Upwell practices Big Listening on English-language conversations in the following eight topicareas: Overfishing, Sustainable Seafood, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Oceans, Cetaceans(whales and dolphins), Sharks, Tuna, Gulf of Mexico and Ocean Acidification. For each topic,both real-time and historical data provide essential context for understanding the volume,evolution and characteristics of the overall conversation.Each topic we monitor is characterized and defined by a set of search terms (includingexclusions) that we refine on an ongoing basis. While we recognize the limitations of “keywordgroups,” such as their reliance on text-based results and the absence of contextual awareness,they do provide a powerful tool for analyzing online attention. The development and activerefinement of keyword groups is at the heart of Big Listening methodology.We use Big Listening in order to: • identify and target high-value items for campaign purposes, • compare the relative size of different ocean sub issues (e.g. sharks vs. whales), and • measure the impact of our campaigns.Since Upwell is a campaign agency (among other things), we needed a way to characterize theseconversations as they exist, absent our interventions. Enter the Baseline. Baselines help us toanchor campaign performance targets in measures of past conversational volume. We set goalsinformed by the Baseline (as well as by spikes), and then campaign to meet and exceed thosetargets.Upwell informally defines a conversation’s Baseline at the point below which the daily volumedoesn’t drop. It can be thought of as a floor (although it is often quite high—in the tens ofthousands for a conversation like Cetaceans) or as the number of social mentions performed 27
  • each day by the topic’s diehard conversationalists. Ifeveryone else left the party, the Baseline would still bethere, dancing by itself.The Baseline: Up Close andPersonalUpwell’s Baseline methodology has evolved to capturethe highly dynamic conversations we watch, especiallycyclical variations by day of the week. These cyclicalvariations often result from usage and posting patterns.For example, people tend to talk on the internet when Robyn: euro popstar, solitary dancer,they’re at work. Over the course of our pilot phase, human Baseline metaphorUpwell has used three different version of Baselinemethodology to better measure the dynamic onlineconversation space: • Baseline v1.0: The lowest level of daily social mentions for a given conversation, for a given period (implemented using Upwell topical keyword groups) [in use through late August 2012] • Baseline v2.0: The median daily social mentions for a given conversation/keyword group for a given period [in use through mid-November 2012] • Baseline v3.0: The average of the lowest 10% of social mention values for a topic on a given day of the week [in use through early January 2013] • Baseline v3.1: The average of the lowest 20% of social mention values for a topic on a given day of the week [currently in use]Our Baseline quantification methodology was created with input from leaders in the fieldincluding: K. D. Payne, Chairman & founder of Salience/ KDPaine & Partners, and co-author ofthe recently released Measuring The Networked Nonprofit; leading nonprofit technologist andPackard Fellow, Beth Kanter; and a senior educational policy analyst for a leading nationalmeasurement/ social statistics firm contracted by the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundationand the U.S. Department of Education.To calculate the Baseline for a particular topic we begin by compiling all available socialmention data for the period since we started monitoring it (mid-October 2011 or later, dependingon the topic). We then disaggregate the data by the day of the week in order to deal with cyclicalvariations in post volume and compare Mondays to Mondays, and Sundays to Sundays. Oncethat’s done we calculate the average (mean) of the lowest 20% of values for each of the sevendays. Taken together, those day-of-the-week values are what we refer to as the Baseline. 28
  • We selected the mean to establish a specific value for each day of the week for three reasons.First, the mean is the starting point for calculating standard deviations used in our spikequantification methodology. Second, given the small size of most ocean conversations, themean is the most typically consistent and available measurement when analyzing theconversation on a by day-of-the-week basis.Baseline Social Mentions by Day-of-Week for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group(10/17/11 - 1/29/13).These daily Baseline values are then graphed against social mention data over time. The graphbelow shows the result. 29
  • Social mentions for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group vs. Upwell’s Sustainable SeafoodBaseline, June 1, 2012 - August 1, 2012.Context and Challenges for BaselineQuantificationAs seen in the overfishing and sustainable seafood conversations, day-of-the-week periodicity ishighly evident in social mention volume, largely driven by mention increases during U.S.working hours across Eastern to Pacific time zones, and with substantial drop offs on weekends.Using the current Baseline as a reference for setting campaign goals removes the disincentivespresent in previous Baseline quantifications to campaign on lower volume days, and gives amore accurate picture of success on all campaign days.Our campaign efforts, along with unexpected conversational developments (e.g., the release of anew report or a natural disaster) require us to add new terms to the relevant keyword group sothat our work, or online mentions of a relevant, unanticipated event, is captured in our searchterms. In the inevitable cases where we find noise in the results returned by particular terms (oldand new), we respond by tightening or removing those terms from the keyword group. 30
  • Since keyword groups have keywords added and subtracted on an ongoing basis, there are someinherent challenges. How should Baseline calculations account for these changes? How andwhen should Baselines be refreshed? Should campaign targets be refreshed retrospectively?How should we treat a spike that loses or gains volume with a refreshed keyword group?Moving forward, Upwell will continue to drive innovations in our Baseline methodology and inthe integration of that methodology into our campaign process.Finding the BaselineDeveloping a Baseline for a topic or conversation requires an iterative process of definition,testing and measurement. And once you’ve got it, you have to refresh it to account forconversational evolutions. It’s like a marriage in that way, or so we’re told.Measuring something requires you to define it. The trick in measuring a conversation is thatconversations change over time as participants engage in dialogue. As conversationsdynamically evolve over time, so too do the methods of expression (i.e. terminology, imagery,metaphors, etc.), the composition of participants, and the accompanying platforms. Much likespecies evolution, these changes are not always in a direction that we perceive to be fruitful.Evolution can lead to progress just as it can lead to dead-ends or fragmentation. Because of this,no conversational “listening” can ever be exhaustive (as some elements of the conversation willalways be overlooked), nor can it be perfectly accurate (as noise will always creep in). This iswhy we continue to add and subtract terms to our Baseline keyword groups. Ongoingmonitoring and modification of a Baseline keyword group is the most effective way to keep thatkeyword group refreshed and accurate. Since designing a keyword is as much about selectiveaddition as selective omission, our ability to effectively evolve keywords and keyword groups isinformed just as much by our listening practice with Radian6 as it is by our personal listening,professional network and subject matter expertise. No robot can do this, although some aretrying, and interns probably can’t do it either.In “baselining” a conversation, Upwell begins by developing a conceptual framework for thetopic in question. For the purposes of explanation, let’s imagine our topic is marine debris. Wewould begin our Baseline development process by outlining the conceptual and temporalboundaries of analysis for marine debris. The temporal aspect is important because a keywordgroup developed for one time period may lose significant accuracy (and utility) when applied toanother period. For the conceptual outlines we often make use of a mind map such as the onefor Oceans shown below. 31
  • Upwell mind map for Oceans keywords, January 2012For marine debris the concept map would include items such as marine trash, the pacific gyre,marine plastics, great pacific garbage patch, seaplex (minus exclusions for the botanicalshampoo of the same name), albatross AND plastic. The concept map would also include people,campaigns, expeditions and organizations such as Miriam Goldstein (a marine debris expert),The Trash Free Seas Alliance, the Plastiki, and Seaplex.The concept map becomes a design artifact for further conversations about the conversation.Although we sometimes shortcut this process in the interests of time, we refine the mapthrough a series of discussions and email exchanges with subject matter experts andknowledgeable people in the industry or industries at play.Once we have a solid map of the conversation, we turn the map into a series of keywords.Keywords are textual search terms, much like something you might google. A keyword forUpwell, for example, would be “Upwell.” It might also be a distinctive phrase (or fragmentthereof) such as our tagline, “the ocean is our client.” A keyword, in this way, can actually be anumber of elements (such as multiple words in a phrase) despite its singular form. This fact willbecome more important as we discuss more of those elements. A collection of keywords iscalled a keyword group, and search results for keyword groups are the foundational output ofBig Listening.A couple wrinkles make the construction of keywords and keyword groups significantly morechallenging than one might expect. The first is noise. When you type something into a Googlesearch bar and click on a result, you are deploying a potent combination of Google’s massive 32
  • computational power, billions of dollars in said company’s algorithmic investments, and theconcentrated smarts of your own interpretive brainpower. The last element is particularlyimportant. Whereas Google displays dozens, if not thousands of search results for you to choosefrom—and then asks you to filter those results—the keyword queries we construct for BigListening must be built so as to filter out as much noise as possible. To return to friend-of-Upwell Miriam Goldstein, mentioned above for her marine debris expertise, a well-constructedkeyword group for that subject would probably not include her name as a standalone keyword—the reason being that she talks about other, non-marine-debris subjects as well. Entering“Miriam Goldstein” as a keyword nets you any mention of her full name, whether that takes theshape of a blog post about ocean trash or a friend’s tweet referencing her attendance at aparticularly yummy brunch meeting. What you leave out of a keyword or keyword group is asimportant as what you put in.Pruning out extraneous results through proper keyword construction brings us to the secondwrinkle: exclusions. Exclusions are also textual search terms, but their purpose is to filter outresults that match their terms. Exclusions can be tied to specific keywords or to entire keywordgroups. A well-constructed (or scoped) exclusion can be the difference between finding onlinementions of sharks, the creatures, or finding online mentions of the San Jose Sharks, the hockeyteam (creatures of a different sort). Exclusions can filter out things beyond keywords (such asentire categories of website domains, particular geographies of origin, or what a computerdetermines to be a particular language) using a variety of tools used in Big Listening—sourcefilters, to give one example.Another wrinkle in keyword construction is proximity. Proximity is not available in every toolthat might be applied in a Big Listening process but it is present in Radian6, our tool of choice atthe moment. Proximity is a modifier that can be applied to two or more words in a keyword, say“marine” and “debris.” Proximity, denoted by “~”, tells the tool/service how close a set of wordsmust be in order to return a match. Closeness basically means: how many other words come inbetween? If we were to set proximity to zero for “marine debris,” Radian6 would return onlyitems that include that exact phrase. If we set proximity to three, for example, we might getresults such as “marine layer clotted with debris.” That distinction becomes increasinglyimportant when Radian6 scrapes long forum discussions, news articles or blog posts in which atopic might be mentioned in an extremely peripheral manner. Proximity provides another toolto scope a given keyword and focus the results in a particular way.Keyword development feeds into an ongoing measurement process of Scope / Test / Adapt /Share. The cycle is presented below. 33
  • SCOPEInitial investigation • Outline the conceptual and temporal boundaries of analysis for the topic • In consultation with subject-matter experts and other stakeholders, create a seed list of topics, subtopics, potential online influencers, and known online sources, events, and campaignsTESTGenerating preliminary keywords • Use the seed list to develop initial keyword inputs for online search and social media monitoring services • Develop a more detailed set of keywords • Verify keyword accuracy and relevance using Radian6 to graph and spot-check search results, adding exclusion terms to filter extraneous results/noise, or various degrees of proximity to widen the net 34
  • ADAPTRefining keyword groups • Share keyword lists with key informants (subject experts, foundation staff, campaigners etc.) and incorporate feedback (e.g., additional terms, scope adjustments) • Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 with updated keywordsCultivating and maintaining keywords • Campaign or otherwise monitor keyword group results on an ongoing basis • Update Baseline keyword groups with new inclusions and exclusions based on current events, campaigns and other developments (while always testing for the introduction of noise, per step 5) • On an as-needed basis, generally after at least three months of listening, share Baseline keyword groups with subject matter experts and other groups to gather feedback and potential improvementsSHAREExporting and preparing data • On a monthly, quarterly or to-order basis, export Big Listening data based on the most current keyword groups • Recalculate Baseline values • Graph and annotate charts with spike identificationsPackaging and distributing insights • Create reports, blog posts and other types of synthesis for external audiencesImproving the methodology • Gather feedback and process what we’ve discovered • Iterate our overall set of proceduresA crucial detail of the final stage of this process is the fact that exporting the data freezes it intime. To offer a contemporary example, all of the data in this report was current as of the end ofJanuary 2013, and then it was frozen in a spreadsheet. It’s important to remember that theconversations we monitor continue to change, even as we’re measuring and reporting on them.Because the exported data is a snapshot of results for a particular conversation’s keyword group, 35
  • as it existed at a particular time (of export), from a particular tool (or combination of tools), theresulting values cannot and should not be separated from the keyword group that producedthem. Furthermore, due to the item volume returned by some of the larger keyword groups,exporting data will sometimes produce variations in measurements for the same hour, day ortime period. This variation is due to the tools we use and is generally extremely small given thescale of the topics we’re monitoring. These two factors combine to reinforce our belief that BigListening data can only be fully interpreted if the underlying keywords are available—anythingless is a black box.Spike QuantificationWhat is a Spike?A spike is a significant increase in online attention for a particular topic. When you graph thosesocial mentions, you can actually see that burst of attention ‘spike’ the graph—hence the name.We have been observing spikes in the wild, so to speak, since the beginning of Upwell. It’s aconcept that is at least somewhat familiar to anyone who has ever described a video as “viral,”or checked out the list of the most shared articles on the New York Times website. A lot ofpeople sharing one thing over a short time creates a spike. In the world of Big Listening, that onething they share can actually be a large number of different things on the same topic, but thegeneral point remains the same. Surges in attention create spikes. So how do you measure one?Let’s revisit that graph of the Sustainable Seafood keyword group that we looked at earlier. 36
  • Social mentions for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group vs. Upwell’s Sustainable SeafoodBaseline, June 1, 2012 - August 1, 2012.It seems pretty clear that there are two spikes in this time period. One appears on June 8, theother on June 16. But what about the other days? How far above the Baseline does socialmention volume have to be in order to qualify as a spike? We set out to find a way to comparespikes that would answer the question.Before we dive in, it’s important to note that social mention volume for a given day is aconstruct. We decided to use a day as the operating unit of time both because the tools we haveavailable to us use that temporal distinction, and because a day as a unit of measurement iswidely understood. That is not to say that one couldn’t decide to measure spikes by the hour, bythe minute, or by some other amount of time. We made a conscious decision to build our initialdefinition of a spike around the day, but infinite other options exist as well.A second caveat is that focusing on spikes may obscure what is actually making up the long tailof post volume. Upwell talks about, and quantifies, much of this activity as the Baseline, butthere may be other small-to-medium bursts of attention that last more than a day andconsequently don’t visually ‘spike’ a graph in the same way (think of a multi-day increase in 37
  • attention as a hump or a mesa, rather than the taller, more angular spike). Spikes look good oncharts, and they help push conversations into the wider internet, but they are not the wholestory of an online topic. We long for a day when tools for Big Listening allow us to view topicvolume graphs like geologists look at cross-sections of rocks—that day is not here yet.With those caveats out of the way we can return to our earlier question: what is a spike?Remember from our discussion of Baseline quantification that Upwell’s analysis is designed toinform a set of interventionist activities. We: • identify and target high-value items to campaign on; • compare the relative size of different ocean sub issues (e.g. sharks vs. whales); and • measure the impact of our campaigns.Spike quantification informs our campaigning and provides one measure of results. We’re notinterested in just contributing to the noise around a given ocean topic, we actually want to helpa signal to emerge. Spikes are those signals. Evaluating opportunities to campaign becomes amuch more concrete activity when you know exactly how many social mentions are needed tobreak through the regular volume of conversation.After examining historical social mention volume for our Sustainable Seafood and Overfishingkeyword groups, we calculated a variety of statistical thresholds for the exported data andcompared the results to our measured campaign and spike data. As discussed earlier, Upwell’sBaseline calculations are derived from the insight that our primary ocean topics eachdemonstrate a weekly periodicity. Similarly, in calculating potential thresholds for whatconstitutes a spike, we started with that same insight and then calculated various multiples ofstandard deviation above the average (mean) value for that day of the week. Because standarddeviation measures how spread out the values within a data set are, using it to measure aparticular value’s variation from the “normal” value of that data set is a good way to test for aspike. Spikes are visible because they’re outliers, and that’s what the standard deviationthreshold(s) tests. 38
  • Day-of-the-week values for the Sustainable Seafood Baseline, along with the Sustainable Seafoodmean, and mean +1x, +1.5x and +2x standard deviations (10/17/11 - 1/29/13). [Source]As seen above, the standard deviation thresholds are higher than both the Baseline and themean. Graphing those thresholds against our campaign and event records revealed that the onestandard deviation threshold was the most accurate representation of what we were observingon a day-to-day basis. 39
  • Social mentions for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group vs. Upwell’s Sustainable SeafoodBaseline vs. ‘Mean + 1 Standard Deviation’ Spike Threshold (June 1, 2012 - August 1, 2012)Upwell defines a spike as occurring when the social mention volume for a given day meetsor exceeds one standard deviation from the mean of all recorded values for that same day ofthe week.While a critic might accuse us of working backwards to find the threshold that gives the best fit,we would actually agree. Sustainable Seafood and Overfishing are the topics that we know thebest—because we’ve monitored them and campaigned on them with the most focus—and wewere looking for a metric that would have practical implications for attention campaigns. Asmentioned before, we remain open to other spike quantification approaches but this one is ourpreferred option, given what we know right now. 40
  • What Does Spike Quantification Tell Us?Upwell’s spike quantification methodology is in alpha, so to speak, and going forward we willlook to improve it. The possibilities for more comparative measures of success are numerous.One thing is certain, however: applying a spike quantification lens to our work is illuminating.Spike comparison beta methodology?The graphs on the following pages show our first Winter in 2011 and most recent Winter in 2012working in the Overfishing and Sustainable Seafood conversations. Both one standard deviationand two standard deviation threshold lines are included for reference.The comparison in time periods for both conversations is dramatic. There is a noticeableincrease in spike frequency (the number of spikes), spike volume or  “spikiness” (see: the numberof spikes exceeding two standard deviations), and in the overall volume of conversation in thetime period as measured against the Baseline. To be blunt: this is what success looks like. 41
  • Sustainable Seafood: Winter 2011Social mentions by day for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group, as compared to theSustainable Seafood Baseline, as well as to spike thresholds of one standard deviation and twostandard deviations above the day-of-the-week mean (10/17/2011 - 1/31/12). Total post volume:45,255 social mentions over 107 days. Average volume / day: 423 social mentions. 42
  • Sustainable Seafood: Winter 2012Social mentions by day for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group, as compared to theSustainable Seafood Baseline, as well as to spike thresholds of one standard deviation and twostandard deviations above the day-of-the-week mean (10/1/2012 - 1/29/2013). Total post volume:66,456 social mentions over 121 days. Average volume / day: 549 social mentions. 43
  • Overfishing: Winter 2011Social mentions by day for Upwell’s Overfishing keyword group, as compared to the OverfishingBaseline, as well as to spike thresholds of one standard deviation and two standard deviationsabove the day-of-the-week mean (10/17/2011 - 1/31/12). Total post volume: 211,799 social mentionsover 107 days. Average volume / day: 1,979 social mentions. 44
  • Overfishing: Winter 2012Social mentions by day for Upwell’s Overfishing keyword group, as compared to the Overfishingbaseline, as well as spike thresholds of one standard deviation and two standard deviations abovethe day-of-the-week mean (10/1/2012 - 1/29/13). Total post volume: 409,692 social mentions over121 days. Average volume / day: 3,386 social mentions. 45
  • Keyword SetsThe following search terms are Upwell Radian6 keyword sets for Upwell’s primary campaigntopics—Sustainable Seafood and Overfishing—as of the writing of this report, along with a briefdescription of what each keyword group is designed to capture. As online content and contextcontinually changes, keyword groups should ideally be monitored and refined on an ongoingbasis as well. A keyword that returns noise-free results for one period of time may be filled withunrelated results for another. Upwell’s keyword groups were designed for the time periodsspecified in each description.Fishing and Seafood: Sustainable SeafoodPrimary Keyword Group: Sustainable SeafoodEarliest Data: 10/17/2011Keywords: "#seafoodsummit", "#ss12hk", "@leodicaprio" AND "@upwell_us", "@seafoodwatch","@upwell_us" AND "vote4stuff", "alaska salmon", "alaskan salmon", "aquaculture dialogs","aquaculture dialogues", "aquaculture stewardship council", "barton seaver", "big listerner","bitly.com/wppomr", "bittman" AND "tuna" AND "safeway", "cannibal endtimes lobster"~6,"cannibalistic lobsters" AND "end times", "cannibalistic lobsters overfishing"~20, "casson trenor","catch limits", "catch shares", "chefs collaborative" AND "seafood", "cruel new fact of crustaceanlife" AND "lobster cannibalism", "davidsuzukifdn lobsters into cannibals"~9, "dungeness crab","environmentally responsible seafood", "f.a.d.-free" AND "tuna", "f.a.d.-free tuna comes tosafeway", "fad-free" AND "tuna", "fao" AND "fisheries", "fishing quotas", "fishphone", "fishwatch","food and agriculture organization" AND "seafood", "friend of the sea", "green chefs blue ocean","how safeway ended up selling cheap, responsibly-caught store brand tuna", "http:/ /bittman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/fad-free-tuna-comes-to-safeway-affordably/", "http:/ /twitpic.com/bli9ak", "http:/ /www.bethkanter.org/listener/", "h"#biglistener", ttp:/ /www.fastcoexist.com/node/1680610", "http:/ /www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmkevhbejla","https://bitly.com/wppomr", "international seafood sustainability foundation", "issf" AND"fishing", "kanter" AND "big listener", "kanter" AND "big listening", "lack of predators lobster-on-lobster violence", "leodicaprio" AND "upwell", "marine stewardship council", "maximumsustainable yield", "menhaden" AND "sustainability", "menhaden" AND "sustainable", "nooverfishing guaranteed"~4, "ocean acidification" AND "google earth", "ocean wise", "ocean-friendly aquaculture", "ocean-friendly seafood", "oysters" AND "sustainability", "oysters" AND"sustainable", "political porpoise", "precautionary principle" AND "seafood", "responsibly caughttuna"~3, "reuters" AND "lobster cannibalism", "safeway sustainable tuna"~15, "seafood choicesalliance", "seafood consumer guide", "seafood ecolabel", "seafood fraud is a serious issue","seafood pocket guide", "seafood ratings", "seafood summit", "seafood sustainability", "seafoodwatch", "seafoodwatch", "sustainable fisheries", "sustainable fisheries act", "sustainablefisherman", "sustainable fishermen", "sustainable fishery", "sustainable seafood", "sustainableseafood"~9, "sustainable sushi", "sustainable" AND "tilapia", "the lobsters in maine are eating 46
  • each other", "upwell_us" AND "big listener", "upwell_us" AND "big listening", "vote4ocean","vote4stuff" AND "ocean", "vote4theoceans", "why your nonprofit should be a big listener"EXCLUDES (on the keyword group level): n/aFishing and Seafood: OverfishingPrimary Keyword Group: Overfishing - AllEarliest Data: 10/17/2011Keywords:"#ioysterny", "#jointhewatch", "#saveoursharks", "#savesharks","#whofishesmatters", "@4fishgreenberg on #sandy and the missing oysters", "@4fishgreenberg"AND "oysters", "@georgehleonard" AND "#prop37", "@leodicaprio" AND "@upwell_us","@livestrong" AND "shark", "@livestrong" AND "sharks", "@livestrong_com" AND "shark","@livestrong_com" AND "sharks", "@upwell_us" AND "vote4stuff", "a requiem for proposition37", "an oyster in the storm", "aquaculture", "atlantic salmon" AND "endangered", "atlanticsalmon" AND "sustainability", "atlantic salmon" AND "sustainable", "atlantic salmon" AND"unsustainable", "big listerner", "bigeye tuna", "biomass" AND "fish", "biomass" AND "fisheries","biomass" AND "fishery", "biomass" AND "seafood", "bitly.com/wppomr", "bluefin down 96"~9,"bluefin drop 96"~9, "bluefin tuna", "bottom trawling", "bycatch", "cannibal endtimes lobster"~6,"cannibalistic lobsters" AND "end times", "cannibalistic lobsters overfishing"~20, "catch limit","catch limits", "catch shares", "cathay pacific" AND "shark", "cathay pacific" AND "sharks","cathay" AND "shark", "cathay" AND "sharks", "cathaypacific" AND "sharkfin", "cathaypacific" AND"sharkfinning", "ccamlr" AND "antarctic", "charting a course to sustainable fisheries", "chilefishing reforms seamounts"~12, "chile seamount protect"~12, "chile seamount protects"~12,"chilean seabass", "chn.ge/rywaqp", "conserve fish", "cruel new fact of crustacean life" AND"lobster cannibalism", "daniel pauly", "davidsuzukifdn lobsters into cannibals"~9, "decline" AND"fish" AND -"fish oils" AND -"fish oil", "d"#biglistener", ecline" AND "fisheries", "decline" AND"fishery", "declining" AND "fisheries", "deep sea perch", "defend your right to protect america’s#ocean fish", "depletion of fisheries", "derek riley" AND "garbage", "derek riley" AND "ignorance","destructive fishing practices", "dont restrict my access to information about managing ourocean fish", "fin-free" AND "shark", "fin-free" AND "sharks", "fish stocks" AND "depleted", "fishstocks" AND "depletion", "fishageddon", "fishery" AND "collapse", "fishery conservation","fishery" AND "declining", "fishery policy", "fishery regulation", "fishing ban", "fishing policy","fishing quota", "fishing quotas", "for storms to come, we’d better start planting a lot moreoysters", "gangnam gp_warrior"~12, "gangnam greenpeace"~9, "gangnam" AND "rainbowwarrior", "genetically engineered salmon in our food supply?", "gmo salmon", "great white" AND"this is not a parody", "guardian" AND "kreyola", "guardian" AND "rapper" AND "shark", "harvestcontrol rule" AND "fisheries", "harvest control rules" AND "fisheries", "health of the fishery", "howsocial media can save sharks", "how to kill a great white", "http:/ /grist.org/food/beyond-red-lists-the-power-of-community-supported-fisheries/", "http:/ /gu.com/p/394bh/tw", "http:/ /newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/25/how-social-media-can-save-sharks/", "http:/ /twitpic.com/baoium", "http:/ /twitpic.com/bli9ak", "http:/ /vimeo.com/45490562", "http:/ / 47
  • www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/17/shark-fin-rap", "http:/ /www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/the-tiger-of-happiness/how-to-kill-a-great-white-20121101-28lpt.html", "http:/ /www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmkevhbejla", "https:/ /bitly.com/wppomr", "https:/ /www.change.org/petitions/livestrong-com-stop-featuring-sharks-as-food", "https:/ /www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=551400681552421&set=a.462046150487875.121490.414612275231263", "https:/ /www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=551400681552421&set=a.462046150487875.121490.414612275231263&type=1&theater","huffpostgreen ted damson blogs about chiles fishing reforms"~9, "huffpostgreen ted danson ittakes political courage"~9, "i got a bad reputation because im a shark", "i (oyster) ny", "i oysterny", "ifq" AND "fish", "ifq" AND "fisheries", "ifq" AND "fishery", "ifq" AND "seafood", "illegal" AND"fishing" AND -"illegal immigrant" AND -"illegal immigrants", "illegal" AND "unreported" AND"unregulated" AND "fishing", "incidental catch", "individual fishing quota", "individualtransferable quotas", "itq" AND "fishing", "iuu" AND "fishing", "jaws vs frank sinatra", "kanter"AND "big listener", "kanter" AND "big listening", "koolkidkreyola" AND "shark", "kreayshawn" AND"shark fin", "kreyola" AND "shark" AND -"crayon", "kreyola shark"~20, "lack of predators lobster-on-lobster violence"~9, "leodicaprio" AND "upwell", "livestrong" AND "shark", "livestrong" AND"sharks", "livestrong.com" AND "shark", "livestrong.com" AND "sharks", "magnuson stevens","magnuson-stevens", "me and my shark fin", "missionmission" AND "pangeaseed","missionmission" AND "shark mural", "monkfish" AND "endangered", "monkfish" AND"sustainability", "monkfish" AND "sustainable", "national marine fisheries service", "nmfs", "nomore shark fin", "no more shark fins", "no shark fin", "no shark fins", "no to shark fin", "no toshark fins", "orange roughie", "orange roughy", "over fishing", "over-fishing", "overfish","overfished", "overfishing", "oysterny", "panel says oyster beds can help protect ny from storms","patagonian toothfish", "plummet" AND "fisheries", "plummet" AND "fishery", "political porpoise","predators defense" AND "rapper", "predators defense shark"~9, "protect sharks", "protectingsharks", "red roughie", "red roughy", "report shows pacific bluefin tuna population down 96.4percent", "reuters" AND "lobster cannibalism", "sandy commission set up by @nygovcuomobelieves in oysters", "save sharks", "saving" AND "fisheries", "saving" AND "fishery", "say no byvoting yes" AND "37", "say no by voting yes" AND "prop37", "scrapes the seafloor smooth","scraping the seafloor smooth", "shark airline"~10, "shark airlines"~10, "shark cargo"~10, "shark"AND "endangered", "shark fin" AND "ban", "shark fin" AND "banned", "shark fin" AND "banning","shark fin" AND "bans", "shark fin" AND "cause", "shark fin" AND "consume", "shark fin" AND"eat", "shark fin" AND "export", "shark fin" AND "exporting", "shark fin" AND "exports", "shark fin"AND "illegal", "shark fin" AND "import", "shark fin" AND "importing", "shark fin" AND "imports","shark fin" AND "industry", "shark fin" AND "issue", "shark fin" AND "menu", "shark fin" AND"outlaw", "shark fin" AND "products", "shark fin rap"~9, "shark fin" AND "report", "shark fin" AND"restaurant", "shark fin" AND "restauranteur", "shark fin" AND "sales", "shark fin soup", "shark fin"AND "study", "shark fin" AND "supplier", "shark fin" AND "supply", "shark fin" AND "trade", "sharkfin traders", "shark finning", "shark finning" AND "rap", "shark fins" AND "ban", "shark fins" AND"banning", "shark flights"~10, "shark planes"~10, "sharkfin", "sharkfinning", "sharks as food","sharks" AND "cites", "sharks" AND "endangered", "slimehead", "stop russia (@mfa_russia) &korea (@mofatkr_eng)", "storm panel recommends major changes in new york","suspendthefishery", "sustainable fisheries act", "swordfish" AND "endangered", "swordfish" AND 48
  • "sustainability", "swordfish" AND "sustainable", "swordfish" AND "unsustainable", "the lobsters inmaine are eating each other", "toro" AND "sashimi", "toro" AND "sushi", "total allowable catch","trawling" AND "fish", "troubled fisheries", "turtle excluder device", "twitpic.com/baoium","unagi" AND "endangered", "unagi" AND "sustainability", "unagi" AND "sustainable", "unagi" AND"unsustainable", "unassessed fisheries", "unsustainable fish", "unsustainable fish"~6,"unsustainable fisheries"~6, "unsustainable fishing", "unsustainable seafood", "unsustainableseafood"~6, "upwell_us" AND "big listener", "upwell_us" AND "big listening", "vote4ocean","vote4stuff" AND "ocean", "vote4theoceans", "want to protect new york from future storms?plant some oysters.", "what are seamounts? and why does chile want to protect them?", "whitehake", "whitetip" AND "@interior", "whitetip" AND "cites", "whitetip" AND "congress", "who fishesmatters", "why your nonprofit should be a big listener", "withering" AND "fisheries", "withering"AND "fishery", "yellowfin tuna"EXCLUDES (on the keyword group level): "hugh jackman", "snapback" 49
  • Methods: CampaigningThe mission of Upwell is to condition the climate for change in marine conservation, and readypeople to take action. In order to do this, our team sifts through the vast amount of real-timeonline content about the ocean and amplifies the best of it. Upwell’s campaigning modelcapitalizes on the insights we glean from Big Listening and other curation efforts, and respondsto the currents of online conversation. And through an iterative process of lots and lots ofcampaign testing, we find ways to create spikes of attention in conversations, and we hopeultimately to raise the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year baseline ofthose conversations.What is an Upwell campaign?Upwell’s campaigning model combines a few key elements. Our campaigns are attentioncampaigns, focused on raising attention to ocean issues. They are minimum viable campaigns,operating on short time-frames and focused on rapid delivery of content, continuous learningand iteration. They are run and amplified across a distributed network, rather than being housedon and amplified by way of our own platforms.The Attention CampaignThe nonprofit community has deeply-held ideas of what constitutes a campaign. Often,organizations build campaigns with institutional goals (e.g., awareness, list-building, advocacyand fundraising campaigns) and compete with other entities in the same sector/issue space.Upwell’s attention campaigns operate on a different plane, one in which success (greaterattention) elevates the work of everyone in Team Ocean and is tied to no particular institutionaloutcome other than generating conversation.What we do with attention campaigns is try to drive more attention to existing content andactions that are not on our properties. They’re not associated with our brand. We use this looselyheld connection, tying into the momentum of the news cycle and being strategicallyopportunistic in the pursuit of creating spikes in attention.We focus on shareability, and measure our success by the same, simple attention metric we useto measure online conversations: social mentions. Social mentions are the currency of attention,and represent small bits of action. In contrast, awareness is a less meaningful measurement,representing what someone thinks they might do, not what they have done.Over time, we believe that increased attention to ocean issues will raise the daily baseline ofconversation about ocean issues. We have been experimenting with trying to understand what 50
  • makes baselines go above the expected or historical level (i.e., what causes spikes inconversation), with an eye toward making these increases in attention sustainable.The Minimum Viable Campaign“You cant just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time youget it built, theyll want something new.” - Steve Jobs 3On the advice of Sean Power, Data Scientist at I Can Haz Cheezburger, Upwell has adapted anagile development principle from the  lean startup movement—the minimum viable product.Our campaign lifecycle embodies the Build-Measure-Learn cycle that software developers haveused in order to quickly release products with the minimum amount of functional features, inorder to gather immediate insight that can inform later iterations.The cycle of agile software developmentThrough our minimum viable campaigns, we employ ongoing, iterative, continuous delivery ofcontent, resisting our urges toward perfection and providing irreverent, timely, contextualcontent to audiences immediately instead of strategizing for six months or a year. We focus onthe quickest, dirtiest thing we can get out the door that we think will have a measurable effecton a conversation.Our campaigns have short lifecycles—anywhere from a couple hours to a few days, and they areinspired and informed by hot news that feels really immediate to those campaigns. We movevery rapidly through a process of hatching an idea, finding or creating the campaign product(s),putting it out into the world and getting back data. We are constantly learning how to be moreeffective. In our first year running over 160 minimum viable attention campaigns, we havelearned that even a tiny bit of effort can make a huge difference in how campaigns get pickedup.3 http:/ /www.inc.com/magazine/19890401/5602.html 51
  • Combining These ModelsThe minimum viable campaign model could be applied to not just attention campaigns, but alsofundraising, advocacy, or other types of campaigns. Likewise, an attention campaign couldcertainly be run at different time scales. For instance, there is no reason why Red Cross couldn’tstart doing minimum viable campaigns. Keeping everything else the same, they could tighten uptheir campaign time cycles and run experimental campaigns to engage their base in differentways. Red Cross could also start running attention campaigns. If they believed that Ushahidi wasdoing really good work, they could run an attention campaign, pointing at Ushahidi’s work andamplifying attention to it. This could turn out to be a faster path to achieving their own mission.By applying both these models, Upwell has crafted a new way of campaigning that is easilydelivered, measured, and adapts to the ever-changing sea of conversation. In summary, throughour campaigns, Upwell: • Surfs existing conversations in order to increase and expand attention. • Measures social mentions (rather than policy outcomes, petition signatures, or public opinion) to evaluate the success of our campaign efforts. • Delivers, measures, and learns from campaigns on a short time cycle, embedding lessons and insights immediately. We sacrifice perfection. • Collaborates with a network of ocean stakeholders and curates a diverse set of existing ocean content, rather than building on our own brand and creating our own content. Our campaigns are not aligned with Upwell program priorities or policy goals, but instead amplify attention to the priorities and goals of those in our network. • Runs campaigns across a distributed network of ocean communicators, rather than relying on our own platforms as information hubs.The Upwell NetworkThe key to our campaigns’ success is in our network. Our attention campaigns are amplified notby us or by a dedicated base of supporters we’ve built over the years, but rather by the networkof ocean communicators that we regularly contact through the Tide Report, our social mediachannels and our blog. We call this “running a campaign across a distributed network.” It’s moreof a syndication model than a direct-to-consumer model.We built our network proactively to respond to several trends. With the rising cacophony of theinternet, the rapidly increasing pace at which news spreads and the shift toward people findingnews through their friends on social media channels rather than getting it directly from “official” 52
  • channels,4 we decided to approach network campaigns in a new light. It would have been costprohibitive to buy the attention (through ads or purchasing email lists) or build a world-class,unbranded media hub. Rather than collect a large set of official MOU’s and partner logos to putup on our website, we built a loosely held, distributed network. We’ve reached out to nodes ofpeople who control the communications channels that reach lots of people who are interestedin ocean issues. We’ve been scrappy and ruthless about who we put into that distributednetwork, trying to make it diverse and ensure the reach is big.Campaigning across a distributed network means that we have that golden ticket ofcommunications—message redundancy—but those redundant messages are tailored by theindividual nodes in our network for their audiences. It’s the job of the individual people in ournetwork to know their audience really well. They take our messages and content and theytranslate them out to their audiences through the communications channels they maintain.As a point of comparison, Upworthy, a similar effort that launched just after Upwell and sharesour goal of making social change content more shareable and “viral,” approached the problem ofdistribution from a different angle. Rather than build a network through which they coulddistribute the content they curate, they built their own media hub, repackaging content underthe Upworthy banner and rapidly scaling up an audience and brand of their own. This modelcertainly brings eyes to worthy content, but doesn’t (yet) effectively pass on engagement to theorganizations and individuals it supports—it retains that engagement for its own channels.We wanted to build an issue-specific network, and through our networked campaigns,strengthen our network’s members’ and supporters’ potential for future action.These are the values that guide Upwell in building and strengthening our distributed network: • Trust: we share only science-based content, ensuring that other science-based institutions know that the content we share is trustworthy. • Transparency: we share our campaign and big listening data with our network, so they can apply our lessons in their own work. • Brand-agnostic: we work as willingly with Greenpeace as we do with Deep Sea News, as we do with the Facebook page “I Fucking Love Science.” We will share an organization or individual’s content or campaign, as long as it promotes ocean conservation goals and fits our curation criteria (detailed below). Often, promoting content from an array of brands meant releasing control of the message.4 http:/ /stateofthemedia.org/2012/mobile-devices-and-news-consumption-some-good-signs-for-journalism/what-facebook-and-twitter-mean-for-news/ 53
  • • Issue-agnostic: We aren’t only focusing on overfishing, through GMO salmon or catch shares to cultivate the network. We amplify any ocean campaign or content as long as it fits our curation criteria, raising attention for the crisis the ocean faces. • Personal: We build relationships with humans, not organizations. The liveliest online conversations happen between people, not institutions. We model the authentic behavior of the internet. • Generous: We provide small bits of advice and feedback to help our network do better. If their work will get more people talking about the ocean online, it fits with our mission.How We Built the NetworkAs detailed in the Theory of Change and Context for our Work section, we spent about a yearbefore initially launching, getting feedback from veterans in the ocean conservation space andmaking sure that we would have the opportunity to have collaborative relationships with thepeople who run campaigns and provide content in the marine conservation sector.Many of those initial contacts were the original subscribers to the Tide Report. We focused onproviding high-value content tailored to our subscribers, and word of mouth helped to build thatlist beyond those initial 50-100 people. After the Tide Report launched in April 2012, wecontinued to engage in face-to-face activities to grow our subscriber list, which is in many waysa proxy for our network. We attended conferences like the Blue Ocean Film Festival, Oceans in aHigh CO2 World, and Science Online. We provided in-depth feedback and data to groups like TheOcean Project and Conservation International on efforts like World Oceans Day and the OceanHealth Index. We sent our most loyal Tide Report subscribers postcards on a weekly basis,thanking them for being part of Team Ocean. We conversed with our peers on Twitter andretweeted their content when we couldn’t feature it in a Tide Report.We also did some strategic work to better connect the lingerers and lurkers in our network. Weanalyzed our Tide Report subscriber list against our Twitter followers and Facebook fans tounderstand how to more deeply engage people that were only aware of some of our activities.For example, each month, we used Twitonomy to identify our new Twitter followers with thegreatest reach, cross-referenced them with our Tide Report subscriber list, and contacted thenon-subscribers via email, or Twitter direct message to encourage them to join.We also created niche resources like the Shark Week Sharkinars, Big Blue Blog list, SustainableSeafood Twitter List, and World Turtle Day Pinterest Board to highlight the work of specificcommunities, and provide campaigning tools to individual and organizational oceanconservation activists. These types of resources drew people into the Network who arepassionate about specific issues (e.g. sustainable seafood, sharks, turtles), as well as a range oftime-starved ocean activists looking for resources to make their work more effective. 54
  • Through small bits of consultative work (the full list of organizations we consulted is in theOcean Evangelist Capacity Impacts section of this report), we developed personal relationships,built trust, and shared knowledge. These range from informal conversations to moresophisticated collaborations. Usually these consultations were quite lightweight and didn’t takemuch time from the team. We provided advice to peers when we saw a potential for it toincrease social mentions about the ocean. In a way, providing consulting help became a back-channel method of attention campaigning, ensuring more socially shareable and data-informedcontent from conservation organizations, turning up the volume of conversation in ameasurable way.We also reached beyond the obvious members of Team Ocean, looking for opportunities to alignour issues with people interested in and talking about other issues, like food, climate change,online organizing and global development. Many of our Tide Report subscribers don’t considerthemselves to be “ocean conservationists,” but have begun sharing more ocean content as aresult of being brought into the Upwell network. This fits within our broader vision to diversifyand embiggen Team Ocean, moving beyond those in the choir and embracing communicatorsthat have even only a small awareness of the crises the ocean faces.For more information on the growth of our network, including quantitative data and anecdotalfeedback, see the Ocean Evangelist Capacity Impacts section of this report.From Insight to CampaignOur Big Listening practice helps us understand the volume and character of oceanconversations, individually and in relation to one another. It also helps us to strategically choosewhere to invest attention. Knowing the scale of conversations—for instance, that the sharksconversation regularly spikes to over 40,000 social mentions in a day (and often much higher),whereas the marine protected areas/marine reserves conversation sits at about 50 per day—helps us right-size our expectations for attention, identify pockets of audiences ripe forengagement, and time our campaigning efforts to capitalize on the regular ebb and flow ofconversation.The first step in our campaign process is to translate insights from Big Listening and otherpersonal listening activities into campaign ideas. On a daily basis there is little shortage ofresearch, news articles, campaigns, petitions, or links about ocean issues. Our challenge is inidentifying the most shareable stuff—the stuff that we believe our network will share with theirfans and followers, and that these fans and followers will go on to share with their friends. 55
  • Scrape! Filter! Tumble! Curate!The first element of our campaign lifecycle is opportunity identification. Opportunities—thepieces of content that we could amplify—are gleaned from a variety of sources: Radian6 spikesseen through Big Listening, and also a collection of personal listening activities, like Twitter lists,Google alerts, Paper.li digests, RSS feeds and e-mails that have been sent to our tips@upwell.usemail address. We look for spike-worthy content, whether it’s a viral video presented in just theright way or it’s hidden under boring executive summaries or on page six of the news.Our entire team of six participates in this effort. Campaign-worthy content is often circulatedamong the team via our tips email and is always posted to our Upwell Firehose Tumblr page forease of viewing. Then we sit down, go through what is available, look for possible additionaltopics, and brainstorm about the day’s campaigning activities.The Morning ScrumEach morning at 10AM PST, the team gathers over tea, Skype, and the Upwell Firehose Tumblr.We examine these opportunities and cherry-pick the ones that are ripest for amplification.How We Choose What We ChooseUpwell is not a newswire for the ocean. It does not exist solely to pump out out retweets andlinks; if it did, it would—as noted earlier in this document—be adding to the noise withoutnecessarily increasing volume in a valuable way. So we subject the mass of possible topics to atriage test.Version 2.0 of Upwell’s curation criteria, September 2, 2012. 56
  • The first items to be discarded are those that don’t pass the scientific smell test; if the scienceisn’t credible, it’s out. Other considerations include:Socially Shareable. In order to be as effective as possible, it’s important to select topics thatlend themselves most easily to wide and willing dissemination, and spark conversation: whatwe describe as ‘liquid content.’ This can either be content that is already liquid—for example,content that is visual, awesome, scary, funny or cute—or that we can make liquid. Thepublication of a National Research Council report evaluating the federal response plan to oceanacidification is undoubtedly important—but seriously, what are you more likely to share withfriends? That, or this:Before-and-after pics. Good for US Weekly, good for Upwell.Exactly.Conservation Impact. We’re a movement with a message. Not everything we share or amplify isDebbie Downer material. We also celebrate good news and successes and also highlight theawesomeness of ocean life. Even so, as part of our morning triage, we prioritize campaigns thathave not just a generic conservation message, but the potential for specific impact: for example,petitions, seafood purchasing recommendations, etc. We find that content that is paired withaction is more shareable. 57
  • Building Social Capital. We calibrate our focus across issues, people and organizations in orderto cultivate trust, animate our network and maintain access to the most compelling oceancontent. We share content that comes from every corner of Team Ocean, with an effort towardspreading the love in a balanced way. If an important influencer asks us to share something, wedo it. Generosity builds and maintains relationships, thereby increasing our social capital.New Influencers. We are always looking to grow our network and expand to new audiences.We prioritize content and campaigns that allow us to go beyond the choir and reach newinfluencers to enlarge the conversation and build the network.Topical. Sometimes the hook is an article in the New York Times that’s generating discussion onTwitter. Sometimes there is no hook, and we have to find it, or make it. Tying ocean contentwith events like the Olympics, Rio+20 or Lance Armstrong’s steroid use helps up the shareablequotient.Spikeability. Has a news story or piece of content already reached its saturation point? Ifsomething has already received a lot of coverage and attention, we judge whether its worth oureffort to create another spike in attention (like an aftershock) or if its already been shared by asmany people as it will be (saturated). Often, the best way to judge whether something isspikeable is to ask whether the content will be shared two or three degrees out of our network.Will it generate interest and conversation beyond Team Ocean?Under Amplified. We look for awesome news and content that we think has been egregiouslyunder-amplified. Sometimes a hot piece of news just wasnt packaged in the right way. We mineour network and find the awesome stuff that few have seen, and we repackage it to go farther. 58
  • Running the CampaignOnce we’ve curated a small collection of campaign ideas, we rapidly devise a campaign plan.A campaign can last for as long as several days, or for as little as an hour. In the latter case, wemay just focus on, for example, tweeting links to a petition and engaging members of ournetwork in conversations. The key is to not simply post a tweet with a link and then move on.We stimulate the online conversation by writing the tweet in a way that begs to be clicked andretweeted, or by directing a tweet to particular people in an attempt to generate discussion.Longer campaigns tend to focus on a particular event. For example, during the Rio+20conference and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, we did some initial research and planned anarray of activities which generated a significant amount of attention.The Upwell campaign lifecycle is a neverending cycle of joy. 59
  • Our ToolsWe propagate campaign content across our network through a variety of methods. Many ofthem we have already discussed: through sharing and curating good content by way of socialmedia networks, through engagement via webinars and other outreach. Other key elementsinclude:Tide ReportThe Tide Report is in many ways our key method of outreach. Subscribers elect to receive thisnewsletter approximately three times a week via e-mail. Its content is determined at themorning meeting, it both reflects our other campaign work and drives it. Tide Report contentessentially falls into four camps: main features (more campaign-focused, and which include oursuggestions for amplification), ‘Watch This’ items (very brief (i.e. one-line) summaries of andlinks to news items that are worthy of mention for strengthening the network even if they don’tlend themselves to amplification), occasional more light-hearted videos or pictures at the end(as an occasional reward for reading to the end), and a calendar of upcoming events.The greatest focus is on the main features. In addition to providing summaries of campaigns ornews stories, the features also include one-click pathways to amplification. We choose thepathway for amplification that best suits the content: we use Facebook for visual content suchas images and videos, Twitter for links, and often a combination of platforms with specializedsharing language for each. The key element is doing the work for the readers. For instance,instead of asking them to post a tweet of their own construction, we write and code the tweet(with the most retweetable or shareable language we can muster), so that all a reader has to do isclick on a link and post.Upwell Facebook PageThe Upwell Facebook page is not intended to be a hub where we collect millions of fans.However, by posting our content on our own page, we are then able to create one-clickpathways in the Tide Report for people to share those posts on their own pages. In the earlydays of the Tide Report, we suggested language for Facebook and asked our readers todownload and upload images, so they could feature an original post on their page. Oursubscribers can still do that, but we started to use our own Facebook page to house content inorder to smooth the pathway toward amplification. As a bonus, we get access to all the datafrom our own Facebook Insights panel. However, at the end of the day, we are more excited to 60
  • see our content shared and commented on by our network and their networks than we are tosee new likes on our page.Upwell TwitterOur Twitter account is a primary way that we amplify campaigns that we can’t feature in theTide Report. We also post all the tweets we suggest in the Tide Report. This helps content reachour network in case they don’t open that day’s Tide Report. The overlap between our Twitterfollowing and our Tide Report subscription list is significant. In many ways, Twitter serves asanother method to propagate content across our distributed network. We also use our Twitteraccount to engage in conversation with our network, deepening those individual relationships.Our BlogOur blog has been an ongoing source for much of our data analysis, harnessing Radian6 anddistilling its revelations into easy-to-consume posts. This is the vehicle we’ve used, for example,for our summaries of the strengths and weaknesses of social media conversations about corals,ocean acidification, and sharks that we detail below. It is also the place where we post ourtoolkits, as well as items such as a list we curated of ocean blogs.Once we’ve identified an opportunity, choosing a tool for dissemination is only part of the battle.We often research, curate, and create in order to provide the most shareable content. There’s noexact science to what we do—our methods are mostly informed by years of experiencecampaigning in social media channels. However, a few scenarios, outlined below, highlight themost common ways we approach attention campaigning.Scenario 1: The science and the message isgood, but the content isn’t shareable.Oyster Restoration in NY: Following the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy, we notedthat several pieces, in the New York Times and elsewhere, made reference to the fact that thecity’s long-lost oyster beds previously provided protection from storm surges. Those pieces, bythe Times’ food writer Paul Greenberg (author of the book Four Fish) among others, proposedthe revitalization of historic beds as part of a multifaceted approach to mitigate future stormdamage. We tweeted links to those articles and discussed them online, but to help galvanize thatdiscussion, we created this: 61
  • Greenberg himself called the image “iconic.”We shared this via Facebook, Twitter, and the Tide Report, generating one of the biggest spikesof any of our attention campaigns. We re-shared the image when a commission created by NewYork Mayor Michael Bloomberg recommended oyster recommendation weeks later, generatinganother spike in attention to this issue.  Plastic Microbeads: Unilever announced that it would be eliminating the use of plasticmicrobeads in its personal care products. While this was great news, we figured that manypeople were unaware of the microbead problem, and that a visual would be more shareablethan a Unilever press release. We shared the following image in a Facebook post that informedreaders of Unilever’s decision, and then directed our Tide Report subscribers to share it withtheir networks. 62
  • An interesting chemistry experiment in the Upwell Lab.It received over 200 shares, and comments like these:Pacific Bluefin Stock Assessment: A scientific study of Pacific bluefin tuna was released. It washundreds of pages long, and the main message—that the population has declined by 96 percent—was buried. Long research reports, and even the news articles they stimulate, are rarelyshareable on social platforms like Facebook. In this instance, we created an image in response towork by the Pew Environment Group which analyzed a scientific study of Pacific bluefin tunapopulations: 63
  • This is what Upwell does with a 300 page report.The image itself was a downer, but the text we included in the Facebook post provided hopeand pathways to action: We know exactly what to do to prevent the extinction of Pacific bluefin tuna. Here’s a better recipe for you to follow: 1. Don’t eat bluefin (often labeled as hon maguro or toro). There are lots of yummy alternatives. 2. Tell your chef to take bluefin off the menu. 3. Tell your elected officials to #suspendthefishery. 4. Share this with your sushi-loving friends. Keep in touch with Pew Environment Group for more information on the latest bluefin tuna numbers, and check out Seafood Watch for good alternatives to eating tuna!With its simple message, actionable information, and our amplification of it via the Tide Report,the image was shared over 500 times on Facebook—pretty good for a stock assessment! 64
  • Scenario 2: There’s conversation beyond theocean community. Can we tap into it?Vote4Stuff: In the run-up to the November 6th election, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguirecreated Vote4Stuff, a nonpartisan campaign that urged young voters to use video and socialmedia to express the issues most important to them in the upcoming election. We responded tothis challenge by making our own Vote4TheOcean video, capturing lighthearted messages aboutthe most troubling ocean issues We tweeted it to DiCaprio, who in turn retweeted it to hisfollowers, generating several hundred additional retweets and thousands of views. In addition,we offered GoPro cameras to anyone else who came up with an idea for a suitably non-partisan,pro-ocean video.Olympics: During the 2012 Olympics, people were abuzz about the latest world records set andinjuries sustained by athletes. What wasn’t getting attention was the fact that the OlympicCommittee had committed to selling only sustainable seafood at the event. We rapidly threwtogether this image, and shared it via the Tide Report, Facebook and Twitter, and it generatedhundreds of social mentions on Facebook.David Beckham has not approved this message.Rio+20: In the lead-up to Rio+20, environmental groups were collaborating on an effort tocreate Twitter conversation under the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies, with the goal of, well,ending fossil fuel subsidies. The climate activist community is massive and engages often anddeeply online. They are also woefully undereducated about the issue of ocean acidification.Upwell devised an image and a few pre-packaged tweets that tapped into the energy of the#endfossilfuelsubsidies hashtag and introduced the idea of ocean acidification to an already-activated audience. 65
  • Dead coral: the new fried egg.Scenario 3: Team Ocean isn’t coordinated. Canwe create more message redundancy?There are many ways in which we seek to assist others’ campaigns. We do this through simpleretweeting, or sharing their content through social network platforms; featuring them in theTide Report (see below); or engaging in online conversations for periods of hours to days orlonger.We also directed attention to key events we knew were of interest to several members of thecommunity, with a focus on lightly encouraging collaboration.World Oceans Day: In the build-up to World Oceans Day in June 2012, we amplified the effortsof the many organizations and individuals who contributed to this day of celebration.Most of our World Oceans Day outreach happened by amplifying the #worldoceansday hashtagon Twitter. We looked for interesting content shared through social media channels and jumpedinto conversations about World Oceans Day.Among the highlights: • We helped spread the word by creating a compilation of all the online actions people could take for World Oceans Day, coming from organizations and individuals such as The Ocean Project, One World One Ocean, The Nature Conservancy, NRDC, The Living Oceans Foundation, and more. We used Tumblr because it was the easiest way to collect different types of content from multiple sources in one place and keep it updated as more actions crossed our path. 66
  • • We reached out to individuals who were talking about what they could do for the oceans on Twitter and Facebook, directing them to this round-up. (Twitter outreach viewable on Topsy) • We created and shared a YouTube playlist of videos curated from various organizations, and reached out to those organizations on Facebook and Twitter to let them know that their videos were included. (Twitter outreach) • We wrote a blog post on our website about the round-up, the playlist, and other ideas for celebrating World Oceans Day, and shared it via Facebook and Twitter. (Twitter outreach) • We participated in and amplified @WhySharksMatter’s (David Shiffman’s) #OceanFacts conversation on Twitter. He asked followers to post facts about the ocean for World Oceans Day and received hundreds of facts.International Whaling Commission: For the annual meeting of the International WhalingCommission (IWC) in July, we created our first attention toolkit, designed to make it easier forindividuals and organizations to amplify the IWC conversation online. The toolkit included: • Whaling and IWC-related images and videos to amplify: We curated photographs, infographics, and videos that brought the whaling issue to life on an IWC Pinterest board. 67
  • • A list of, and links to, recent whaling coverage. • On Twitter: Hashtags to use, people to follow. • A list of organizations active at the IWC, and their websites. • Links to background information and documents.We learned from our network that this IWC toolkit was one of the most under-amplifiedcampaigns, and was not seen as valuable to our network. By measuring and learning from thiscampaign, we were informed for future efforts about what would be a valuable use of ourresources.Scenario 4: The Upwell network doesn’t havedirect access to Big Listening data. Can weprovide insights to make their campaigns moreeffective?Ocean Acidification and Corals: When the International Coral Reef Symposium convened inJuly, we actively engaged in working with members of the network to stimulate and magnifyconversation on coral reef issues, and specifically the threat from ocean acidification. Weproduced a toolkit focused on effective ways to drive conversation about ocean acidification. Itprovided advice on how to speak about an issue that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and thatisn’t necessarily at the forefront of public awareness. 68
  • How are people talking about ocean acidification online these days? The wordcloud above wasgenerated by our resident internet trawler-in-chief using cutting-edge tools so expensive theyhave their own car service.We also mined our network for the latest in ocean acidification opinion research, and packagedthe following messaging tips in the toolkit: • Lay the groundwork. The role of the living ocean is not well understood, help your audience understand it. • Be human. Use pictures, analogies and local stories to establish the problem. Introduce real live people, and their stories, to humanize and localize the issue. Stress that ocean acidification is happening now (not just in the future), and that is has measurable impacts. • Science is perceived as the credible voice on this issue. Use it. • Activate your audience. Say this: ✔ “oceans are the lungs of the planet” ✔ “ocean acidification is the osteoporosis of the ocean” ✔ “ocean acidifciation is changing the ocean’s chemistry” Instead of this: X “ocean acidification is the evil twin of climate change” [catchy but may come off as flippant] X the words “cycles” and “resilience” (in the ocean science sense—people think the ocean is 69
  • so big it can always bounce back)Rio+20: Many of the communicators in our network were not actively engaged in the Rio+20conversation, but were interested in learning how they could do so in a way that would driveattention toward their campaigns and content. Using data from Radian6, we offered suggestionsfor which twitter hashtag to use to bring attention to ocean issues during the Rio+20 conference.Hashtag party!Mission Aquarius: We provided analysis of Mission Aquarius mentions, and the specific sourcesthat drove discussion of that topic. In sharing this information with our network, we helpedthem understand how different news outlets and blogs shape online conversation, and howtheir impacts stack up. This helped illuminate to our network the rise of online media incomparison to legacy media. 70
  • Social mentions of the Mission Aquarius keyword set by main influencer July 8-July 26, 2012Shark Week: And then there were sharks. We put Shark Week 2012 was one ofa great deal of focus on Discovery Channel’s Shark the highest value situationsWeek, hosting a webinar (which we called the where our Big Listening provided a‘Sharkinar’), to share strategies on maximizing the forecast, and helped people in our networkopportunity for conservation messaging afforded not only be more effective, but also notby a week of highly-publicized programming. miss a huge opportunity for getting their messages out.We dug into Shark Weeks past, and pulled outsome Big Listening insights to share with ournetwork. The biggest takeaway was that Shark Week is responsible for the single largest spike inthe online shark conversation for the entire year, and that spike eclipsed every other spike inevery ocean topic we monitor. Put simply: Shark Week is the Super Bowl of the online oceanconversation. Looking at historical data, we learned that since 2009, total social mentions ofShark Week have increased by a factor of five every year—and we were able to estimate the sizeof the 2012 conversation pretty accurately. 71
  • We also analyzed the conversation to learn what messages resonate the most during the week.Using keyword sets, we broke down 740,000 Shark Week-related social mentions into threecategories: • Celebratory: Shark fans, e.g., "Sharks are awesome!" • Terror: e.g., "Sharks are violent killers!" • Conservation: e.g., "Sharks are endangered!"And as this pie chart shows, a very significant majority were in the celebratory camp. (or as wecall it, ‘Yay!’) 72
  • An actual pie chart of the tone of the conversation leading up to Shark Week 2012, but in languagethe internet can understand.Upwell also did some hashtag analysis to help the network join the conversation using the mostpopular terms, and created a list of the top shark influencers on Twitter so that members of ournetwork who were less familiar with shark issues had a source of retweetable content for theweek. (And we reached out to those influencers to let them know they were influencers—newsthey shared with their networks.)This research and analysis helped members of our network engage in this conversation. Manyhadn’t planned to engage at all, but did with the help of Upwell’s data and sharkinars. Analyzingthe data coming out of Shark Week 2012, we learned that the conservation portion of the SharkWeek conversation expanded by more than twice the amount of the overall Shark Weekconversation.Measuring Our CampaignsUsually when organizations run digital campaigns, they drive people to their own site(s) or socialmedia properties. Measurement is facilitated by looking at their own email list growth, Facebookpage Insights, Google Analytics, or donations received: things organizations have access tobecause they run campaigns from their own properties.The challenge of attention campaigning is that we are pushing attention toward content andweb properties we don’t control or necessarily have access to. Although the point of thecampaign might be to get email addresses for an Oceana campaign, we don’t actually know howmany signed up and gave their email addresses because we sent them to Oceana’s website. Thatis not the kind of information that is shared publicly by nonprofits (or for profits!). 73
  • What we can see and measure is public information that is scrapable with technology: howmuch attention that campaign netted in terms of social mentions. Big Listening both informs ourcampaigns and also becomes our best metric to understand if we’re being effective.We develop keyword sets to track our campaigns within the topics we monitor, using uniquehashtags, phrases and links, and include them in our conversational analysis. That way, we cansee the spikes we create. And we like it because it’s independently verifiable. Someone elsecould use the same software and verify the extent of the conversation.We also use our Tide Report metrics (via MailChimp) to understand who in our network opened,clicked and/or shared. We can track who the most engaged members are in our network, andunderstand what types of content they are most likely to share from their own properties.Because much of our content is visual (and thus not scrapeable by keyword searches), we oftendo the hard, laborious work of manually counting the number of shares and comments on thevisual content we promote. This is very difficult, and until there is a reliable way to do imagesearch with tools like Radian6 or Topsy, this will continue to be a time intensive process. TheMailChimp stats help us know where to look for the initial shares from our network, and oncewe track those down, we can easily track down shares two or three degrees out.Over time, we’ve seen the number of social mentions generated from each attention campaigngrow, concurrent with the growth of our distributed network. This is the proof in the pudding.As we continue to expand Team Ocean and encourage networked sharing, the number of socialmentions about the ocean will increase, and, ultimately increase the baselines of oceanconversations. 74
  • Attention Impacts andGraphsIn previous sections, we’ve described how we characterize issue-based conversations withkeyword sets, how the conversation Baseline is measured, and why we focus on creatingmeasurable spikes of attention in the conversation.This section begins by detailing before and after intervals in the two main conversations wehave invested in: Sustainable Seafood and Overfishing. We then provide annotated seasonalgraphs and lists of the conversations and our interventions.One finding of note is that both the Sustainable Seafood and Overfishing conversations havebeen substantially changed since the founding of Upwell. The narrative details significantincreases in spike volume, spike frequency, and ratio of average daily social mentions to theaverage Baseline.Primary Campaign Topics: Thenand NowSustainable Seafood 1400 1400 1200 1200 1000 1000 800 800 600 600 400 400 200 200 0 0 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Sustainable Seafood Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Sustainable SeafoodSide-by-side comparison for Winter 2011 (left) and Winter 2012 (right) showing social mentions byday for Upwell’s Sustainable Seafood keyword group, as compared to the baseline, spike thresholdand high spike threshold (Winter 2011: 10/17/2011 - 1/31/12; Winter 2012: 10/1/2012 - 1/29/13). 75
  • In Winter 2011 (above left), when Upwell began Big Listening in Sustainable Seafood, socialmention volume was an average of 423 mentions per day. By Winter 2012 (above right), socialmention volume had climbed to an average of 549 per day—an increase of 29.9%. The ratio ofaverage daily social mentions to the average baseline value also increased by 29.9% (as onewould expect), going from 132.3% of the baseline in Winter 2011 to 171.8% of the baseline inWinter 20125 .Spike frequency—measured by how often social mention volume spikes equal to or greater thanUpwell’s spike threshold6 —describes how often spikes occur, on average, in a particularconversation. Spike frequency in the Sustainable Seafood conversation increased from 2.2 spikesevery thirty days in Winter 2011, to 8.2 spikes every thirty days in Winter 2012—an increase of265%.Those spikes were not just occurring more often, they were also getting bigger. Upwell’s highspike threshold, set at two standard deviations above the average social mention volume for thatday of the week, provides another indication of spike intensity. The more spikes reach the highthreshold, the more the conversation is spiking at higher volumes. In Winter 2011 there were twohigh threshold spikes and the following year there were thirteen—an average of 0.5 spikes perthirty days versus an average of 3.2 spikes per thirty days, a 475% increase.Overfishing 14000 14000 12000 12000 10000 10000 8000 8000 6000 6000 4000 4000 2000 2000 0 0 Oct. 17, 2011 Nov. 17, 2011 Dec. 17, 2011 Jan. 17, 2012 Oct. 1, 2012 Nov. 1, 2012 Dec. 1, 2012 Jan. 1, 2013 Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold Overfishing Baseline Spike Threshold High Spike Threshold OverfishingSide-by-side comparison for Winter 2011 (left) and Winter 2012 (right) showing social mentions byday for Upwell’s Overfishing keyword group, as compared to the baseline, spike threshold and highspike threshold (Winter 2011: 10/17/2011 - 1/31/12; Winter 2012: 10/1/2012 - 1/29/13).5 ‘Average baseline’ generalizes Upwell’s day-of-the-week baseline values for a given topic into one mean value for thepurpose of calculations, such as this one, which require a single value.6 The spike threshold is discussed in detail in the Methods: Big Listening section. 76
  • In Winter 2011 (above left), when Upwell began Big Listening in Overfishing, social mentionvolume was an average of 1,979 mentions per day. By Winter 2012 (above right), social mentionvolume had climbed to an average of 3,386 per day—a 71% increase. The ratio of average dailysocial mentions to the average baseline value also rose, from 126.5% of the baseline in Winter2011 to 216.3% of the baseline in Winter 2012.7Spike frequency—measured by how often social mention volume spikes equal to or greater thanUpwell’s spike threshold8 —describes how often spikes occur, on average, in a particularconversation. Spike frequency in the Overfishing conversation increased from 0.8 spikes everythirty days in Winter 2011, to 7.4 spikes every thirty days in Winter 2012—a massive increase of784%. The 30-day rate of high threshold spikes9 also increased, from an average of 0.6 to anaverage of 3.2—a 475% increase.Campaign ImpactsIn this section, we’ll illustrate more specifically where and how Upwell intervened in theOverfishing and Sustainable Seafood conversations. The annotated campaign graphs on thefollowing pages highlight spikes in these conversations and the Upwell campaigns associatedwith these surges in conversational volume. As in the previous graphs, when comparing the datafrom 2011 to 2013 a trend becomes clearly visible: an increase in spike frequency and a highernumber of social mentions over time.Table of Major Upwell CampaignsBelow is a table of all major Upwell campaigns from 2011 - 2013. Please note that this list is notinclusive of all Upwell campaigns, but rather, a representative list of the major campaigns acrossthe nine topic profiles that Upwell monitors. Campaigns appear in chronological order andcampaigns which appear on the annotated graphs that follow appear in bold.Key to Profiles: OA= Ocean Acidification, SS= Sustainable Seafood, OF=Overfishing, GF=Gulf,MPA= Marine Protected Areas, OC=Ocean, SH=Sharks, TU=TunaBold: Campaign appears on annotated graphs.7Average baseline’ generalizes Upwell’s day-of-the-week baseline values for a given topic into one mean value for thepurpose of calculations, such as this one, which require a single value.8 The spike threshold is discussed in detail in the Methods: Big Listening section.9Upwell defines high threshold spikes as occuring when social mention volume for a given day is greater-than or equal-to two standard deviations above the average social mention volume for that day of the week. 77
  • Date Campaign Title OA CT SS OF GF MPA OC SH TU6/18/12 #EndFossilFuelSubsidies - This is your ocean on acid7/3/12 China Shark Fin Soup Ban7/12/12 Ocean Acidification Before & After Images7/16/12 Me and My Shark Fin7/31/12 Coral Found at Shell Drill Site8/2/12 David Beckhams Cod8/10/12 Shark Week9/7/12 Thank Cathay Pacific for Shark Fin Ban9/10/12 Petition to Ban Shark-9/11/12 Recipes on Livestrong.com9/12/12 Safeway FAD-Free Tuna& 10/2/129/25/12 How Social Media Can Save Sharks9/28/12 Google Earth Ocean Acidification Video9/28/12 CEA report and related research in Science10/4/12 Vote4theOcean Video10/10/12 Whitetip Shark Has a Posse - CITES Thank You10/12/12 Costa Rica Shark Fin Ban10/18/12 Jaws vs. Frank Sinatra10/20/12 Antarctic Ocean MPA-11/3/12 Petition 78
  • Date Campaign Title OA CT SS OF GF MPA OC SH TU10/24/12 Shark Protections at CITES10/25/12 NYT Editorial on Bottom Trawling11/2/12 How to Kill a Great White10/29/12 I Oyster NY& 11/5/1211/5/12 Prop 37 and GMO Salmon11/8/12 Political Porpoise11/9/12 No Overfishing. Guaranteed11/12/12 Big Listener - Beth Kanter guest blog post11/20/12 Giving Thanks for Australia Marine Reserves11/27/12 NYT Addresses Sea Level Rise During Doha11/27/12 Dissolving Shells: Capitalizing on OA Coverage11/28/12 Plastic Pollution Postcard12/4/12 Washington OA Plan12/5/12 - Upwell Blue Blog List1/10/1312/6/12 Bill McKibben Addresses OA12/6/12 Cannibalistic Lobsters12/12/12 NY Shark Fin vs. Jumbo Soda12/12/12 Everyday Objects Made to Look Like Sea Creatures 79
  • Date Campaign Title OA CT SS OF GF MPA OC SH TU 12/18/12 Cook Islands and French Polynesia Shark Sanctuary 12/18/12 Keystone Krill 12/19/12 Greenpeace Gangnam Style 12/19/12 California MPAs 12/19/12 Fish Tornado Photograph 1/3/13 Chile Protects Seamounts 1/3/13 Shark Fin Rooftops 1/3/13 Unilever Dumps Microbeads 1/4/13 What is a Coral? 1/8/13 Cuomo Panel Recommends Oystering NY 1/8/13 Polar Bear Video 1/9/13 Pacific Bluefin DeclineNon-Upwell Spikes from GraphsIn addition to the Upwell campaigns listed above, the following Non-Upwell events are labeledas NU in light grey in the annotated graphs on the following pages.Overfishing Graphs: • Famous actor Jonah Hill tweets about overfishing. [NU-1, 10/25/2011] • Fishermen fined for overfishing and CDB lawsuit vs. NMFS. [NU-2, 1/5/2012] • Reports of radioactive tuna tied to the Fukushima disaster. [NU-3, 5/29/12] • Sarcastic joke account @factualcat tweets against overfishing. [NU-4, 9/5/2012] • A single bluefin tuna sells for record $1.76M in Tokyo. [NU-5, 1/5/2013] 80
  • Sustainable Seafood Graphs: • The James Beard Foundation (founded by the famous chef and author) publishes A Guide to the Guides, reviewing sustainable seafood guides. [NU-6, 11/10/2012] • The United States sets catch limits. [NU-7 - NU-9, 11/21/2012] • TIME tweets an OpEd about non-farmed, sustainable seafood. [NU-10, 2/3/2012] • Al Jazeera tweets about Louisianas fishing industry re: BP oil spill. [NU-11, 3/5/12] • Womens Health Magazine tweeted an article from Rodale about the health benefits of Wild Alaskan salmon and wild-caught Pacific sardines. [NU-12, 3/30/12] • Sustainable Seafood Guide NRDC retweeted a sustainable seafood guide. [NU-13, 4/23/12] • #CFS2012 The Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts a three day event featuring sustainable seafood and top chefs from across the country. [NU-14 - NU-15, 5/17 - 5/18/12] • David Suzuki Foundation tweets the Top 10 Sustainable Seafood Picks. [NU-16, 6/8/2012] • The 10th International Seafood Summit in Hong Kong [NU-17, NU-18 9/5 - 9/6 2012] • The Dungeness crab season begins. [NU-19, 11/14/2012] • HuffPo Sea2 Table Thanksgiving post and Vancouver Aquarium events [NU-20, 11/21/2012] • Crab Recipes Features and recipe collections for Dungeness Crab. [NU-21, 12/4/2012] • McDonald’s MSC certifies all McDonald’s fish sustainable. [NU-22-24, 12/23 - 1/28 2013] • NPR series of posts covering MSC and sustainable seafood topics. [NU-24 1/28/13] 81
  • The Overfishing Conversation Winter 2011Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2011- Jan 2012 !14000 1200010000 8000 NU-1 6000 NU-2 4000 2000 0 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1 STDEV Overfishing OFThe Overfishing Conversation Spring 2012Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Feb 2012- May 2012 ! 14000 12000 NU-3 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Feb-12 Mar-12 Apr-12 May-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1 STDEV Overfishing OF 82
  • The Overfishing ConversationUpwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Jun 2012- Sep 2012 ! Summer 2012140001200010000 China Shark Fin Soup Ban8000 Cathay Pacific6000 Shark Week NU-4 Livestrong40002000 0 Jun-12 Jul-12 Aug-12 Sep-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1 STDEV Overfishing OFThe Overfishing Conversation Winter 2012Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2012- Jan 2013 ! Gangnam Style, CA MPAs, Fish Tornado 14000 12000 Antarctic Ocean (day 10) & I Oyster NY Pacific Bluefin the 96.4% 10000 NMS 40th & NYT Trawling NU-5 8000 Vote4the Ocean How to Kill a Great White Seamounts Cuomo JAWS vs & Rooftops Oysters NY Sinatra Costa Rica Big Blue 6000 Fin Ban Blogs 4000 2000 Antarctic Antartic (day 1 of 15) (day 15) 0 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1 STDEV Overfishing OF 83
  • The Sustainable Seafood Conversation Winter 2011Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2011- Jan 2012 !14001200 NU-91000 NU-7 NU-8 NU-6 800 600 400 200 0 Oct-11 Nov-11 Dec-11 Jan-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1.0 STDEV Sustainable Seafood SSThe Sustainable Seafood Conversation Spring 2012Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Feb 2012- May 2012 !140012001000 NU-13 NU-14 NU-11 NU-15 NU-10 800 NU-12 600 400 200 0 Feb-12 Mar-12 Apr-12 May-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1.0 STDEV Sustainable Seafood SS 84
  • The Sustainable Seafood Conversation Summer 2012Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Jun 2012- Sep 2012 !14001200 Google Earth & CEA Report NU-18 Me and My Sharkfin FAD1000 Safeway NU-17 Davids Cod 800 NU-16 600 400 200 0 Jun-12 Jul-12 Aug-12 Sep-12 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1.0 STDEV Sustainable Seafood SSThe Sustainable Seafood Conversation Winter 2012Upwell Campaign and Social Mention Spikes Oct 2012- Jan 2013 ! 1400 NU-20 NU-24 Vote4 1200 Ocean Video NU-22 Cuomo Oysters NY 1000 Big Blue FAD Safeway NU-24 NU-21 Blogs NU-19 800 NU-23 600 400 200 0 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12 Jan-13 Baseline Spike Threshold Mean +1.0 STDEV Sustainable Seafood SS 85
  • Campaign ListA list of major Upwell attention campaigns in chronological order. • #EndFossilFuelSubsidies - This is your ocean on acid [June 18, 2012] • China Shark Fin Soup Ban [July 3, 2012] • Ocean Acidification Before & After Images [July 12, 2012] • Me and My Shark Fin  [July 16, 2012] • Coral Found at Shell Drill Site  [July 31, 2012] • David Beckhams Cod [August 2, 2012] • Shark Week [August 10 - 17, 2012] • Thank Cathay Pacific for Shark Fin Ban [September 5 - 11, 2012 ] • Petition to Ban Shark Recipes on Livestrong.com  [September 10-14, 2012] • Safeway FAD-Free Tuna [September 12 - October 2, 2012] • How Social Media Can Save Sharks  [September 25, 2012] • Google Earth Ocean Acidification Video [September 28, 2012] • CEA Report “Charting a Course to Sustainable Fisheries” and related overfishing research in Science [September 28, 2012] • Vote4theOcean Video [October 4, 2012 - present] • Whitetip Shark Has a Posse - CITES Thank You  [October 10, 2012] • Costa Rica Shark Fin Ban [October 12, 2012] • Jaws vs. Frank Sinatra [October 18, 2012] • Antarctic Ocean MPA Petition [October 20 - November 3, 2012] • Shark Protections at CITES [October 24, 2012] • New York Times Editorial on Bottom Trawling [October 25, 2012] • How to Kill a Great White [November 2, 2012] • I Oyster NY [October 29, 2012 (I Oyster NY - Greenberg) and November 5, 2012 (I Oyster NY - Image)] 86
  • • Prop 37 and GMO Salmon [November 5, 2012]• Political Porpoise [November 8 - 10, 2012]• No Overfishing. Guaranteed [November 9, 2012]• Big Listener - Beth Kanter guest blog post [November 12 - 13, 2012]• Giving Thanks for Australia Marine Reserves [November 20, 2012]• NYT Addresses Sea Level Rise During Doha [November 27, 2012]• Dissolving Shells: Capitalizing on Ocean Acidification Coverage [November, 27, 2012]• Plastic Pollution Postcard [November 28, 2012]• Washington OA Plan [December 4, 2012]• Upwell Blue Blog List [December 5, 2012 - January 15, 2013]• Bill McKibben Addresses OA [December 6, 2012]• Cannibalistic Lobster [December 6, 2012]• NY Shark Fin vs. Jumbo Soda  [December 12, 2012]• Everyday Objects Made to Look Like Sea Creatures. [December 12, 2012]• Cook Islands and French Polynesia Shark Sanctuaries  [December 18th, 2012]• Keystone Krill [ December 18, 2012]• Greenpeace Gangnam Style  [December 19, 2012]• California MPAs Go Into Effect [December 19, 2012]• Fish Tornado Photograph  [December 19, 2012]• Chile Protects Seamounts [January 3, 2013]• Shark Fin Rooftops   [January 3, 2013]• Unilever Dumps Microbeads [January 3, 2013]• What is a Coral? [January 4, 2013]• Cuomo Panel Recommends Oystering NY [January 8, 2013]• Polar Bear Video [January 8, 2013]• Pacific Bluefin Decline  [January 9, 2013] 87
  • Campaign SummariesCampaigns on overfishing and sustainable seafoodChina Shark Fin Soup Ban Upwell celebrated and popularized China’s decision to ban shark finsoup from official functions using the “Meanwhile, in...” internet meme and a celebratorymessage. [July 3, 2012]Me and My Shark Fin When rapper Kool Kid Kreyola released his rap about shark finning inconjunction with Pangea Seed’s West Coast tour, Upwell promoted the video to outlets such asthe Guardian and Mission Mission and annotated the raps with the help of shark scientists onthe website rapgenius.com, to bring the issue of shark finning to new audiences. [July 16, 2012]David Beckhams Cod Upwell popularized the poorly-marketed Olympic sustainable seafoodpledge through a humorous image macro featuring David Beckham that spread the news toaudiences unfamiliar with sustainable seafood issues. [August 2, 2012]Shark Week Upwell organized shark advocates to capitalize on the massive annual increase inonline attention provided by Shark Week. The Upwell network significantly increased the shareof conservation sentiment compared with Shark Week 2011. [August 10-17, 2012]Thank Cathay Pacific for Shark Fin Ban In response to vocal pushback to Cathay’s shark-friendly policy change, Upwell rapidly mobilized a Thank You campaign to support the companyand drown out opposition from shark fin traders. [September 5-11, 2012 (majority of activity,September 7-8, 2012)]Petition to Ban Shark Recipes on Livestrong.com Upwell successfully pressured the 2ndlargest health website in the U.S. to remove all shark recipes from its online channels. Bycreating a Change.org petition and launching a supporting campaign, Upwell capitalized onLivestrong.com’s health and wellness brand to take down recipes for overfished shark speciesand to dispel harmful myths about alleged cancer-preventing qualities of shark products.[September 10-14, 2012]Safeway FAD-Free Tuna Upwell promoted the launch of a new brand of canned tuna tohighlight affordable, accessible, sustainable seafood to mainstream consumers. [September 12 -October 2, 2012]How Social Media Can Save Sharks Upwell’s popular post on National Geographic’s two blogsillustrated the power of online conversations to drive overfishing awareness among a significantconservation-inclined digital community. [September 25, 2012] 88
  • Google Earth Ocean Acidification Video During Blue Ocean Film Fest / Ocean in a High-CO2World, Upwell amplified a compelling new video from Google, thereby introducing oceanacidification and its impacts on seafood to a broad new audience beyond the conference forwhom acidification is a relatively unrecognized issue. [September 28, 2012]CEA Report “Charting a Course to Sustainable Fisheries” and related overfishing research inScience Upwell reframed a highly technical print-focused report, and breaking scientificresearch, to appeal to a wider audience. [September 28, 2012]Vote4theOcean Video Upwell’s video submission to the star-studded Vote4Stuff campaignraised the profile of overfishing and sustainable seafood for a large online audience. Both theVote4Stuff campaign, and its celebrity-co-founder, Leonardo DiCaprio, promoted Upwell’s videothrough official online channels to a potential audience of millions. [October 4, 2012 - present]Whitetip Shark Has a Posse - CITES Thank You Upwell translated an obscure CITES sharklisting into a sharable success story that resonated outside of the traditional shark conservationecho chamber. [October 10, 2012]Costa Rica Shark Fin Ban Upwell popularized an overfishing win in Costa Rica using an internetmeme and Richard Branson’s celebrity cachet. [October 12, 2012]Jaws vs. Frank Sinatra Upwell helped popularize an obscure mashup of Sinatra and great whitesharks, securing more than 20,000 views of this new school conservation video. [October 18,2012]Antarctic Ocean MPA Petition Upwell supported a celebrity-endorsed campaign to stopindustrial fishing in the Antarctic, and strengthened critical relationships with high profileinfluencers, including Leonardo DiCaprio and Sylvia Earle. [October 20 - November 3, 2012]Shark Protections at CITES Upwell amplified a Shark Defenders Facebook campaign topromote the conservation of five new shark species in need of CITES listing with dramaticsharing results. [October 24, 2012]New York Times Editorial on Bottom Trawling Upwell turned a New York Times editorialhighlighting new research on deep sea trawling into a consumer-focused call to action worthsharing. [October 25, 2012]How to Kill a Great White Confronted by a repulsive online opinion piece in the SydneyMorning Herald, Upwell orchestrated a sea of shark-supportive comments to counter the piece’s 89
  • anti-shark sentiment. [November 2, 2012]I Oyster NY Upwell produced a fresh take on a New York icon promoted by literati PaulGreenberg and spread rapidly online during a natural disaster. [October 29, 2012 (I Oyster NY -Greenberg) and November 5, 2012 (I Oyster NY - Image)]Prop 37 and GMO Salmon Upwell leveraged its big listening capacity to analyze support forCalifornia’s Prop 37—one of the few ocean-related state propositions on the ballot. [November 5,2012]Political Porpoise Upwell created this experimental site to round up election implications forthe ocean. Lobbying restrictions limited the scope of the effort. [November 8 - 10, 2012]No Overfishing. Guaranteed Upwell gave EDF’s new 100% observer coverage campaign a lift topromote this promising overfishing-free program to a wider audience online. [November 9,2012]Big Listener - Beth Kanter guest blog post Upwell’s guest blog showcased how social mediacan vault sustainable seafood and overfishing into the mainstream. The message was carriedinto new digital networks by social media pros as a “must read post.” [November 12 - 13, 2012]Upwell Blue Blog List In December, Upwell published a list of 88 ocean conservation themed“big blue blogs” to provide a resource for the ocean conservation community, increase exposureto ocean bloggers, and strengthen the Upwell community. The list generated such a significantresponse that Upwell was able to publish a second update to the list in mid-January. Upwell’s listmade it to the top ten search results for “ocean blogs” on Google.  [December 5, 2012-Janunary15, 2013]Cannibalistic Lobsters Upwell amplified a study documenting cannibalistic lobster behaviordue to overfishing impacts, by hooking into the popular story and meme that was on everyone’smind at the time: the end times. [December 6, 2012]NY Shark Fin vs. Jumbo Soda Upwell used a charged, regionally-focused issue to build outrageat New York City’s decision to ban big soda in New York but not shark fin soup through a highlysharable macro image, gaining important traction with a new audience.  [December 12, 2012]Greenpeace Gangnam Style The original Gangnam Style video went beyond viral and hasbecome a piece of popular culture. Upwell promoted a Greenpeace spin-off Gangnam videofeaturing dancing rainbow warriors and an anti-overfishing message that resulted in over46,000 views. [December 19, 2012] 90
  • Chile Protects Seamounts Upwell created a “viva Chile” tweet to celebrate the new year andamplify Chile’s historic decision to ban bottom trawling. The ban was especially importantbecause it established systems to reduce bycatch, ground all fishing quotas on scientificrecommendation, and protect the country’s most vulnerable marine ecosystems. [January 3,2013]Shark Fin Rooftops  Upwell shared shocking photographs of thousands of shark fins drying onrooftops in Hong Kong that were spreading on the internet like wildfire without a paired action.We paired these visually moving images with petitions from Oceana to promote a ban onfinning. [January 3, 2013]Cuomo Panel Recommends Oystering NY A commission formed by NY Governor AndrewCuomo recommended planting oysters in NY harbor as a way to protect against future storms.Upwell took the opportunity to redeploy the I Oyster NY image that had gained traction in thedays after Sandy. [January 8, 2013]Pacific Bluefin Decline  January was a big month for bluefin. Media channels covered back-to-back stories, highlighting record market prices ($1.76 million or a single bluefin), as well as a newreport documenting a 96.4% decline in Bluefin stocks. Upwell kept the conversation going andhelped our network focus their efforts by providing analysis of how the coverage was unfoldingand offering suggested framing targeting a halt to the fishery. [January 9, 2013]Campaigns on other ocean topics#EndFossilFuelSubsidies - This is your ocean on acid Upwell created an image linking thetrending #EndFossilFuelSubsidies conversation during Rio+20 to the issue of oceanacidification, playing on the recognizable “This is your brain on drugs” PSA, and increasedmentions of ocean acidification during the conference.  [June 18, 2012]Ocean Acidification Before & After Images Upwell repackaged a series of before and afterimages used in the International Coral Reef Symposium’s opening address to illustrate theimpacts of ocean acidification for audiences unfamiliar with the science using visual andshareable content. [July 12, 2012]Coral Found at Shell Drill Site Upwell worked with Greenpeace to develop a pithy image macrothat would spread awareness about the discovery of deep sea coral at Shell’s proposed Arcticdrilling site, using a message that would encourage future action on the part of activists andkeep people engaged in the Arctic drilling issue. [July 31, 2012]Giving Thanks for Australia Marine Reserves Using a seasonal hook, Upwell promotedAustralia’s decision to establish a huge network of marine reserves in a Thanksgiving campaign 91
  • that reminded people to be thankful for ocean MPAs during their holiday. [November 20, 2012]NYT Addresses Sea Level Rise During Doha Upwell capitalized on international attentionaround the Doha Conference, a meeting of the UN focused on climate change. Linking a NYTarticle with the hashtag used to talk about the conference and an interactive map resulted inover 3,000 social mentions across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. [November 27, 2012]Dissolving Shells: Capitalizing on Ocean Acidification Coverage Seeing an opportunity in therecent uptick in news media coverage of ocean acidification (most notably on new science andWashington State’s action plan), Upwell developed an image using a dissolving snail shellfeatured in a recent scientific paper and a message that tapped into activists’ opinions on ShellOil. Upwell worked with Greenpeace to post the image, and encouraged other members of ournetwork to share that content to make sure it reached broader audiences. This campaigncapitalized on people’s familiarity with Shell and their drilling plans to increase attention toocean acidification. [November 27, 2012][November 27, 2012]Plastic Pollution Postcard Upwell’s satiric e-postcard helped amplify the recent discovery ofplastic bags in the Arctic to online audiences. [November 28, 2012]Washington OA Plan. Upwell provided an essential online lift to cresting coverage highlightingWashington State’s gubernatorial commitment to take action on ocean acidification by rapidlyanalyzed the conversation, pointing subscribers to key pieces of content about the decision, theState’s Blue Ribbon Panel on ocean acidification, and the growing #oceanacidificationconversation on Twitter and Reddit. [December 4, 2012]Bill McKibben Addresses OA When Bill McKibben, one of the leading environmentalists in thecountry, talks, people tend to listen. Upwell took advantage of McKibben’s environmentalcelebrity status to help promote a video about the scariest environmental issue he thinks no oneis talking about: the threat of ocean acidification. [December 6, 2012]Everyday Objects Made to Look Like Sea Creatures Upwell promoted the Plastic Pacific artseries to raise awareness about the problem of marine plastics pollution. The images, whichfeatured “everyday household plastic objects made to look like the sea life they’re choking todeath”, were strong visual reminders the marine plastics pollution problem. [December 12, 2012]Cook Islands and French Polynesia Shark Sanctuary  Upwell’s celebratory campaign laudedthe recent announcement by Cook Islands and French Polynesia to establish the biggest sharksanctuary in the world, generating a strong conversation among shark advocates online.  [December 18th, 2012]Keystone Krill Upwell amplified social mentions of an utterly darling hand drawn video toincrease attention to the importance of krill and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. 92
  • [ December 18, 2012]California MPAs Go Into Effect With an impossible-not-to-love image macro of an otter,Upwell celebrated the grand opening of the California marine protected areas implementedunder the MLPA. The image struck the right tone with our people in our network, many ofwhom had worked tirelessly to see these parks implemented, and helped a hook-lessannouncement go farther in social media. [December 19, 2012]Fish Tornado Photograph  Upwell tapped into the buzz around an incredible image of a “fishtornado” taken in Cabo Pulmo National Park by famous scientist-photographer Octavio Aburtoto increase conversation about this important marine protected area. [December 19, 2012]Unilever Dumps Microbeads When Unilever announced plans to stop using plastic microbeadsin its products, Upwell celebrated the decision by creating a clever, original image to highlightthe abundance of plastic in microbead face wash. We paired that photo with a messageencouraging people to stay away from microbeads, spurring a series of comments fromindividuals who were unaware of the issue and vowed to change their purchasing habits.[January 3, 2013]What is a Coral? Upwell amplified Dr. Steve Palumbi’s simple video about corals and “coralbleaching”. The video uses tangible metaphors (e.g., stick a flower inside a coffee cup and youhave a single coral) to communicate coral biology in a fun and sharable way.  [January 4, 2013]Polar Bear Video Upwell shared this gripping video of a close encounter with a polar bear andtied it to protecting this majestic bear’s arctic home. The video was seen over 1.5 million people.[January 8, 2013]Audiences, Tools, InfluencersAudiences • Ocean lovers and activists who care about: overfishing, sustainable seafood, climate change, dependency on fossil fuels, coral reefs, marine protected areas, the arctic, and marine plastics pollution. • Scuba diving enthusiasts. • Discovery Channel Shark Week viewers, shark advocates, and other shark fans. • MLPA supporters and advocates for marine protected areas. • Sustainable seafood advocates and fin-to-tail enthusiasts. 93
  • • Seafood consumers. • People who care about marine animals (whales, squid, corals,walrus, polar bears, krill, penguins, sharks). • Likely voters in the 2012 national election. • California voters. • Political pundits analyzing election results and effects. • Mainstream science bloggers. • Nonprofit techies and social media innovators. • K-12 educators and their students. • Celebrities’ fan bases (Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Branson, etc.) • Food and recipe blog writers (with a focus on those who write about seafood). • National park visitors. • Influencers in corporate social responsibility (CSR). • TED audiences. • Fitness and health advocates and readers of Livestrong.com (2nd largest U.S. health website). • New Yorkers and others affected by the Sandy disaster. • New York City city planners and oyster consumers • Online activists (for climate, food policy, international issues, anti-GMOs, and general green issues) • Climate activists and people concerned with the impacts of climate change: sea level rise, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching. • Regionally specific audiences: Washington, New York, California, Australia.   • Upwell network of ocean conservation communicators.ToolsFacebook, Twitter, mainstream media, Google+, YouTube, image macros, Reddit, blogs, Tumblr,Change.org, TimelineJS, Imgur, Pinterest. 94
  • Influencers • Leonardo DiCaprio, actor and founder of the non-partisan Vote4Stuff campaign. • Edward James Olmos, actor and UNICEF goodwill ambassador. • Brooke Runnette, executive producer and director of development, Discovery Channel. • Ariel Schwartz, senior editor, Co.Design / Fast Company. • Mark Bittman, author and opinion columnist, New York Times. • Andy Revkin, Dot Earth blogger, New York Times. • Trish Hall, op-ed editor, New York Times. • Maria Finn, author and journalist, TED, Sunset Magazine. • Beth Kanter, speaker, author, master trainer and nonprofit innovator in networks and social media. • Jean Michele, Céline and Fabien Cousteau, descendents of legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau. • Amber Valleta, model and actress. • Scott Rosenberg, executive editor, Grist and Hanna Welch, social media manager, Grist. • Paul Greenberg, author, Four Fish and blogger, New York Times. • Polly Becker, artist, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Atlantic, Time, Rolling Stone. • Miriam Goldstein, Craig McClain, Alistair Dove, Holly Bik, Kim Martini, marine biologists and influential ocean bloggers at Deep Sea News. • David Shiffman @whysharksmatter, shark researcher and influential ocean blogger at Southern Fried Science. • Micah Sifry, blogger and author, Huffington Post. • Alex Hofford, photojournalist and regional representative for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). • Deb Castellana, director of communications at Mission Blue and the Sylvia Earle Alliance. • Maggie Koerth Baker, science editor at Boing Boing and columnist for the New York Times Magazine. 95
  • Ocean Evangelist CapacityImpactsIntroduction“Dont go away! This is an incredibly useful resource that, at the very least,ties the conservation community together.” ~ Valerie Craig, Manager, Ocean Initiative, National Geographic SocietyAccording to a February 7, 2013 Upwell Community Survey (completed by 107 of the 612 TideReport subscribers), the two greatest challenges Upwell’s community members face in theironline communications work are: • Engaging communities beyond their core online community • Lack of timeThe Tide Report, Upwell’s blog and social media channels, topic-specific webinars, plus staffspeaking engagements, guest blog posts and project consulting have provided channels fordelivering shareable content and practical training and tools to a diverse audience of time-starved ocean activists.According to the survey, through these tools and opportunities, Upwell has helped thecommunity: • Receive content that they wouldn’t come across through their usual channels • Stay up-to-date on the hottest ocean news • Save time by providing content that they could amplify to their community • Made them feel like they’re part of a community • Helped them balance humor with serious issues in their communicationsIn this section, you’ll find metrics and anecdotes that demonstrate the community’s growth,reach, and range, as well how Upwell has helped the network make the ocean more famousonline. 96
  • Network MetricsTide ReportOur main channel for campaigning across our distributed network since June 5, 2012.The Tide Report provides readers with one-click pathways for amplifying good ocean content,analysis of online conversations, and upcoming science and ocean communications events.MailChimp List Growth as of January 29, 2013As of January 29, 2013, the Tide Report had 600 subscribers, and an average subscription rate of59 per month. Its Average Open Rate was 38% per campaign (beating the nonprofit industrystandard of 14%). The average Click Through Rate was 10% per campaign (versus nonprofitindustry standard 4.2%).Below is a sample of the range of ocean and non-ocean related organizations and individualsrepresented in The Tide Report’s subscriber pool. 1. Advomatic 2. Aquarium of the Bay 3. Alaska Marine Conservation Council 4. BlackBird Jewelry 5. Bowerbird Communications 6. Blue Earth Consultants 7. Blue Planet Society 8. California Academy of Sciences 9. California State Lands Commission 97
  • 10. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary11. Chris Eaton, Digital Media Specialist12. Christina Choate, Filmmaker13. Cleland Marketing14. C O A R E15. Communications, INC.16. Conservation International17. Conservation Law Foundation18. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary19. Earthjustice20. EcoAdapt21. Educational Tall Ship22. Environmental Defense Fund23. Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary24. Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center25. Greenpeace Canada26. Greenpeace International27. Grist28. International Seakeepers Society29. KSC Kreate30. Jarrett Byrnes, Community Ecologist31. John Curley, Photographer32. Learn to Dive Today33. MacGillivray Freeman Films34. Marine Fish Conservation Network35. Marine Conservation Institute36. Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council37. Mission Blue | Sylvia Earle Alliance38. Monterey Bay Aquarium39. Monterey Bay and Channel Islands Sanctuary Foundation40. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories 98
  • 41. My-Planet.org42. National Geographic Society43. Natural Resources Defense Council44. New England Aquarium45. NOAA, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries46. Oceana47. OceanGate48. Ocean Portal, Smithsonian Institute49. One World, One Ocean50. Operating Engineers Local Union No. 351. Personal Democracy Forum52. Pew Charitable Trust, Environment Group53. Sailors for the Sea54. Sanibel Sea School55. Save the Bay56. Seattle Aquarium57. SeaWeb58. Shark Angels59. Shark Research Institute60. Shark Savers61. Shark Stewards62. Sherman’s Lagoon Comic Strip63. SOCAP64. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary65. UNC Chapel Hill66. United States Coast Guard, Living Marine Resources67. West Coast Aquatic68. WWF69. WWF Canada70. Vaquita.tv71. Vavau Environmental Protection Association 99
  • Upwell TwitterA secondary channel for campaigning across our distributed network since January 31, 2012.Upwell’s Twitter feed allows us to share up-to-the minute hot ocean content with thecommunity and amplify their content and campaigns.As of February 7, 2013, our feed  had 1,659 followers and was included on 67 Twitter lists thatrange from the University of Southern Florida’s College of Marine Science’s Ocean Science Newslist, to Bon Appétit Management Company’s Seafoodies: sustainable seafood folks list, to theNature Conservancy in Maryland/DC and Virginia’s Green Voices list.Twitter followers, April 1, 2012 - February 5, 2013 (CoTweet)A sample of our “top” (based on number of followers) Twitter followers demonstrates the rangeand reach of Upwell’s Twitter community. 1. @Salon 241,511 followers Salon.com 2. @nature_org 159,957 followers Nature Conservancy 100
  • 3. @NWF 123,763 followers National Wildlife Federation4. @jowyang 121,899 followers Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group5. @themoceanvibe 111,711 followers Emmy Award winning underwater cameraman6. @grist 102,010 followers Grist.org (environmental news)7. @edwardjolmos 78,303 followers Edward James Olmos, Actor8. @surfrider 76,375 followers Surfrider Foundation9. @PauloQuerido 71,152 followers Paulo Querido, Journalist/Programmer10. @craignewmark 62,778 followers Craig Newmark, Founder of Craigslist11. @FAOnews 63,096 followers Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States.12. @Oceana 61,804 followers Oceana13. @nokidhungry 60,525 followers Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign14. @iron_ammonite 57,590 followers Paul Williams, Filmmaker, #BBC Wildlife TV AP/Director, Writer, Photographer15. @johnhaydon 49,152 followers John Haydon. Author, Facebook Marketing for Dummies.16. @SciNewsBlog 47,063 followers SciNewsBlog: Science News for Ordinary People17. @DiscoveryComm 34,255 followers Discovery Communications18. @polarbeartrust 30,820 followers Polar Bear Trust19. @ConservationOrg 29,245 followers Conservation International20. @turtlenews 29,441 followers Sea Turtle Foundation 101
  • 21. @CarloLGarcia 27,848 followers Carlo Lorenzo Garcia. Actor and Founder of Living Philanthropic22. @LuciaGrenna 25,317 followers Lucia Grenna, Sr. Communications Officer and Program Manager for the World Banks Connect4Climate (C4C) Global Partnership Program23. @EICES_Columbia 24,046 followers Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability. Columbia University24. @MontereyAq 25,358 followers Monterey Bay Aquarium25. @earthisland 24,999 followers Earth Island Institute26. @FCousteau 23,064 followers Fabien Cousteau27. @gpph 21,339 followers Greenpeace Pilipinas28. @BoraZ 19,726 followers Blogs Editor at Scientific American. Visiting Scholar at NYU school of journalism. Organizer of ScienceOnline.29. @OceanDoctor 19,493 followers David E. Guggenheim30. @GreenpeaceAustP 17,770 followers Greenpeace Australia Pacific31. @NatlAquarium 17,606 followers National Aquarium32. @SeafoodWatch 15,394 followers Seafood Watch33. @Scripps_Ocean 14,122 followers Scripps Institution of Oceanography 102
  • TwitterReach Report for February 8-February 12, 2013.Even when we’re not actively campaigning, the Upwell Twitter account reaches tens ofthousands of people. According to the TwitterReach Report (above), over five days (February 8-February 12, 2013), @upwell_us was mentioned in 50 tweets, by 40 people. As a result, 60,462unique people saw tweets that included @upwell_us.Upwell Facebook PageA secondary channel for campaigning across our distributed network since March 27, 2012.The Upwell Facebook Page provides an easy way for the Upwell Community to share ourcurated content with their Facebook communities. 103
  • Facebook Page Demographics for September 23-December 21,2012Between September 23-December 21, 2012, Upwell’s Facebook fans shared 1,296 posts,commented on 542 posts, and liked 3,992 posts on our Facebook Page.As of February 19, 2013, 640 people from 20 countries joined the Upwell Facebook Page.Although the number of likes to the Upwell Facebook Page are relatively low, our reach is great.For example, between December 11-17, 2012, 1,712 people created a “story” (a page like, a storyfrom our post, a mention and photo tag, a post by others, or a check-in) about the Upwell Page.In comparison, Greenpeace’s Facebook Page, which has hundreds of thousands of likes, oftenhas the same number of people creating stories about its posts.PinterestA secondary channel for campaigning across our distributed network since May 9, 2012.In April 2012, Pinterest became the third most popular social network in the United States,behind Facebook and Twitter. Upwell uses Pinterest to engage the growing Pinterest communityin Upwell’s work, provide image ideas for ocean activists’ campaigns, and push traffic towardsocean conservation organizations by pinning, and re-pinning images from their site. 104
  • According to PinPuff, images from our most popular board, World Turtle Day is May 23rd, wererepinned 133 times and liked 29 times. Most of the images on the board were pinned from oceanconservation organization’s sites, or repinned from their Pinterest boards.Upwell KloutUpwell’s Facebook and Twitter communities’ extraordinary level of online engagement hasgiven Upwell a Klout score (a measure of influence in online social networks) of 61. An averageKlout score is 40. Upwell’s Klout score is based on the activity of its Facebook Page (mentions,likes, comments, subscribers, wall posts and friends), and its Twitter feed (retweets, mentions,list memberships, followers and replies).Klout defines influence as, “the ability to drive action, such as sharing a picture that triggerscomments and likes, or tweeting about a great restaurant and causing your followers to go try itfor themselves.” According to Beth Kanter, Klout scores over 60 are “Fly” scores in theCrawl>Walk>Run>Fly methodology outlined in her book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. 105
  • BlogA secondary channel for communicating across our distributed network since May 9, 2012.The Upwell blog allows us to share analysis of the ocean conversation, social media bestpractices, and DIY campaign toolkits with the Upwell community that wouldn’t fit within thespace limits of a Tide Report story, a Facebook update, or a tweet.Blog Post Sampler: • Who’s Influencing the Shark Conversation Online? August 6, 2012. SharedCount: Facebook: 109 likes, 21 shares, 27 comments. Twitter: 48 tweets • Big Blue Blogs: 88 Ocean Conservation Blogs. December 5, 2012. SharedCount: Facebook: 28 likes, 37 shares, 12 comments. Twitter: 80 tweets. LinkedIn: 1 share. • Big Blue Bogs: 100 + Ocean Conservation Blogs (Updated). January 15, 2013. SharedCount: Facebook: 15 likes, 6 shares, 5 comments. Twitter: 20 tweets. • Sustainable Seafood Twitter List. January 10, 2013. SharedCount: Facebook: 12 likes, 11 shares, 2 comments. Twitter: 27 tweets. • Attention Toolkit: Ocean Acidification, Coral Reefs and #ICRS2012. July 9, 2012. SharedCount: Facebook: 1 like, 2 shares. Twitter: 18 tweets.Guest PostsFour guests posts during the fall of 2012 and winter of 2013 helped Upwell reach new audienceswhile sharing social media and big listening best practices with the ocean conservation andnonprofit sector. 106
  • How Social Media Can Save Sharks on National Geographic’s Ocean Views (September 25,2012) http:/ /newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/25/how-social-media-can-save-sharks/ • Topsy: Twitter: 127 tweets • SharedCount: Facebook: 198 likes, 61 shares, 13 comments. Google +: 9 +1s, LinkedIn: 8 shares, StumbleUpon: 2 stumbles.Why Your Nonprofit Should Be a Big Listener on Beth’s Blog (November 12, 2012)http:/ /www.bethkanter.org/listener/ Beth’s blog has approximately 20,000 subscribers (RSS &email). • Beth’s Blog: Twitter: 256 tweets.  Google +: 2 +1s. LinkedIn: 49 shares. Email shares: 15. Post comments: 10. • SharedCount: Facebook: 6 likes, 22 shares. Delicious: 4 bookmarks. StumbleUpon:3 Stumbles.Sharing a Cause and Data Across Multiple Orgs: Developing a High Touch, Human Platformfor Collaboration in NTEN: Change (A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders) (December, 2012)http:/ /bluetoad.com/publication/?i=136336&p=27 NTEN: Change has 11,500 subscribers. • Topsy: 11 tweets • SharedCount: Facebook: 2 likes, 5 shares, 2 comments.6 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Be a Big Listener on Socialbrite (January 8, 2013) http:/ /www.socialbrite.org/2013/01/09/how-nonprofits-benefit-from-big-listening/ The Socialbriteblog has 180,000 unique visitors per month and 3,600 RSS subscribers. • Topsy: 54 tweets • SharedCount: Facebook: 93 likes, 213 shares, 55 comments.  Google +: 1 +1. LinkedIn: 5 shares.Requests for Help, Speaking Engagements,Sharkinars and Love NotesRequests for Help and Speaking EngagementsAs Upwell’s network has grown, so have the number of requests we’ve received for help withcampaigning, social media best practices, social mention research, and training. 107
  • Working with and speaking to the organizations, individuals, and audiences listed belowstrengthened our relationships with our existing network, introduced Upwell to new networks,and provided essential resources and training for the ocean conservation community andbroader social change networks.Planned Speaking Engagements: • Personal Democracy Forum June 6-7, 2013 (New York, NY). • 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference April 11-13, 2013 (Minneapolis, MN). • SXSW Interactive March 8-12, 2013 (Austin, TX).Completed Presentations/Consultations/Collaborations by Upwell staff: • 2013 Greenpeace Digital Mobilisation Skillshare. February 3-7, 2013 (Girona, Spain). • David Shiffman, author of the upcoming book, Why Sharks Matter. Untitled paper on social media outreach and shark conservation. • Blue Ocean Institute, “Blue Ocean’s Mercury Report.” • Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Meeting. December 4, 2012 (Santa Cruz, CA). • Environmental Defense Fund, “Ecomarkets for Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Coastal Zone.” Paper and promotional consult with Rod Fujita, Director of R&D, Oceans Program, Environmental Defense Fund, and Rahel Marsie-Hazen, Howard University Fellow, Environmental Defense Fund. • George Leonard, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ocean Conservancy “A Requiem for Proposition 37?” Social mention graph used in Leonard’s National Geographic and Blog Aquatic blog posts. • Nonprofit Software Development Summit November 14-16, 2012 (Oakland, CA). • National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, National Marine Sanctuaries Birthday. Micro- campaign by Upwell. • Conservation International, Ocean Health Index. Social Media Strategy consultation at the Ocean Health Index retreat (Santa Barbara, CA). • Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace, Hurricane Sandy social mention analysis for Michael Silberman, Global Director, Digital Mobilisation Lab. • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Grantee Meeting October 25, 2012 (Palo Alto, CA). • SeaWeb, 10th International Seafood Summit in Hong Kong. Campaign consult. 108
  • • Dr. Holly Bik, Postdoctoral Researcher, Eisen Lab, UC Davis Genome Center Blog post about social media coverage of PLOS One paper, “Dramatic Shifts in Benthic Microbial Eukaryote Communities following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.” • Web of Change. September 5-9, 2012 (Cortes Island, B.C.). • Blue Ocean Film Festival. September 24-30, 2012 (Monterey, CA). • Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World. September 27-29, 2012 (Monterey, CA). • The Ocean Project, Assembly Bill 298: California Plastic Bag Ban. Campaign consult for Alyssa Isakower. • CompassPoint Nonprofit Day/ YNPN National Conference August 3, 2012 (San Francisco, CA). • The Ocean Project, World Oceans Day. Campaign consult for Alyssa Isakower. • David Shiffman, author of the upcoming book, Why Sharks Matter. “Twitter as a tool for conservation education: what scientific conferences can do to promote live tweeting.”SharkinarIn order to help our network leverage the online attention focused on Shark Week towards theirown causes, Upwell hosted a Sharkinar (August 7, 2012), and a Son of Sharkinar (August 10, 2012).The webinars covered the State of the Shark Conversation, where the shark conversation washappening, shark conversational currents, top shark influencers, and the most popular SharkWeek hashtag.Selected participants from the first Sharkinar. 109
  • Over 50 shark evangelists and campaigners attended the webinars including representativesfrom: • i love blue sea • Humane Society of the United States, The • Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation • Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance • Monterey Bay Aquarium • Oceana • Ocean Conservancy • Ocean Project, The • Project Aware • Pew Charitable Trusts: Pew Environment Group • Sea Stewards • SeaWeb • Shark Angels • Shark Research Institute • Shark Savers • Smithsonian • Synchronicity EarthSharkinar Impacts: • 61.5% said it helped them network with other shark enthusiasts • 53.8% said it helped them with idea generation, • 30.8% said it helped them increase their Twitter followers and/or Facebook fans • 30.8% said it helped them increase interaction on Twitter and/or FacebookWe also received some love notes from participants:“Excellent meeting!” - Marie Levine, Executive Director, Shark Research Institute“Jawsome conference guys! Im already thinking about how we can segue Shark Week into abroader theme of ocean conservation and prolong the impact spike from Shark Week.” 110
  • - Deb Castellana, Director of Communications, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance“Great meeting. Happy to learn that you have been collecting stats on the shark conversation.Great to learn top hashtags, I will be using them for sure!” - Alisa Schwartz, Vice President, Shark AngelsLove NotesWe’ve showed you lots of numbers and graphs to represent the Upwell community, but nothingcan capture them more than their own words. We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasticsupport we’ve received from the Upwell community over the last year, and are grateful for all ofthe amazing work they do to make the ocean more famous online.“PLEASE DON’T GO AWAY. You are the best thing I get.” - Mark Rovner, founder and CEO, Sea Change Strategies“I just want to say that I think you are doing amazing work right now and have been an extremelyvaluable addition to the national oceans conversation in general.” - Ben Kroetz, Senior Online Strategist, Greenpeace“Gotta tell you, I love your stuff. Goes well with morning coffee. Pleasantly edgy, avant-garde, it’smarine conservation served fresh, urban, and fresh from the Internet. Keep up the great work!” - Paulo Maurin, National Education Coordinator and Fellowship Manager, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP)“I hope to see the Tide Report back soon.” - Justin Kenney, Director of Communications, Pew Environment Group, The Pew Charitable Trusts“I have really benefitted and enjoyed your reports and I hope that you will continue.” - Matt Rand, Senior Campaign Director, Oceans, Environmental Defense Fund“Very iconic! [I Oyster NY].” - Paul Greenberg, Bestselling Author, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food“It’s [Upwell’s] very existence speaks to the importance of ocean communicators. If Mother Earthcould speak, shed say it should be a new career category. Given the small time that Upwell hasbeen in existence, youve truly made your mark. I want to see (and reap the benefits of) more.” - Deb Castellana, Director of Communications, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance“I would attend any inar you all put on.” - Martin Reed, Founder, ilovebluesea.com 111
  • Vanessa Barrington, Public Relations Manager, Save the Bay, January 28, 2013“Bringing people together! Sharing of ideas! Great content that is easily shareable (and fun toshare). Great writing.” -Kathi Koontz, Worldviews Network Production Coordinator (California Academy of Sciences), Whale Entanglement Responder (National Marine Fisheries Service), and Special Rescue Operations Program Coordinator (The Marine Mammal Center)“Tide Report is the primary way I engage with Upwell. I appreciate that you condense oceancurrent events into good "sound bites" and provide ready-made content to share with whateversocial media network I use.” -Jill L Harris, PhD Candidate, IGERT Global Change, Marine Ecosystems and Society, Scripps Institution of Oceanography“I really enjoy the Tide Reports because they are a quick and entertaining way to get my oceannews.” - Heather Galindo, Assistant Director of Science, COMPASS“Keep doing what youre already doing with the Tide Report. I think its great!” - Kelly Drinnen, Outreach Specialist & Web Coordinator, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary“[Upwell] Saved me time by providing content that I could amplify to my community andtranslated complex science into simple social media messages.” - Claire Fackler,  National Education Liaison, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 112
  • “Keep doing what youre doing - its so important.” - Lindsay Norcott, Social Entrepreneur Coordinator, Social Capital Markets (SOCAP)“I really like what you are doing - keep up the great work! I do feel as a social media manager for asmall organization, with a lot of other items on my plate, the newsletter helped give me a sense ofcommunity and direction.” - Hilary Wiech, Program Specialist/Online Communications Lead, Sailors for the Sea“Upwell has been inspirational as a model for more effective communication about oceanconservation. You have raised the bar and highlighted the benefits that can be gained from greatcollaboration around messaging. The environmental community in general can be so fragmented,and we dont realize how detrimental that can be to reaching broader conservation goals. Upwellalso opened my eyes to where people are at nationally with certain terms (MPAs), and how weneed to do a better job of matching messages to our audiences.” - Julia Townsend, NOAAs National Marine Protected Areas Center, Program Analyst“[Upwell] Kept me thinking and learning things about an issue that I care about greatly but thatisnt my core issue (Im am acting here as an individual activist—I run a group that teaches onlineorganizing, I dont work specifically in ocean or environmental issues).” -Elana Levin, Director of Strategy and Client Relations, Advomatic“Upwell provides an unparalleled service that delivers strong messaging at the nexus of policy,conservation, science and humor. Its quite the talent.” - Nicholas Mallos, Conservation Biologist and Marine Debris Specialist, Ocean ConservancyChris Eaton, Digital Media & Advocacy Specialist. January 28, 2013 113
  • Comparative OceanConversation AnalyticsIntroduction“All ocean topics are equal, but some are more equal than others,” is what George Orwell mightsay in the unlikely circumstance that he were alive today and monitoring ocean discussions onthe Internet.To put it another way: a topic such as oceanacidification may be of profound importancefrom an ecological management perspective,and a topic that is at the center of a great manyearnest and concerned discussions within thescientific and activist communities; but online,on an ongoing basis, it may barely register. Thereasons for that may be multiple andcompounding: lack of understanding, lack ofawareness, an absence of personal connection,or a dearth of opportunities around which toengage in discussion, among others.Conversely, the threats to most populations ofcetaceans—dolphins, porpoises and whales—as George Orwell visits our client, early 1930s.a result of direct hunting may have diminished There is no historical evidence that they didsignificantly since commercial whaling was at not discuss Big Brother and Big Listening.its peak, but there are a lot of people who really [source]like dolphins, who care about them with apassion, who mobilize every time there is a dolphin hunt in Japan or elsewhere, and for whomthe entirely natural entrapment of several orcas by ice in Hudson Bay is a matter of internationalsignificance requiring the mobilization of a fleet of icebreakers. Conservation NGOs have activelynurtured this constituency by placing wildlife as the centerpiece of repeated fundraising efforts.As a consequence of this and other factors, the Baseline level of discussion is significantly higherfor cetaceans than for ocean acidification, and the opportunities for that conversation toexperience spikes of interest are also greater (for an explanation of “Baselines,” what they areand how they’re calculated, please see the section of this report titled Methods: Big Listening).Understanding the different scales of online conversations and monitoring what spikes aconversation is what we call Big Listening. It is not a replacement for a program officer, 114
  • campaigner or communicator’s intuition about which subjects or frames are more popular, but itdoes provide a significant new quantitative input to inform their work.The value of Big Listening is that it provides a quantitative, big-picture means of measuring thesize and evolution of online conversations, one that is able to place those conversations incontext. Many of us—individuals and organizations—have a tendency to live and campaign in abubble, to be focused on our particular area, and to be disproportionately pleased withperceived increases in our reach and influence. Our personal filters are further compounded bythe increasing personalization ofonline services—an effect Eli Pariserhas dubbed “the filter bubble.”10 Yes,it’s great if discussion of oceanacidification spikes ten-fold, but eventhose spikes are but a fraction of theBaseline cetacean discussion. And for agenuine reality-check, consider thatour data shows that over a six-monthperiod in 2012, ocean acidification’s70,033 total online mentionscompared far from favorably to the 9.6million mentions of the Kardashianfamily. That’s 136 times more Ocean Kardashification: a frame worth konsidering?Kardashian!11In this section, we examine which ocean conversations have been the most popular, which aremost likely to spike and why, and what we can learn from these findings.10 http:/ /www.thefilterbubble.com/11 http:/ /www.upwell.us/ocean-acidification-vs-kardashians-part-deux-gulf-even-wider-online 115
  • Which Ocean Topics Have the MostBaseline Volume? 90000 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat MPAs Ocean Acidification Sustainable Seafood Overfishing Gulf of Mexico Tuna Sharks Cetaceans OceanSocial mention Baselines for Upwell’s primary ocean topicsPerhaps not surprisingly, when we look at overall levels of conversational Baselines, the generic“oceans” conversation is orders of magnitude larger than the conversations for its constituentcomponents. While to some extent this is the result of so many conversations being conductedunder the “oceans” banner (more on that later), the word “ocean” is itself so widely used that,without proper filtering, those other uses can distort the apparent size of the discussion. Thenext two largest of our topics, Cetaceans and Sharks, also demonstrate comparatively highBaselines when assessed against the others. 116
  • 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat MPAs Ocean Acidification Sustainable Seafood Overfishing Gulf of Mexico TunaA closer view of the lower-value Baselines for Upwell’s primary ocean topics—note the change inscale and the position of the “tuna” Baseline in this graph in comparison to the previous graph.Here we’ve altered the scale to focus in on the more specific conversations, excluding Oceans,Cetaceans and Sharks. The first thing that can be seen is that, among these, the Tuna Baseline issignificantly higher than the others. Removing Tuna, and changing the y-axis scale yet again,brings the lowest volume conversations more into focus. 117
  • 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat MPAs Ocean Acidification Sustainable Seafood Overfishing Gulf of MexicoAn even closer view of the lowest-value Baselines for Upwell’s primary ocean topics—note thechange in scale and the position of the “Gulf of Mexico” Baseline in this graph in comparison tothe prior versions.Here, finally, we can see substantial differences among our lowest-volume topics. MPAs has thelowest Baseline, Ocean Acidification and Sustainable Seafood are basically tied for second-lowest (each exceeds the other for certain days of the week), and Overfishing comes in aboutfive times higher.The table below shows the individual day-of-the-week Baseline values for Upwell’s primarymonitoring topics. Topics are sorted by average Baseline social mention volume, smallest tolargest. 118
  • Daily Baseline Volumes by Topic Topic Average Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat (Sun-Sat) MPAs 61 42 59 67 67 80 73 44 Ocean 301 255 296 310 326 357 313 253 Acidification Sustainable 320 218 329 381 379 364 354 213 Seafood Overfishing 1,565 1,309 1,628 1,649 1,695 1,763 1,650 1,262 Gulf of 2,416 1,727 2,530 2,647 2,831 2,665 2,606 1,904 Mexico Tuna 7,020 6,196 7,381 7,481 7,653 7,587 6,935 5,907 Sharks 20,193 18,663 20,531 21,044 20937 21,001 20,204 18,971 Cetaceans 40,354 40,703 42,333 43,500 41,496 39,700 38,663 36,080 Ocean 76,671 74,970 79,670 79,763 78,384 78,382 75,716 69,816What Does Big Listening Tell UsAbout Ocean Conversations?This section summarizes our insights into each of the primary conversations we monitorthrough Big Listening. For each topic we offer a graph of social mention volume over time, abreakdown of some of the biggest spikes in attention, and an analysis of the overallconversational dynamics. The summaries are presented in the following order: • Fishing and Seafood: Overfishing • Fishing and Seafood: Sustainable Seafood • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) • Oceans • Cetaceans • Sharks • Tuna • Gulf of Mexico • Ocean Acidification 119
  • Fishing and Seafood: OverfishingWhen Greenpeace International became arguably the first environmental NGO to institute adedicated overfishing campaign in the mid-to-late 1980s, internal organizational response wasnot entirely enthusiastic. After all, “save the fish” just didn’t seem to have the same ring as someof Greenpeace’s other campaigns. Despite the humdrum slogan, that effort marked a first seriousattempt to bring attention to overfishing as an environmental and human concern, and toaddress its underlying causes. In the years since, overfishing has become perhaps the leadingissue on which ocean-themed NGOs focus their attention in various forms. Online discussion ofthe topic greatly exceeds that of the related Sustainable Seafood conversation, and of coursefrequently overlaps with more specific conversation topics, such as Sharks and Tuna (whosenamesakes are overfished).Major SpikesPlease refer to the Attention Impacts and Graphs section beginning on page 73 for annotatedgraphs of the Overfishing conversation and associated spikes. • May 29, 2012: 10,871 [NU-3]: This is the same story that spiked on the same day in the Tuna conversation: the discovery of small levels of radioactivity in Pacific bluefin. While the spike in Overfishing was less than half the size of the spike in the Tuna conversation, the spike suggests that at least some of the ‘radioactive tuna’ attention touched on the impacts of overfishing on Pacific bluefin numbers. • July 3, 2012: 7,751 [China Shark Fin Soup Ban]: The Brussels-based Ocean2012 organization released a video entitled “Ending Overfishing”, a powerful four minutes of animation on the impacts of overfishing, bycatch and aquaculture on marine ecosystems. MoveOn.org posted the video on its website and tweeted the link with the headline, “Terrifying! Fifty years from now, the oceans will look nothing like they do today.” The video was successful because it was pithy, it explained basic concepts powerfully and cleanly without hyperbole, and with clear and simple animation. The other big contributor to this spike was the news that China intends to ban Shark Fin Soup from official state banquets. • October 29, 2012: 8,716 [Antarctic Ocean (Day 10) and I Oyster NY]: An international, celebrity-backed campaign to stop industrial fishing in the Antarctic combined with a New York Times Op-Ed piece about oyster beds (An Oyster in the Storm) to drive this attention spike in Overfishing.   • December 19, 2012: 14,704 [Gangnam Style, CA MPAs, Fish Tornado]: A number of significant stories combined to push this day to the highest spike of the year in the Overfishing conversation, including the news, mentioned under MPAs, of California completing an MPA network. The two biggest drivers of the spike in attention were, however, the remarkable image of a  “fish tornado” in a marine reserve off Mexico, and a Greenpeace “Gangnam Style” video which was embedded with overfishing campaign messages. Also contributing that day was the news that officials in the European Union 120
  • made very significant changes to the setting of fisheries quotas in the region—changes widely praised by environmentalists and fisheries managers. • January 5, 2013: 8,917 [NU-5]: The record sale of a single bluefin tuna for $1.76 M in Tokyo propelled this spike in attention. The sale, which exceeded the record price set the previous year, is a regular occurrence and could be anticipated as a recurring event (timed to Tsukiji fish markets first auction of the year) in an overfishing and tuna editorial calendar.AnalysisCollectively, overfishing represents a grab bag of ocean brands. The Overfishing conversationbrings together species such as sharks, tuna, salmon and lesser known but equally importantfish, with wonkish report subjects such as fisheries management and lackluster internationalconferences. The topic encompasses a relatively broad conversational area, and one that hashistorically churned out quarterly bursts of dire news.Overfishing has about five times the Baseline volume of Sustainable Seafood, and roughly two-thirds that of our next biggest topic, the Gulf of Mexico. The comparison with SustainableSeafood is particularly interesting because the two topics are obviously intricately connected—the difference is how people talk about them. Whereas sustainable seafood suffers from afragmented and cloudy brand identity (what is sustainable seafood, anyway?), overfishing hascharismatic ocean species such as sharks and bluefin who are in clear and present danger.Danger is catnip to the internet. The Overfishing conversation actually benefits, from anattention point of view, from the ongoing damage that we are doing to our oceans and fisheries.Bad news spikes high and fast online and then it goes away. Intriguingly, the spikes withinOverfishing have been occurring more frequently since Upwell started monitoring (andcampaigning on) the topic. Overfishing is becoming more spikey and the spikes are increasing involume.Bad news and charismatic species are chum to celebrities and campaigners. Withoutquestioning motives, we do feel obligated to point out that both activists (like Greenpeace) andcelebrity activists (like Richard Branson) tend to look for opportunities to make a splash, andthus an impact. Sir Richard, in particular, has instigated a number of attention events inoverfishing through his work against shark-finning. Another celebrity, the comic actor JonahHill, was able to single-handedly drive a spike with a single overfishing tweet. Because theOverfishing conversation is relatively small, influencers who focus their audiences’ attentionthere can have a substantial effect in increasing attention (though their ability to sustain it isquestionable).Overfishing looks good on (video) camera. Several spikes were driven by compelling overfishingvideo content. Those videos didn’t shy away from the brutality or devastation involved, but theydid present it in a way that felt fresh, compelling and hopeful. People are looking for solutions, 121
  • and for most videos to be shared they have to elicit an emotion from their viewers that theviewers want to share. The video is the medium for that transmission. If your overfishing videois filled with bloody documentary footage of shark fins, you’re aiming for a seriously intenseemotional response from your audience. Even if they finish watching, they are unlikely to wantto expose their friends and coworkers to what is, in technical terms, a total bummer. Productionquality, aesthetics, tone and length are especially important considerations for videos of thisnature.The Campaigning, Collaboration and Powerful Amplifiers section of this report shares additionaldetails and lessons that Upwell has learned from regular campaigning within the Overfishingconversation.Fishing and Seafood: Sustainable SeafoodAs recently as fifteen—perhaps even ten—years ago, the very notion of sustainable seafoodwould likely have elicited universal blank stares. Not until the mid-1990s did environmentalorganizations and educational institutes make a truly concerted effort to develop a consumermindset for buying sustainably caught seafood. The foundation of the Marine StewardshipCouncil in 1997, and the creation of seafood guides such as the one produced by the MontereyBay Aquarium, gradually helped make the notion of sustainable seafood a more widely-recognized one. Even so, while the concept is becoming increasingly well-established inconsumer minds, it remains a quiet conversation online.Major SpikesPlease refer to the Attention Impacts and Graphs section beginning on page 73 for annotatedgraphs of the Sustainable Seafood conversation and associated spikes. • September 6, 2012: 1,030 [NU-18]: This marks the opening of the International Sustainable Seafood Summit in Hong Kong. In association with the summit’s launch, several organizations, including WWF, launched reports and posted blogs on proposals for enhancing the future sustainability of commercial fisheries. This was a spike caused by a number of related stories, as well as the cumulative effect of a sustained flow of posts from conference live-tweeters employing a shared hashtag. • October 4, 2012: 1,093 [Vote4Stuff]: Upwell’s video submission to the star-studded Vote4Stuff campaign raised the profile of overfishing and sustainable seafood for a large online audience. Both the Vote4Stuff campaign, and its celebrity-co-founder, Leonardo DiCaprio, promoted our video through official online channels to a potential audience of millions. • November 21, 2012: 1,312 [NU-20]: An Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown in Vancouver and Thanksgiving sustainable seafood recipes combined (somewhat improbably) for the biggest Sustainable Seafood spike of the year. 122
  • • January 24, 2013: 1,276 [NU-23] and January 25, 2013: 1065 [NU-24]: McDonald’s generated a series of spikes with its announcement that 100% of the fish served in franchises will be certified as sustainable by MSC.  AnalysisSustainable Seafood is a low-volume conversation with low-level spikes. For comparison,Marine Protected Areas has a lower baseline than Sustainable Seafood but occasionally spikeshigher than the Sustainable Seafood max. Ocean Acidification displays the same characteristic.And despite their obvious connections, the volume of the Sustainable Seafood conversation isonly one fifth of that of the Overfishing conversation. Good news for fisheries and consumers, itturns out, is not as attention-generating as bad news.As we detail in Campaigning, Collaboration and Powerful Amplifiers, the overall brand ofSustainable Seafood is fragmented, awkward and wonky. People simply do not talk about thesustainable seafood that they ate last night, or, crucially, not in those terms. The food serviceindustry has recognized this: one trade publication forecast growing demand for sustainableseafood even as it pointed out that consumers prefer the term “wild”—which obviously meanssomething very different. Furthermore, “sustainable seafood” itself is not a term well-suited forshort-form platforms like Twitter—it takes too many characters and is hard to use in a sentencethat doesn’t read as dry. Taken as a whole, the fragmentation of the Sustainable Seafoodconversation means that it is more difficult to accurately capture it with keywords, and that alow volume doesn’t necessarily mean people aren’t talking.Unlike Overfishing, which has regular media hooks through connections to Shark Week, direreport releases and celebrity activists, the Sustainable Seafood conversation doesn’t generallytranslate into spikes from live events and or big news stories. Where we do see spikes occur theyare usually based in one of three elements: well-known brands promoting their sustainableofferings (Safeway, McDonalds), fraud, or a bridge campaign (many of them attributable toUpwell). One other notable burst of attention can be expected from the Sustainable SeafoodSummit—although the resulting content hasn’t been particularly shareable with an audiencebeyond the conference’s attendees. 123
  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)60005000400030002000 1000 0 Dec-11 Mar-12 Jun-12 Sep-12 Dec-12 Baseline MPAsThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the MPA conversationTo environmental planners, scientists and activists, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are anessential and important component of ocean protection, and the debate over their correct useand application as part of broader marine environmental strategy is a vital one. It is safe to say,however, that on an average day the MPA discussion stays firmly rooted in the wonkospherewith an average daily baseline of just 61 social mentions—the smallest of the oceanconversations Upwell monitors.Major Spikes • June 14, 2012: 1,656: This was driven by news reports that Australia planned to establish the world’s largest network of MPAs around its coast. The announcement was given added juice by it being made on the eve of the Rio+20 conference. Interestingly, one of the biggest drivers of the conversation came not directly from the Australian government but via a press release from the Pew Environment group, which has made the establishment of MPAs across the globe a major goal. 124
  • • October 21, 2012: 3,065 through October 24, 2012: 2,131: This series of four sustained spikes was led by a massive petition drive led by AVAAZ.org calling on CCAMLR to “save the Antarctic Ocean” by establishing the world’s largest network of MPAs. • December 19, 2012: 6,425: An incredible image of a “fish tornado” taken in Cabo Pulmo National Park drove this spike, along with the announcement that California had completed a comprehensive network of marine protected areas that had been years in the making.AnalysisThere is no ongoing volume of online discussion of MPAs that reflects their policy importancewithin the NGO community. When MPA spikes occur, we can generally say two things: 1. They are based not on any online activity or petitions, but on news stories that are picked up, shared, linked to, quoted and retweeted. 2. Those stories are good news: MPAs have been established. Especially popular are stories about MPAs that are working, complete, or growing.One element that contributes to the remarkably low general discussion of MPAs is terminology.Although marine reserves, marine sanctuaries, and MPAs all have very specific meanings from amanagement perspective, their use can be confusing even to those within the community. MPAsounds more wonky than marine reserves, and it seems likely that at least some MPA discussionis taking place without the term being utilized. The conversational fragmentation of MPAs issimilar to that of Sustainable Seafood in that each topic is discussed, outside of the policy world,in terms of the physical manifestation (the food, product or place) that a person interacts with.The MPA conversation is also notable for its international elements. MPA announcementscoming out of Australia have generated significant spikes, as has news of the creation of otherprotected areas elsewhere in the world.MPA spikes have a demonstrated ability to go much much higher than the MPA Baseline wouldsuggest. When MPA news does jump outside of the MPA-specific audience it can lead toextremely significant spikes. This characteristic of the MPA conversation is another reason whywe suspect that issues with language framing and terminology may be tamping down thevolume of Baseline conversation. 125
  • Oceans 250000 200000 150000 100000 50000 0 Oct-11 Jan-12 Apr-12 Jul-12 Oct-12 Jan-13 Baseline OceanThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the Oceans conversationThe ocean is of course the meta-conversation in which we are interested, and into which allother conversations should ideally fit. But it encompasses such a wide area, and is integral to somany human activities—from seafaring to beachgoing—that filtering out such outliers to focus inon conversations relating to the marine environment can be tricky and time-consuming. Add inthe likes of Ocean Spray and Frank Ocean, and spikes can be misleading.Major Spikes • November 10, 2011: 159,883: The biggest Oceans story of the day was the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games being held in Jakarta. This spike demonstrates the limitations of language filters, as our Radian6 keyword groups are generally set to return only English language items. In this case the acronym for the games, “SEA,” is in English so those mentions made it through. • April 12, 2012: 159,472: In this case, the spike was all about the right kind of ocean: the Indian Ocean. Specifically, a tsunami warning in the Indian Ocean, following an 8.7 126
  • earthquake off Indonesia. Again, this is an example of how, with such a broad topic, a number of major events can be responsible for a sudden spike. • October 28-30, 2012: peak value 226,284: This spike series was caused by concerns over the ocean’s impact, rather than humanity’s impact on the ocean, and with very good cause. During this period, Superstorm Sandy was wreaking havoc along much of the mid- Atlantic coast, and was the dominant topic for online ocean conversations. Specific ocean mentions referred to the storm heading to land from the Atlantic, and to impacts on Ocean City, Maryland.AnalysisSome conversations are so broad that in order to derive meaningful insight from them, it isnecessary to filter out a wide number of similar terms. However, even when the conversationsare sufficiently filtered that they only refer to the ocean itself, the ocean affects so many areas oflife, and in particular is the source of so many storms and other events, that by itself tracking the“ocean” conversation does not give an especially accurate view of the level of onlineengagement on ocean issues. This topic provides a sense of comparative scale but not muchelse, although we are exploring whether seasonal periodicity might manifest itself as in thesummer months of 2012. 127
  • Cetaceans8000070000600005000040000300002000010000 0 May-12 Aug-12 Nov-12 Baseline CetaceansThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the Cetaceans conversationSecond only to Oceans, Cetaceans is one of the largest conversations we monitor. The primaryinhabitants of the Cetaceans topic—dophins and whales—each have a number of linguisticdoppelgängers (Miami Dolphins, for example) who threaten to obscure their online mentionswith irrelevant chatter. Carefully crafted keywords with ample exclusions are therefore crucial toemerging from Cetaceans monitoring with signal instead of noise.Major Spikes • July 5, 2012: 66,146: During a time—the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC)—when NGOs and journalists pay extra attention to whales and whaling, South Korea announced on this day that it intended to conduct ‘scientific’ whaling. This spike highlights two things: even in an age of new media, announcements that are made in the physical presence of members of old media are at an advantage; and in an age 128
  • where whaling has long been on the retreat, the notion of another country joining the hunt is jarring and generates attention. • November 9, 2012: 69,602: A post on a relatively obscure blog—suite101.com—detailed the death of a captive bottlenose dolphin called Sundance, and was headlined, ‘The effects of confinement on captive cetaceans.’ The Sundance story was not new; as the blog post acknowledged, it had been detailed in a book chapter in 2010. But the post, which was published on November 6, gave it new life, particularly after it was tweeted by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on the 9th. This demonstrates that even relatively old posts can be given new life, a tactic that we have employed in several of our attention campaigns. • December 3, 2012: 66,366: Perhaps the largest single ongoing driver of the online cetacean conversation is the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan. On this day, the conversation was dominated by Sea Shepherd providing live tweets of a hunt, and by a livestreaming site— ezearth.tv—that streamed the hunt and was linked to an astonishing 51,000 times. This highlights the power of immediacy on the Internet: the ability to vicariously observe and protest, in real time, against an activity—any activity, but especially something as emotive as the killing of dolphins—is a huge driver. • January 9-10 2013. Peak value: 83,682: This is another example of a live event causing a spike in online discussion: in this case, a pod of orcas trapped by ice in Canada’s Hudson Bay. The first report of the orcas came on January 9, after they were spotted by a hunter from the Inuit village of Inukjuak in Quebec. Canadian media spread the story and it was soon picked up online. The whales apparently swam free late on the 11th, after shifting winds broke open a channel in the ice. The conversation was driven by many calling for icebreakers to come and rescue the whales, of which the prime and most retweeted example was a post by Virgin founder Richard Branson.AnalysisA few things stand out from these figures. People like whales and dolphins. A lot. The cetaceanconversation remains at a high level relative to other ocean discussions.Spikes are driven particularly by live, ongoing events - although interestingly, a natural event(ice-entrapped whales) and the prospect of rescuing them created an even bigger spike thandolphin hunts in Taiji.The conversation began to exceed the Baseline in the first third of the year and was consistentlyabove it thereafter. It seems likely that ongoing reports from the Taiji dolphin hunt were largelyresponsible for this; Taiji was a consistent element in every spike, even when it was wasn’t themain driver. 129
  • Sharks 800000 700000 600000 500000 400000 300000 200000 100000 0 Oct-11 Jan-12 Apr-12 Jul-12 Oct-12 Jan-13 Baseline SharksThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the shark conversation. Note the huge spikes forDiscovery Channels Shark Week.Sharks are among the most charismatic marine animals, along with whales and dolphins. Thesize of the Baseline conversation, however, is obscured in most graphs by the immensity of thespikes that result because of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.Major Spikes • August 1, 2010, July 31, 2011, and August 12-13, 2012, peak value 764,858: These spikes all represent the beginning of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, driven by advertising, word- of-mouth, increasingly by social media, and by anticipation of an annual event. There is simply no other single event that consistently raises the level of discussion of any ocean- related topic the way that Shark Week does. • May 12, 2011: 52,196: This spike appears to have been largely driven by a Roger Ebert column, which he tweeted and which was widely retweeted, about “Sharks on a Plane: The Movie.” The links to the column are now dead. Sharks, to some extent like oceans, 130
  • have the kind of profile that can result in spikes that are not associated with conservation messages. • October 29, 2012: 154,420: Not “sharks on a plane” this time. “Sharks in New Jersey,” instead. This spike coincided with the the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, and specifically a popular meme that spread rapidly online, of photoshopped impact photos. A significant subset of this meme was photoshopped images of sharks swimming in flooded urban and suburban streets in New Jersey and New York, shared and retweeted by overly- credulous netizens.AnalysisThe graph above looks at a longer time scale than the others, which enables us to show moreclearly three particular elements.The trend line for the shark discussion is growing. Indeed, although it is hidden somewhat bythe longer scale and the enormity of the biggest spikes, it is one of the larger discussions onocean topics that we have baselined.The Shark Week spikes are also growing; in 2012, the spike was immense. Yes, more people areusing social media now than in 2010, but even so, the scale of the increase is impressive.Discovery Channel, with the help of shark enthusiasts, has successfully invested in a robustsocial media content strategy that piggybacks on sustained TV and online promotion. SharkWeek is a bona fide, real world event. It is basically the Super Bowl of the ocean when it comesto online attention. The shark conservation community has become more engaged over time(see: Upwell’s Shark Week campaigns) but isnt yet responsible for a big portion of the overallvolume.Combined with the increasing Sharks Baseline, the data suggests that Shark Week is provingeffective at not only spiking the Sharks conversation, but in lifting it consistently over a longerperiod. Shark Week is making sharks more famous on the internet. For a case study of Upwell’sShark Week campaign efforts, see the Methods: Campaigning section of this report.The other major spikes are, on the one hand, somewhat bizarre, but representative of the factthat sharks are still widely perceived in a negative and predatory light; few things are more likelyto provoke attention than sharks in close proximity, be it at the beach, in New Jersey or, heavenforbid, on a plane. Shark attacks—or shark accidents, as we prefer to call them—are also aguaranteed attention-getter, as is the almost inevitable reactionary response from revenge-minded humans. 131
  • Tuna 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 Feb-12 May-12 Aug-12 Nov-12 Baseline TunaThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the Tuna conversationIn the 1980s and 1990s, tuna conversation in an environmental context was mostly focused onyellowfin, the impacts of purse-seining on dolphins, and the development of the ‘Dolphin-Safe’label. In this decade, “tuna” in an environmental context mostly refers to bluefin. For manypeople, however, it refers simply to a piece of seafood, and online discussions are as likely torefer to issues related to that as much as to environmental concerns, as some of these spikesreflect.Major Spikes • April 16, 2012: 11,431: This is a classic tuna-as-seafood story—a fish processor recalled yellowfin tuna after an outbreak of salmonella affected over 10 people in 20 states and the District of Columbia. This is an example of two key elements when tracking discussion of any fish or fishery: the majority of people are more likely to relate to fish as food than as wildlife; and the element of that food that is most likely to engage them in conversation is the way in which it relates to human health. 132
  • • May 29 - 30, 2012: Peak value: 23,898: Another human health story, prompted by publication of a research paper that found tiny amounts of radioactivity in tuna off the US west coast that had migrated from off the coast of Japan at the time of the Fukushima disaster. For researchers, the most interesting aspect was confirmation of tuna migration patterns; for consumers, it prompted an online freakout about glow-in-the-dark fish. It is hard to imagine that there is any form of contamination—even including mercury or lead— that is more likely to lead to discussion and concern than radiation. • September 11, 2012: 20,942: This does seem to be an environmental spike. The driver this time: an IUCN report that global tuna stocks are reaching the limits of sustainability. Pushes by Greenpeace and the Pew Environment group appear to have been particularly effective in moving this dial. • October 31, 2012 - November 1, 2012: Peak value: 24,199: Two completely unrelated events appear to have put tuna in the news on consecutive days. On the 31st, WWF announced that it had discovered illegal shipments of tuna through Panama, suggesting illegal catches of bluefin could be higher than realized. As this story continued on the following day, TMZ revealed that an X Factor contestant had been hospitalized for eating bad tuna. • January 5, 2013: 14,267: This was a pretty big story, and a back door into conservation discussion: a world record price for a bluefin tuna that was sold at a Tokyo fish auction for $1.76 million. Multiple news stories were shared and retweeted. Conservation messages that were propagated at this time were rather rudimentary, emphasizing that they are getting more expensive because they are more rare. • January 15, 2013: 12,684: This was a purely conservation discussion, and one solely resulting from an effort by Pew Environment Group. Pew jumped on a dense scientific study that was uploaded at 2AM ET, spent a day excerpting the key facts and translating them into comprehensible language, and revealing that they found that the Pacific bluefin tuna population had been reduced by 96.4 percent. Upwell ran a campaign to amplify attention to this statistic.AnalysisDespite ongoing efforts to encourage consumers to see tuna as impressive wild animals, mostpeople still regard tuna primarily as food. The prospect of poisoning from salmonella orradioactivity provided two of the biggest spikes.Big figures are good for attention (even when the implications of those figures are very very bad).Most amount ever paid for a tuna; almost 2 million dollars! Pacific bluefin decreased by 96percent! The math is on the wall, and in the spikes.Three of the Tuna spikes are the result of concerted efforts by NGOs—WWF, Greenpeace, andPew—to find ways to push stories that otherwise might not have been noticed. The radioactiveFukushima tuna story was propelled by a sensational ready-made headline but originallyemerged from a journal article in PLoS ONE. 133
  • Gulf of Mexico600005000040000300002000010000 0 Mar-12 Jun-12 Sep-12 Dec-12 Baseline Gulf of MexicoThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the Gulf of Mexico conversationWhile of regional import, the Gulf of Mexico rarely registers as a topic of national conversationoutside of major events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon disasterin 2010. As can be seen from the above, it is an ongoing topic of online conversation on a lowlevel, but two substantial spikes elevated it significantly above its Baseline.Major Spikes • August 26 - 29, 2012: Peak value: 62,718: This conversation was all about tropical Storm Isaac, which disrupted travel, caused the evacuation of oil rigs in the Gulf and briefly raised concerns that it might be of similar size and track to Katrina. Note how conversation gathered pace as the storm headed toward shore, peaked as it made landfall on the 28th, and declined thereafter. • November 15, 2012: Peak value: 28,478: This short-lived spike was driven by a fire on an oil platform in the Gulf. At the same time, BP admitted to felonies in the lead-up to the 2010 134
  • Deepwater Horizon fire, and agreed to pay record fines. The spike ended when the fire was extinguished.AnalysisThere are three things that stand out here. As mentioned, the Gulf of Mexico is rarely a subject ofonline conversation. When it is, it is mainly for one of two reasons: An oil rig accident or similarnews story related to Deepwater Horizon; or a big tropical storm or hurricane. That was the casein 2012.As noted before, the Internet loves live events. Both these conversations tracked events thatwere unfolding in real-time: a gathering storm, and an oil rig fire.Both these events gained strength from what had gone before: in the case of Tropical Isaac,memories of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina; and in the oil rig fire, the question ofwhether the accident could spiral out of control to be a Deepwater Horizon redux. In each case,the conversation dropped off rapidly once it became clear that the danger had passed. 135
  • Ocean Acidification300025002000 15001000 500 0 May-12 Aug-12 Nov-12 Baseline AcidificationThe Baseline and major attention spikes for the ocean acidification conversation.Ocean acidification (OA) is an issue that has been garnering increasing attention fromresearchers, activists and managers in the marine conservation community; a result of increasedlevels of CO2 in the ocean, it is predicted to result in deterioration of shellfish shells, coral reefs,and the skeletons of plankton, among many other changes. OA is a high impact issue, but withan extraordinarily unsexy name; partly as a result, the background ocean acidificationconversation has yet to really register. Occasionally, however, a major story breaks through andthe spotlight briefly shines on acidifying oceans.Major Spikes • July 9 - 10, 2012: Peak value: 2,970: These two spikes resulted from the opening of the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) in Australia, and specifically an AP article in which NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco called OA both “osteoporosis of the sea” and “climate change’s equally evil twin.” The existence of the conference conditioned the climate for the interview to take place; it is to Lubchenco’s credit that she took advantage of that opportunity with such memorable phrases. 136
  • • October 1, 2012: 1,775: After several days of OA interest resulting from the “Oceans in a High CO2 World” conference, which had taken place in Monterey, California September 24-27, the issue reached its peak spike for the week with the publication of a Washington Post story entitled ‘Ocean Acidification Emerges as new Climate Threat.’ The article was linked to 582 times on Twitter alone. • November 25 - 28, 2012: Peak value: 3,105: This wasn’t one long spike, but a pair in succession. The first stemmed from a study showing that some of the worst predicted effects of ocean acidification were already taking place, with shells of sea snails in the Antarctic showing signs of dissolving. This continued the following day, and on November 27 was joined by Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire ordering state agencies to take initial steps to combat ocean acidification, following the publication of a report by a blue-ribbon panel that generated national press coverage.AnalysisWhile OA may not yet resonate widely, it has the elements that could enable it to, as is shown bythe year’s two biggest spikes. The first was fueled by powerful catchphrases that boiled downcomplex science into two simple, easy-to-understand notions; and the second did not dwell ontheoretical possibilities or timelines for change but instead was able to say categorically: seasnails are dissolving, and they’re dissolving now. The notion that we’re effecting suchdemonstrable change, and doing so now, is powerful.It should nonetheless be noted that even the spikes are low compared to the Baselineconversations of Cetaceans and Sharks, among others. This subject has a long way to go before itbecomes a conversation in which a large segment of the community is truly engaged. Bridgingthe community concerned with OA to the community concerned with climate change is a hugeopportunity, but one that carries significant strategic choices, the complexities of which shouldnot be underestimated. Our data suggests that Ocean Acidification is a likely candidate to “jump”Baselines (meaning: spike values would exceed Baseline levels for higher-volume oceanconversations), at which point supporters of OA action would be well-advised to have an pre-existing plan in place for how to talk about it in connection to it’s equally evil twin. 137
  • Insights: Big ListeningBig Listening as Practice “The best forecasters, Hoke [explains], need to be able to think visually and abstractly while at the same time being able to sort through the abundance of information the computer provides them with. Moreover, they must understand the dynamic and nonlinear nature of the system they are trying to study.”Weather forecasts, contrary to most people’s assumptions, are actually a rare field in whichforecasts have been substantially improving. In his recent book, The Signal and the Noise,celebrated stats wonk Nate Silver interviews Jim Hoke, a senior forecaster at the NationalWeather Service. Hoke describes the comfort with complexity necessary to forecast weather. BigListening, similarly, requires significant human skill and intuition to, first, develop robustconversational descriptors (keywords) and, second, to use the resulting information to identifyopportunities for a campaign to spike a given conversation. Indeed, Upwell has intentionallycross-trained campaign and listening roles so that this integration between listening andintervention is as efficient as possible. This comes not from any computer readout but fromregular, hands-on, practice.The tech tools we use for Big Listening are incredibly powerful, yet surprisingly primitive. (Thesetools are detailed later in this section.) Algorithms misread emotions, don’t understand context,and can dress up ambiguity to look like certainty. Moreover, despite being in an industry that isfundamentally data-driven, the service providers packaging the various firehoses of social dataoffer surprisingly little information about the exact conditions and sources of the data to whichthey’re selling access. It’s as if you were buying a car and the dealer would only tell you themodel and year, but not whether it had air-conditioning or seatbelts. ‘Weather’ forecasting of thesocial web is a nascent practice.Regular Big Listening to a given conversation is essential for building an analyst’s awareness ofthe conversational dynamics at play. While it is technically possible to conduct retrospectiveunpacking of a topic, and Upwell has done it in the past, it is much more efficient to listen on anongoing basis. Presence is the difference between watching a baseball game and reconstructingit through the box score.Team StructureWhile the Upwell model is unique, there are some analogues to the team structure we evolvedwithin the digital teams of other innovative nonprofits. The social media strategy firmCommunicopia identified four primary forms for digital teams within mid-to-large-size 138
  • organizations (50,000+ members), and praised what they called the “hybrid model” in which“the most progressive organizations are learning to be like the web—they distribute digital staffacross key departments, with a core group of experts that lead key initiatives, set upframeworks, and connect the dots while supporting others to lead.”12Communicopia ‘hybrid’ governance model for digital teams. [Source]Our own structure, while much smaller, replaces the hybrid model’s internal departments withan informal, distributed network. In the Upwell context, each of our team members may also bethought of as our own department (according to our primary role), and cross-training in BigListening, attention campaigning and network-strengthening allows us to recreate thatintegrated core team through our shared foundational expertise.Listening SystemsOur structure intentionally underpins the process for doing Big Listening. Each member of theUpwell team draws on a variety of tools and practices—some shared, some personalized—togenerate immediately actionable insight into each day’s online events. We supplement ourpersonal suite of tools and practices (our “systems”) with shared Upwell systems (such asRadian6).    Personal Listening Systems [human and machine-assisted] + Shared Listening Systems [machine-assisted and human-network-assisted]12 http:/ /www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/four_models_for_organizing_digital_work_part_two 139
  • + Morning Meeting [humans in conversation] = Big ListeningOur main shared listening systems are as follows: • Radian6: an enterprise-class software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for scraping and analyzing online data from across the social web • Topsy (free and Pro versions): a Twitter-focused SaaS analytics platform • tips@upwell.us: Our community tip line, used by our network to give us a heads up • The Upwell Firehose: a Tumblr blog that the Upwell team posts to as a kind of shared scrapbook for notable ocean news and content • @Upwell_us tweet Stream: The Twitter posts generated by all of the accounts Upwell follows • @Upwell_us Twitter Lists: Twitter posts generated by accounts Upwell follows, sorted into topical lists (e.g. Sharks, Ocean Science!, Ocean Acidification)Personal listening systems are as varied as our six team members but, taken together, they areboth robust and redundant. Each system draws upon that individual’s unique portfolio ofinterests, as well as their personal and professional networks, to serve up a buffet of newsstories and ocean-related content for consideration as potential campaign opportunities.Technology-aided curation services such as Paper.li, Spundge and Netvibes are just a sample ofthe tools that we use in our individual systems.Before Team Upwell assembles for our morning meeting, we have each gone through our ownlistening systems and noted the best stuff to share with the group (this could be referred to asour practice). We use the tips@upwell.us email and the Upwell Firehose Tumblr account to actas holding tanks for our discussion later that morning. (This process is detailed further in theMethods: Campaigning section of this report.)During our morning meeting (a.k.a. morning scrum), we go through the queue of oceancontent complied by all team members and each person pitches the items they’ve flagged forcampaign consideration. Much like in a newspaper editorial meeting, the competition is fiercebut collaborative. Our varied interests set an initial bar for a sort of ‘necessary interestingness’that an item must meet to be turned into an Upwell campaign. If we can’t make every person onour team see why they should share something with their friends, then we should probably finda better thing to amplify or campaign on. The full set of strategy screens that we to evaluateopportunities use is detailed in the Methods: Campaigning section.Our scrum allows us to leverage our machine-assisted systems by adding another human-curated sort on the news of the day. We use technology to aid the news gathering, analytics andqueuing processes, but our group conversations allow us to take a number of sophisticated and 140
  • not easily algorithmable sorting filters into account. Is there a compelling action we can pairwith this? Are we getting too sharky? Does that guy usually publish sensationalized takes ongood science? Is that underwater cow photo really LOL funny? You can’t machine sort for cool,so we Mechanical Turk it with our own team of in house cool-sorters. A Profile in Listening How do you listen to your issue? Over time, Upwell has evolved a process of leveraging the unique individual listening skills and interests of every single member of the team, and focusing that robust listening effort into a morning editorial meeting where the day’s campaign priorities are set in a collaborative conversation. Ray Dearborn’s personal listening system is profiled here, as an example of just one of six diverse patterns of personal listening on the Upwell team. Ray wakes up between 6:45-7:30 AM. Within half an hour of waking, she spends 15-20 minutes looking at messages from tips@upwell.us, reading emails from her personal ocean network, reviewing her Google Alerts, and scanning her personal Oceans! Twitter list. In TweetDeck, she checks her “sustainable seafood,” “overfishing,” and “shark fin” columns. She also has a column for folks in Upwell’s Network. Her Google Alerts include “sustainable seafood,” “overfishing,” “marine protected areas,” “bluefin tuna,” “sharks,” journalists who write regularly about marine conservation issues, and bloggers and journalists who Upwell has relationships with. The alerts are set to include all results, and to deliver news “as-it- happens,” so that content will hit her inbox moments after it is published. Ray bikes or rides her scooter to work, and is decidedly offline during her commute. Once she arrives, she’ll check her copy of the email digest from the Paper.li of Upwell’s Twitter feed. It lays out the kinds of content being shared that day: top news, videos, and photos. Because Upwell’s staff is small, she can’t check TweetDeck, Google Alerts, and email constantly throughout the day, but she will review her Google Alerts and tips@upwell.us emails within minutes or hours of their arrival, in case they include breaking news that can be the focus of an attention campaign that day. When she finds content that she feels is Tide Report-worthy, she adds it directly to the Upwell Tumblr, or, if she is on her iPhone, she emails the story to tips@upwell.us. Other team members add most of what comes into the tips email into the Tumblr, which is reviewed at the morning Tide Report meeting. Because Upwell is mostly focused on United States-based news, newsworthy items usually aren’t posted in the evening, so once the office day is over at 6 PM, Ray closes down her listening tools for the night, and rides home along the Bay. 141
  • How Might We Big Listen in the Future?While the context for Big Listening is constantly shifting, we believe that current trends point tosome likely future developments. These include:New Firehoses. The rise of cloud-based services, combined with growing movements fortransparency in both public and private data, will continue to open new sources of informationfor aggregation, connection and analysis. Big Data is already giving rise to a host of newcompanies that are positioning themselves to help organizations draw insights from the datadeluge. This trend is likely to continue.Divergent Functions. Correspondingly, if civil society wants these tools to support non-commercial uses then funders and larger-budget organizations must make their presence felt inthe marketplace—either by supporting open-source alternatives or by becoming valued clientsfor providers. As we have seen firsthand with Radian6, a tool designed to categorize every topicas a “brand,” “competitor” or “industry” does not natively (or intuitively) support facilitate BigListening.Smarter Robots. Ok, perhaps not robots in the I, Robot sense, but certainly in the sense ofimproved algorithms and machine-learning. These advancements will dramatically improvecontextual and sentiment analysis for listening tools. That said, smart humans will still be crucialfor training our robot helpers, identifying more complex patterns, and applying what is learned.Even with the bestest of super supercomputers, the National Weather Service has found thatskilled humans improve computer-only weather forecasts by double-digits.Privacy Fights. The fight over personal privacy isn’t going away, but neither is rampant datacollection. The big question, as it relates to Big Listening, is whether new consumer protectionsor heightened objections to privacy intrusions will lead to more walled gardens of data for whichthird-parties (like the services we use to measure conversations from afar), simply can’t, or can’tafford, to access.Buyer Beware. The shift to digital-first ad buys and PR plays will bring new pressures onfirehose providers and packagers to reveal more information about the data they’re selling.Upwell advisor K.D. Paine has helped the PR industry to develop a transparency standard thatmay force the issue.Social Science Catches Up to Social Media. The internet presents no shortage of people whowill give you their opinion on anything. The question—and this is big for Upwell—is what doessaying something online have to do with past, present or future behaviors? We theorize that itsays quite a lot (in a small but significant way), but far more research is necessary to expandknowledge in this area. One avenue, identified by Tom Webster of Edison Research, is to target 142
  • follow-up social science research toward a subset of people who express a particular opinion, orparticipate in a particular conversation online.13More Visuals. We like pictures. As mobile devices continue their march across the world, therewill only be more and more visual data. Search and listening tools will get better at comparing,filtering and identifying all those cat photos and videos—because they’ll have to.Spike Marketplaces. Has your favorite YouTube star talked (or cooked, or danced, or sung)about your issue lately? They will—if you pay them. New markets for creators to get paid forcreating content around brands or issues will arise to help companies and organizations earnattention in an increasingly noisy playing field. Some of these markets will inevitably be based,or incentivized, on performance. Because [insert your thing here] is too valuable to be left tochance.More Upwellings. Big Listening and attention campaigning across a distributed network (seeInsights: Campaigning, Collaboration and Powerful Amplifiers) work because they’re groundedin a networked view of an increasingly connected world. While we at Upwell may havedeveloped unique methodology, there is nothing to stop (and actually much to encourage) othercauses, movements, organizations, companies or campaigns from carrying out similarapproaches. Big Listening is a rational approach to learning from and responding to the worldwe now live in. As Micah Sifry, Co-Founder of Personal Democracy Forum, expressed: Thinking bigger, it would be pretty interesting if more funders copied Ted Waitt and the Waitt Foundation and seeded similarly open, brand-agnostic listening and campaigning hubs for other issues. Imagine an OpenWell for the transparency movement, or a UpStrike for labor, or a FemCast for the womens movement. Entire sectors of the advocacy arena might be transformed in the process. [source]13 http:/ /brandsavant.com/longitudinal-social-media-monitoring/ 143
  • Considerations for Tool ChoiceEach of the various free and paid online search and online monitoring services scans differentplatforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs, particular types of websites, etc.) usingdifferent algorithms and search methods. Often the same search query in two different servicesreturns different results because of thosevariations. For this reason, selecting a particular Big Listening Tool Evaluationtool (or combination of tools) for a particular • What does it count?search has significant bearing on howcomprehensive search results may be. • Boolean search?Upwell uses text-scraping tools including • Handling of inclusions/ exclusionsRadian6, Topsy (both free and Pro versions) and • Source filtersSharedCount to track a particular type of online • Influencer analysismetric that we call “social mentions” (described • Sentiment analysisearlier in the Theory of Change and Context for • Which data sources?our Work section). Our meta-analysis of • Full data or samples?conversations combines the data we gather • Source disclosurethrough these three services with our in-depth • Collaboration and syncingunderstanding of each tool’s strengths, methods, • Favored API partnersgaps and limitations. 144
  • Campaigning, Collaborationand Powerful AmplifiersIn nine months of running nearly 200 attention campaigns, we’ve measured and learnedinnumerable things. We’ve organized our biggest campaigning insights into a few broadcategories: • Driving More Social Mentions (Campaigning Insights and Best Practices) • Collaboration the Distributed Network Way • Digital Team Structure and Process • Powerful Amplifiers for Ocean ContentDriving Social MentionsCampaigning Insights and Best PracticesYou can’t predict what will go viral. As much as we’d like to try to pin down the recipe for viralcontent, it’s impossible to define.Timeliness and a hook are still really important, but the half-life of news online is shorterthan it used to be. Pay attention to ROI on campaigns. The half life of news in our own brains(particularly ocean news in ocean brains) is much different than the measurable attention it getsonline. Most spikes last only a few hours, and even top stories only generate social mentions fora couple days (unless it’s a massive storm or other environmental disaster). This is true for newsthat organizations create as well. Many organizations spend months and thousands of dollarsinvesting in creating big conversations online, and those conversations may only last two days,tops. Think about return on investment, and don’t feel that you are immune to the public’sattention deficit. If you want to have a conversation that is a week long, think of unique,powerful news hooks for every day that week. That may require trying 10 things per day,because not every effort will stick.Bridge conversations, movements and communities to make your message go farther. Thisisn’t just writing a message that you think will resonate with another community. It’s alsoreaching out, by hand, to build relationships with influencers in that community, bring theminto your network, and provide value to their work. 145
  • Identify opportunities based on Big Listening. If something in your issue area is spiking, jointhe conversation. Find your issue’s Super Bowl by digging into data. Campaigning questions thatBig Listening data can help to answer include: What gets people talking the most? What spikes aconversation, and how can things be replicated? Under what circumstances do conversationspikes last more than one day?Use simple messaging. This is a broad communications practice, but applies even more toonline communications. Often, scientists and advocacy groups in the ocean conservation sectorwant to provide too much background information. The simpler the message, the stickier. Linkscan be provided for context, but the actual piece of shared content should include no more thanone or two topline messages. For example, in the image below, we could have explained theprocesses behind ocean acidification, or summarized the study that had just come out thatlooked at dissolving snail shells, but instead, we focused on one simple, topline message. TheFacebook post included a link for background.Keep it simple, get shared.Think about the whole viewing and sharing experience. Curating and sharing good content isonly half the battle. Good content won’t get shared by your followers and fans unless it appearscompelling enough for them to click. Even the best content needs attractive packaging—anenticing headline that poses a question or cliffhanger, or a visible image that grabs attention. Thecontent also has to be optimized for the platform it’s being shared on. (For instance, squareimages display better on Facebook). Follow your content through the whole experience. Is it 146
  • attractive and interesting? Will people want to click? Once they click, will they want to share,and is it easy for them to do that? Upworthy has been experimenting heavily with the power ofheadlines: they write 25 headlines before settling on one. Upwell employs a similar method atmany stages of the creative process.Narrow in. Choose conversations, issues and regions. Be strategically opportunistic. Pick theright channels for your content and focus in on those. By narrowing in, you can be moreeffective.Focusing in on New York and the soda ban made this message about shark fin soup morestrategic.Be poised for rapid response. Upwell’s social media monitoring capacity allows us to correctmistakes, avoid the spread of misinformation, and respond quickly to growing conversations.Getting your message out while people are still talking about an event is more important thanmaking sure everything is perfect. Monitor online conversations, and switch gears whennecessary to assemble a response. Upwell was able to respond quickly to dispel myths duringthe immediate aftermath of superstorm Sandy, and also provided rapid response when Googlepreviewed their ocean acidification video, sending out an incorrect link on Twitter. In both thosecases, we were able to provide a valuable service to our community because of our monitoringefforts.When deep sea corals were discovered on Shell’s Arctic drill site, Upwell responded quickly byreleasing this image. We were told early on that the type of coral depicted in the image was a 147
  • shallow reef coral, not the species discovered on the drill site. Although we corrected the image,this version ended up spreading, and—surprise—most people were interested in the news andthe message, and not a single person called out the wrong species of coral in the Facebookcomments (though a few friends in the coral science world did send us emails). The obviousphotoshopping of the image lends it a scrappy feeling, more focused on the message thanaccuracy. Because we were able to release it quickly, it spread rapidly, concurrent with the newsabout the coral discovery.This image got thousands of shares. No one cares that it looks photoshopped.Pair content with asks, but balance asks across a spectrum of engagement. Great contentwithout a pathway to action is like a shark without its fins—it can’t swim. Several studies onpublic perceptions of climate change have noted that, when presented with the problem ofglobal warming, people are frustrated, have a lack of clear knowledge, feel that causes areirreversible and there is no solution. 14 We have seen the same truth emerge aroundcommunications of other global environmental problems, like overfishing. Providing pathwaysto action overcomes people’s feelings of desperation and helplessness. But if every piece ofcontent you post includes a link to a petition or asks your supporters to make a phone call totheir elected officials, you will wear out your audience quickly. Alternate between small asks(“like or share this image”), medium asks (“download the Seafood Watch app”) and large asks(“write a letter to your representative”). This provides a menu of options for your fans andfollowers, and allows for them to engage in a way that feels comfortable to them.14 Immerwahr, 1999.http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/5662 Original source, referenced in Living in Denial.Also, J. A. KROSNICK ET AL. 2006http:/ /woods.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/files/Global-Warming-National-Seriousness.pdf 148
  • Celebrate victories. Invite everyone to celebrate victories with everyone! This helps you tobroaden your base of support and to encourage new advocates to stand with you the next time.This didn’t go out to people who signed the petition. It went out to everyone with an internetconnection.Normalize obscure issues or complex ideas with iconic imagery, cultural anchors, or tribesignifiers. If you’ve ever watched the Daily Show, you’re probably familiar with the graphicsthat appear, floating, to the left of Jon Stewart’s head. They are often takes on movie titles orcultural references, with a twist reflecting current events. (“Hagel with a Smear,” “Halal in theFamily,” and “Barack and the Giant Speech” are just a few of the recent ones.) This providesfamiliar anchoring for issues and topics that may be less familiar to the average person. Upwellhas seen success with applying similar creative solutions to wonky seafood issues. 149
  • Because everyone knows David Beckham.Iconic image. Shareable.Define your goals and metrics based on what is actually measurable. Awareness is not easilymeasurable and quantifiable, so “raising awareness” is an indefinite and impractical goal. Upwellhas defined a goal around increasing the number of online social mentions about the oceanbecause social mentions are practical to measure with today’s tools. Defining your impact based 150
  • on your metrics instills trust in your community and funders.Revive old stuff. Just because a video got thousands of views six months ago, chances are mostof your fans and followers haven’t seen it yet. Keep a stockpile of content related to your issue.Most good content is timeless. Upwell had success sharing a mockumentary video about aplastic bag (and its journey to the ocean), even though the video had been created andpopularized back in 2010.Videos: shorter, prettier, more pithy. Upwell has shared many a video over the last year. Themost shareable videos (based on social mentions generated) were beautiful, short (under fiveminutes is good, under three is better), accessible to mobile users, and often had a touch ofhumor, sarcasm, or wit. This Ending Overfishing video generated hundreds of thousands ofplays because it was easy to understand and beautiful to watch. Kool Kid Kreyola’s Me and MyShark Fin music video generated hundreds of social mentions because it was funny, andapproached a serious issue from a new perspective. Too often, organizations produce videosthat are dry, too long, and focus more on production value than on the viewer’s experience. Ifyour aunt or your 13-year-old cousin wouldn’t share it, it will probably not generate volumes ofsocial mentions.Memes: don’t try to make them from scratch. Memes are on the rise, and continue to grow inpopularity at an unabated pace. Better to join a popular meme than try to make one of yourown. A good meme ne’er originated from a nonprofit organization.This image uses the popular “Meanwhile, in...” meme.Celebrity promotion: not a silver bullet. Celebrities can create spikes in social mentions, butoften underperform on measures of true engagement. Effective celebrity campaign engagementrequires a carefully planned, long-term approach. 151
  • Facebook • Facebook is visual. Use image macros. They’re happening. Day after day, the most successful (in terms of engagement) posts across social change Facebook pages are images with text superimposed on them (“image macros”). They are portable, and are visual without losing your message. Embrace them, don’t fear them. Simpler is better: you can include all the background information in the text of your Facebook post. • Facebook is still the personal social network (whereas Twitter is the professional network). People won’t share links on Facebook just because they’re interesting or relevant to their job—they share because they believe their friends will be interested, or because it’s part of the personal persona they have developed on that network. Develop content that helps supporters build that persona, like this image from Shark Defenders: Shark Defenders got thousands of shares with this image. • Embrace the rise of independent Facebook pages. Pages like I Fucking Love Science and Evolution are racking up new likes at a rapid pace, and generate discussion and shares with every post. Their seemingly independent status makes them be seen as objective sources for interesting information about science and our planet. Organizations and other communicators would do well to start building relationships with the proprietors of those pages. Often, striking up a conversation over Facebook messaging, and providing share- worthy content is all it takes. But don’t abuse the relationship, and make sure that the content you provide to them is actually in line with what their audience wants. (For more on the rise of I Fucking Love Science, read this profile of the page’s administrator.) 152
  • Twitter • Provide context with links. Don’t just share links—comment on them or include the most salient sentence from the link. • Opinions and inspirational quotes generate retweets. Upwell’s most retweeted tweets were these two tweets from Shark Week: Asking for the retweet (RT) didn’t hurt either. • When live tweeting, don’t just report on events—provide original content, context and reactions. When Upwell tweeted during Shark Week, we generated social mentions and accumulated new followers by researching events on TV and providing links for context. We also prepared content in advance, including several images that we knew would be relevant to the conversations people were having. Our tweets added value to the conversation, rather than just adding to the echo chamber.Collaboration, the DistributedNetwork WayCollaboration in communications is hard, and can be expensive. Agreeing on key messages,coordinating timing and brand competition, and defining roles are some of the few stumblingblocks that keep large organizations from collaborating in nimble and responsive ways. 153
  • Traditional collaboration remains a powerful method for pushing federal policy change (sincethey are equally nimble processes), but is becoming less applicable and useful for the growingworld of online communications and movement building.Very early on, Upwell learned that doing formal online communications collaboration requires ahuge time investment for a comparatively small return. We felt that it was much more effectiveto just go straight to the people who actually control online channels and skip official,organization-to-organization contractual approval processes that are a historical artifact of adifferent way of working. More and more, these online channel gatekeepers are being trustedwith daily decisionmaking without approval processes—they are the voice of the brand online.In order to survive in a landscape where so many other successful and engaging contentchannels have little to no gatekeeping, these individuals must have the flexibility to share, createand respond to content.It feels much more modern to just go to the people who do the work, and if they think it’sappropriate for their audience, they share it. There’s no approval process in there. The approvalprocess is more akin to: “That’s cool.” Click to share.Provide brand-neutral content. Pair a brand-neutral image or video, keeping your brand-focused messaging in the text of your Facebook post or tweet. The content can then be adaptedfor other channels. Think about the brand of your issue or your movement rather than yourorganizational or personal brand.Embrace the larger ecosystem of communicators. Your collaborators may be scientists,journalists, bloggers, individual evangelists and more. Target influencers beyond the choir, andsurface the part of their identity that aligns with yours (it’s there).  Be open to ad hoc partnerships. If you’ve got a great idea or great piece of content, but don’thave access to a broad network, think about starting a lightweight, ad hoc partnership with alarger distribution channel. No need to sign a MOU, just send them your ideas and explain whyyou think it might be relevant to their audience. Every node in our network has differentstrengths—knowing what those are allows us to create ad hoc partnerships and distributecontent in the most effective way.Share other organizations’ and people’s content. Be generous with your online channels.Follow similar content channels and look for anything to share that you think your audiencewould appreciate.Find unique high-touch activities to cultivate personal relationships. Don’t be afraid to pickup the phone, or write a greeting card. Use conferences and other meetings as opportunities todiscuss online communications strategies and talk about what’s coming down the pipeline. 154
  • Offline actions strengthen online relationships.In difficult times, be human. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it was hard to ignore theemotional gestalt. Campaigning in such unusual times requires a level of sensitivity. Providevalue to the network, and take care of your connections. By doing so, you build social capital andtrust, and add to the resiliency of your network.Digital Team Structure and ProcessDigital teams are still somewhat novel things. Many organizations are experimenting with waysto structure and hire for their online communications staff, some embedding onlinecommunicators in their program teams, others leaving online communication to interns, evenothers keeping social outreach within the control of influential individuals in the executive suite.Many organizations have their digital team embedded within their more traditionalcommunications staff.In running rapid attention campaigns, and focusing primarily on social platforms as the mediumfor our ocean famous-making, Upwell has developed a few best practices that can be applied toother small, nimble online teams. Not all of these tips and insights may be appropriate foreveryone, but they are worth exploring as you think about how to make your onlinecampaigning more flexible and responsive.Develop systems to capture insights. In the world of rapid online campaigning, it’s easy to getin the trenches and forget to record your impacts and think critically about lessons learned. Thisis particularly troublesome when many of the free tools only provide 30 days of analytics onsocial media (aside from analytics programs that are embedded in owned channels). It isimportant to develop systems to capture insights, and be deliberate about scheduling time forthat work. Upwell experimented with using Friday as the measurement day. We sat together andlooked at the best and worst campaigns of the week, recording the number of social mentions,audiences and influencers targeted, and insights and lessons learned. We talked about insightsin person to make sure these lessons were being taken to heart by the team members. Keepingto this schedule was a challenge in the campaign environment, but when we did, the resultswere noticeable (and saved a lot of time down the road).Encourage a flat structure. Upwell’s team operates like a proactive news room, with everyonesurfacing ideas and the entire team collaborating each morning to narrow down the highestvalue campaign opportunities. Assignments are made based on skills and interest level, buteveryone comes to the table with the same authority to bring ideas and creativity tocampaigning. The flat structure also builds in individual ownership of campaigns, and fosters anessential environment friendly to honest and critical feedback. 155
  • Keep the campaigning team small, but not too small. Four to five people feels like the sweetspot for Upwell. This ensures that there is a diversity of skills and experience brought to thetable, but that there aren’t too many voices that might slow down or prevent decision-making.Keep time for developing creative to a minimum. This is hard, once you get in the creativemindset and are deep in developing a visual or writing a pitch. Upwell keeps a close eye onreturn on investment, incorporating our Minimum Viable Campaigning methods into every stepof the process. We say the words “minimum viable image macro” at least 10 times a week. Wetry to limit creative time to half an hour for a campaign. We even joke about minimum viablelunch. Fast creative is part of our culture.Run lots of little campaigns, and extend the ones that work. Rather than investing largeamounts of resources on a new campaign idea up front, Upwell runs anywhere from ten to 20small campaigns a week, investing minimal resources up front, and investing further resourcesinto campaigns that prove viable.Lean on the personal interests, strengths and networks of your team members. Upwell’steam members each have their own particular ways of listening to the internet. Some of usswear by Tweetdeck, others by HootSuite. We also each bring a diverse network of people to theorganization. By not just allowing those differences, but cultivating them, we have ensured avariety of content sources, and have maintained a human voice for our little organization.Recognize and admit your weaknesses. Not everyone can do everything, and that’s okay. Noone on the Upwell team is big on Reddit, and most of us don’t have access to cable television athome. Recognizing those weaknesses has allowed us to be proactive about filling in gaps andensuring we can have our finger on the pulse of different communities important to oceanconservation.Powerful Amplifiers in the OceanSpaceThere are characterizable issue-based conversations within the marine conservation space.There is a sharks conversation, and an overfishing conversation, each measurable with keywordsets—and they are really different sizes. Because of this, there are particular ways to influencethose conversations, and amplify good content about specific ocean topics. Below, we havehighlighted some of the top insights and best practices for amplifying attention to ocean issuesin general, as well as some that are specific to those communicating about overfishing,sustainable seafood, and marine protected areas. 156
  • Talking About the OceanUpwell has been engaging in the broad “ocean conversation” for over a year. This has meantamplifying content from and engaging with highly-focused issue experts as well as generalocean enthusiasts. The insights and best practices outlined below draw on lessons learned thatfeel particularly valuable to Team Ocean, and are applicable to ocean communicators across avariety of categories.The ocean is out of sight and out of mind. It is not in our backyard (well, unless we’re one ofthe lucky ones). When people experience weather, they don’t connect it with our ocean. Peoplehave little to no clarity on where their seafood comes from. This is a challenge we need toembed into all of our communications efforts.We assumed there would be a lot of great ocean content. We were wrong about the ‘great’part. There is an abundance of compelling stories, news, and beautiful photographs, but thesepieces of content are rarely packaged in a way that makes them socially shareable.Plan social media outreach in advance of scientific report releases. Often, social mediapromotion is an afterthought in science communication. With additional thoughtfulness aboutengaging influential voices online, packaging scientific findings for social media channels, andunderstanding the best ways to communicate science visually, scientists and scientificinstitutions can be ahead of the curve, identifying how their reports are discussed, rather thanreacting to someone else’s decisions about that. This would also help scientists reach newaudiences. This strategy should be developed concurrently with (not as an afterthought to)traditional PR outreach strategies. This tactic is especially important given the widespread use ofsocial media platforms by mainstream journalists for sources and stories.Lower your science hackles. Often, researchers are hesitant to simplify their findings for socialmedia channels, because it leaves room for misinterpretation. Social media is a great gatewaymechanism for sharing scientific content and getting vast communities interested in science.Being forgiving and understanding the value of repackaging content allows scientists to buildrelationships with new communities and spread knowledge.Cross-promote social content via collaborative outlets. National Geographic’s ocean portalhas provided a great outlet for sharing Upwell’s lessons learned. Organizations should look toaligned media groups to help spread information on socially-optimized channels.Anthropomorphize ocean creatures. Well, not every day, but sometimes. If we learn anythingfrom Mitik and “the lonely whale,” it is that instilling animals with emotions and human storieshelps people connect with this out-of-sight universe. When people connect with an individualanimal, they are primed to learn more. 157
  • Don’t let beautiful ocean pictures do all the talking. There is a deeply held narrative about thesea, popularized by ocean greats like Jacques Cousteau, that the ocean is abundant and there aremillions of fish in the sea. Beautiful photographs showing abundance reinforce this narrative.While there is certainly space to share photographs that inspire people to love the ocean, Upwellbelieves this should be balanced with hard-hitting information that tells the truth about thedestructive relationship we have with ocean resources. Just as we don’t want doom and gloomto run the show, we should not let abundance and beauty perpetuate a healthy oceanstereotype that impedes action.Sustainable SeafoodScary stories get attention. Recent mercury reports and seafood fraud reports generate mediaattention and social mentions. Find a way to hook into scary stories and insert a pathway toaction. Simply reporting on the scariness will make people feel powerless, as it does in climatecommunications.15“It’s complicated” is a bad relationship status and a bad brand. The brand of the sustainableseafood movement is not currently an asset. It is characterized by internecine battles, complexpolitics and variegated solutions. While organizations attempt to control this in traditional mediacoverage, social media offers less room for control—problems with the sustainable seafoodbrand are compounded in online communities, which offer space for people to complain andvoice their grievances.The actual practice of eating sustainable seafood continues to be challenging, and newscoverage is not making it appear easier. Recent coverage in NPR highlighted the confusionaround sustainable seafood, with a particular focus on the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel,highlighting that even what is labeled as “sustainable” may not be considered sustainable bymany leading environmental organizations. A James Beard Foundation “Guide to theGuides” (which generated a spike in social mentions) sought to make sifting through all thevarying recommendations easier, but actually highlighted the complexity and illuminated howdifficult it is to know what information to trust. Oceana’s work to uncover seafood fraud rates inmajor U.S. cities further emphasizes that even when we try to make responsible seafoodchoices, we can sometimes be foiled.Focus on specific products, brands and species rather than the overall sustainable seafoodissue. Upwell saw success in generating social mentions around Safeway’s decision to start2. Norgaard, K. M. Living in Denial. 2011, Kindle Edition, location 1249. 158
  • selling responsibly-caught, FAD-free tuna in the can on its grocery shelves at a low price point.Indeed, familiar, household brands’ actions around sustainable seafood tend to generatesignificant online discussion. McDonalds recently generated a large amount of news coverageand social mentions after it began marketing its decision to serve only MSC-certified seafood.Upwell ran a successful campaign against Livestrong.com when the highly-recognizable brandwas promoting unsustainable shark recipes on its website. Upwell continues to experiment withspecies-specific communications (“eat forage fish!”) to help solutions feel simpler and moreproductive. In each of these instances, people connected and were more vocal because the storywas more focused.Recipes and fluff pieces don’t generate social mentions. No matter how delicious that arcticchar recipe is, it’s not going to get people talking about sustainable seafood online. This type ofcontent can, however, more deeply engage people who are already converted on the issue.OverfishingFocus on actions that are doable and close to home. Like climate change, overfishing is a huge,global problem with largely unseen actors and dauntingly large solutions. People can easily startto feel like the solutions are out of their control. By focusing on doable actions that are close tohome (not in the proximity sense, but in the values sense), you can make people feel that theyhave some level of control over the situation. Individuals then start to feel more willing to usetheir voice to advocate for larger solutions.Sensational stories make headlines. The largest spikes in the bluefin tuna conversation fromthe last year were related to radioactive isotopes being found in bluefin that had crossed thePacific from Japan after the Fukushima disaster, and annual coverage of the record-breakingmillion dollar plus tunas bought at the Tsukiji market opening as PR stunts. These aresensational headlines, and while they cause significant amounts of attention to be paid to thefish, they don’t easily connect with high-quality discussion about overfishing. Efforts to link theradioactive tuna story with overfishing fell flat—it was a stretch, and people online don’t easilyfall prey to such manipulative tactics. However, the pricey tuna did provide an excellent segue totalk about the overfishing of tuna, and the rapid follow-on of the Pacific bluefin stockassessment surfed that wave of attention and drove it toward science-based discussion. Lookfor opportunities to connect substantive conversation with sensational stories, but do itauthentically. Time scientific releases or tie-ins to coincide with or rapidly follow on big newsstories, to take advantage of the increase in attention.Sharks are the quarterback of overfishing, and Shark Week is the Super Bowl of onlineocean conversations. Don’t sleep on Shark Week. Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is by far thebiggest online ocean conversation of the year and has historically lacked much of a conservationcomponent. While Shark Week sensationalism had discouraged many advocates from robustly 159
  • engaging with the television event, Discovery Channel’s growing commitment to conservationprogramming, combined with Shark Week’s unprecedented cultural presence and viewership,represent a not-to-be-missed opportunity to reach new audiences, both on and offline. Ingeneral, audiences are well-informed of shark overfishing and shark finning as a practice, andshark fin bans around the world have capitalized on the public’s love and awe for the animals.Upwell is experimenting with ways to capitalize on the shark finning and shark overfishingconversations to draw attention to other overfishing problems.Marine Protected AreasThe MPA conversation is tiny, in comparison to other ocean conversations. Very few peopletalk about marine protected areas (and marine reserves, marine parks, etc.) on a daily basis.Communicating in this space has a lower potential for creating large spikes in attention, becausethe native attention momentum is lower. Adjust your expectations accordingly, and find ways toconnect this issue with more lively conversations that operate at a higher volume (likeoverfishing or sharks).Our MPA vocabulary is fragmented, awkward and wonky. It makes the conversation hard tomonitor, makes it hard for supporters to find each other online, and creates confusion in thepublic. Much of that language is fossilized in policy, but when you are communicating onlineyou have an opportunity to use metaphor and more familiar language (“underwater parks”) toclarify and reduce barriers to understanding.Share successes. There is growing data to support the assertion that MPAs work to address anarray of ocean problems, from habitat loss to bycatch to overfishing. Certain regions of the world—in particular, Australia—have seen incredible success with designating large areas of oceanunder varying protection levels. Share these success stories as a way to increase attention to theissue and start growing the conversation.Emphasize individual connection to MPAs as public commons to create support. TheAntarctic Ocean Alliance saw significant social media attention to their effort to designatemarine reserves in the Southern Ocean, which utilized a hashtag emphasizing our duty toprotect the commons (“jointhewatch”), and the TerraMar Project is seeing some growingsuccess in their effort to create “citizenship” for the high seas. These projects are experimentingwith ways to increase our personal connection with faraway, unseen swaths of the ocean. Whileit is hard to judge their success at this point, these tactics are promising in that they make actionfeel more doable and close to home. 160
  • Network Map: OceanEvangelists and Ocean VoicesOnlineTo grow the ocean-in-crisis movement as rapidly as possible in the pilot phase, Upwell wentafter the peak hubs of ocean information in order to turn up the volume on the conversation.Malcolm Gladwell echoed this in The Tipping Point: "The success of any kind of social epidemicis heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts."In building Upwell’s Tide Report list and network, we focused on involving one of his three typesof socially gifted people, mavens, or the "people we rely upon to connect us with newinformation” for their affinity for starting "word-of-mouth epidemics.”16For this section, we’ll illustrate snapshots in time of conversations with some specific examples,with illustrated mechanical depictions of relationships.16 The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell, p 19, 33, and 67 161
  • Sustainable SeafoodNodeXL Graph: 242 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained "sustainable seafood", takenfrom a data set limited to a maximum of 1,500 users. The network was obtained on Thursday, 28February 2013 at 20:13 UTC. (Marc Smith,  http:/ /nodexlgraphgallery.org/Pages/Graph.aspx?graphID=3155 )This graph was made in conversation with NodeXL researcher Marc A Smith. The technicaldescription of the work is as follows: “The graph represents a network of 242 Twitter userswhose recent tweets contained ‘sustainable seafood,’ taken from a data set limited to amaximum of 1,500 users. The network was obtained on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 20:13UTC. There is an edge for each follows relationship. There is an edge for each ‘replies-to’relationship in a tweet. There is an edge for each ‘mentions’ relationship in a tweet. There is aself-loop edge for each tweet that is not a ‘replies-to’ or ‘mentions.’ The tweets were made overthe 7-day, 0-hour, 5-minute period from Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 19:55 UTC to Thursday,28 February 2013 at 20:00 UTC.”What this visual allows us to see is that the conversation around the keyword “sustainableseafood” during the seven day period happens both in isolation (G1 in the upper left corner), inisolated small pockets (G6-G12 in the lower right corner) and in four larger discrete clusters 162
  • identified by the algorithms in NodeXL as being distinguishable. This mirrors our conversationmonitoring and campaign experience, showing pockets of dialogue from a Canadian cluster (G3),and diverse language fragmenting the larger NPR series on MSC into distinct clusters in G2, G4and G5.OverfishingNodeXL Graph: 330 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained "overfishing", taken from a dataset limited to a maximum of 1,500 users. The network was obtained on Thursday, 28 February2013 at 20:00 UTC (Marc Smith, http://www.nodexlgraphgallery.org/Pages/Graph.aspx?graphID=3153)This graph was also made in conversation with NodeXL researcher Marc A Smith. The technicaldescription of the work is as follows: “The graph represents a network of 330 Twitter userswhose recent tweets contained ‘overfishing,’ taken from a data set limited to a maximum of1,500 users. The network was obtained on Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 20:00 UTC. There is anedge for each follows relationship. There is an edge for each ‘replies-to’ relationship in a tweet.There is an edge for each ‘mentions’ relationship in a tweet. There is a self-loop edge for eachtweet that is not a ‘replies-to’ or ‘mentions.’ The tweets were made over the 6-day, 23-hour, 36- 163
  • minute period from Thursday, 21 February 2013 at 19:48 UTC to Thursday, 28 February 2013 at19:24 UTC.”In it, we see substantially more isolated tweets on the left (G1), and about the same number ofvery small conversations in  the lower right (G9-G11). Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s campaignagainst over-fishing shows up in many of the clusters, as audiences react to the criticism in theGuardian UK. The breakdown of common topics in the groups is as follows: • G2: More strongly about coral reefs • G3: More strongly about the EU and bycatch • G4: More strongly about sharks • G5: Mapping, bycatch and the EU • G6: Bycatch and sharks • G7: General conversationThe diversity of overfishing sub-topics even within clusters of conversation would seem tosupport Upwell’s opportunistic strategy to engaging with conversations online. The languageused is indicative of many overfishing subtopics, and a broad audience is ready to be mobilizedfor change. 164
  • UpwellNodeXL Graph: Represents a network of 59 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained "upwell",taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 1,500 users. The network was obtained onThursday, 28 February 2013 at 19:50 UTC. (Mark Smith, http://www.nodexlgraphgallery.org/Pages/Graph.aspx?graphID=3151)This graph was also made in conversation with NodeXL researcher Marc A Smith. “The graphrepresents a network of 59 Twitter users whose recent tweets contained ‘upwell’, taken from adata set limited to a maximum of 1,500 users. The network was obtained on Thursday, 28February 2013 at 19:50 UTC. There is an edge for each follows relationship. There is an edge foreach ‘replies-to’ relationship in a tweet. There is an edge for each ‘mentions’ relationship in atweet. There is a self-loop edge for each tweet that is not a ‘replies-to’ or ‘mentions.’ The tweetswere made over the 6-day, 19-hour, 19-minute period from Friday, 22 February 2013 at 00:29UTC to Thursday, 28 February 2013 at 19:48 UTC.”What’s notable about this graph, in addition to the lower volume of conversation, is that at thisscale the social groupings seem to be more easily discerned, with our immediate brand networkin G2, and second-hop our networks in G3 and G4. 165