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Combining network structures and meanings:

Tweeting over the IPCC report
Iina Hellsten

Kim Holmberg

VU University Amsterdam
Dept. Organization Sciences
Affiliated The Network Institute
(e) i.r.hellsten@vu.nl

VU University Amsterdam
Dept. Organization Sciences
(e) kim.holmberg@abo.fi

Sunbelt, St Pete Beach, Florida, February 2014
Background
In September 2013 the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published
its 5th Assessment report, the first
comprehensive assessment of physical
climate science in six years, constituting a
critical event in the societal debate about
climate change. This research investigates
the content of that debate on Twitter.
Research Questions:
1) What kind of topics and meanings integrate
the (structural) communities?
2) What kind of topics and meanings
differentiate the (structural) communities?
Data
Tweets containing the acronym “IPCC” were
collected between September 17 and October
8, 2013 (with http://lexiurl.wlv.ac.uk/)
Users stance (convinced, neutral, sceptic) in
climate change debate coded by Pearce et al.
(under review)

The content of these users’ tweets as data
Climate change on Twitter: topics, communities
and conversations about the IPCC
Pearce, Holmberg, Hellsten & Nerlich (under review).

239 usernames
coded according to
their stance in the
climate change
debate as convinced,
neutral, sceptics
Methods
Semantic networks of each group: 110 most
frequently used noun phrases in the tweets
(extracted with VOSviewer)
Projected the maps for each group on to a
base map, which showed the comprehensive
situation (visualization with Gephi)
Example tweets
This is fraud. This is IPCC fraud. Why
have the AR4 projections mysteriously
disappeared or been changed?
http://t.co/5liqycDmt7

#IPCC in #AR5: "Most aspects of
#climate change will persist for
many centuries even if emissions of
#CO2 stopped"

Climate Models Used By IPCC Fail To
Reproduce Decadal & Multidecadal
Patterns Since 1850 @*…+
http://t.co/n4drUNCF1d

@IPCC_CH: Information about the
#IPCC and how it produces reports
http://t.co/pT6N5t4xQ1 #AR5
#climatechange

#Globalwarming is real and human
beings are responsible: #IPCC
http://t.co/lhnsXZBtXg #nature
#world #environment #mot…
Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups

Base map: All
Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups

Skeptics
Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups

Convinced
Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups

Neutrals
Results
Significant overlap
between the noun
phrases used by
each group

sceptic convinced neutral
sceptic

1.000

convinced

0.686

1.000

neutral

0.703

0.918

1.000

Table 1. Pearson r for the similarities between
the noun phrases used in each group
Table 2. Top 20 noun phrases (shared highlighted)
Sceptic
ipcc report
science
scientist
report
global warming
year
model
warming
models wrong
co2
progress
climate change
earth
fact
poverty servitude
ipcc ar5 report
time
climate
data
humanity

n
103
86
68
66
60
55
43
41
40
39
38
35
35
35
35
33
31
30
30
30

Convinced
report
ipcc report
climate change
scientist
science
world
climate
change
global warming
new ipcc report
action
twitter chat
today
government
time
stockholm
year
summary
ipcc climate report
risk

n
299
286
219
132
91
85
84
80
79
77
65
63
62
61
58
54
53
53
49
43

Neutral
ipcc report
report
climate change
summary
scientist
new ipcc report
science
year
blog
tweet
stockholm
climate
today
policymaker
friday
global warming
comment
question
week
reaction

n
91
81
46
33
32
25
20
20
19
19
17
16
16
16
15
13
13
13
12
12
Discussion 1(2)
Shared set of words and phrases:
1) general words related to the event (IPCC report,
climate change, global warming, science, scientists)
2) general targeted audiences (policy making)
Discussion 2(2)
Unique set of words and phrases:
1) opposing views on anthropogenic climate change
Sceptics: shame and crime
Convinced: emission, fossil fuels and scenarios

2) different sub-topics
Sceptics: poverty, humanity, model
Convinced: government, public opinion, news, climate
system

3) naming each other
Sceptics: alarmists
Convinced: denier
Conclusions
Opposing positions in the debate on anthropogenic
impact on climate change (different words/phrases
used to refer to same event)
Shared words:
Between communities: General focus, integration
Within communities: Different interpretations,
meanings, focus

Unique words:
Between communities: Differentiation
Within communities: Integration
Thank you for your attention

Kim Holmberg
VU University Amsterdam
Dept. Organization Sciences
(e) kim.holmberg@abo.fi

Acknowledgements
Funding: NWO Open Research Area (ORA) project ”Climate
Change as a complex social issue”, grant number 464-10-077

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Combining network structures and meanings: Tweeting over the IPCC report

  • 1. Combining network structures and meanings: Tweeting over the IPCC report Iina Hellsten Kim Holmberg VU University Amsterdam Dept. Organization Sciences Affiliated The Network Institute (e) i.r.hellsten@vu.nl VU University Amsterdam Dept. Organization Sciences (e) kim.holmberg@abo.fi Sunbelt, St Pete Beach, Florida, February 2014
  • 2. Background In September 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its 5th Assessment report, the first comprehensive assessment of physical climate science in six years, constituting a critical event in the societal debate about climate change. This research investigates the content of that debate on Twitter.
  • 3. Research Questions: 1) What kind of topics and meanings integrate the (structural) communities? 2) What kind of topics and meanings differentiate the (structural) communities?
  • 4. Data Tweets containing the acronym “IPCC” were collected between September 17 and October 8, 2013 (with http://lexiurl.wlv.ac.uk/) Users stance (convinced, neutral, sceptic) in climate change debate coded by Pearce et al. (under review) The content of these users’ tweets as data
  • 5. Climate change on Twitter: topics, communities and conversations about the IPCC Pearce, Holmberg, Hellsten & Nerlich (under review). 239 usernames coded according to their stance in the climate change debate as convinced, neutral, sceptics
  • 6. Methods Semantic networks of each group: 110 most frequently used noun phrases in the tweets (extracted with VOSviewer) Projected the maps for each group on to a base map, which showed the comprehensive situation (visualization with Gephi)
  • 7. Example tweets This is fraud. This is IPCC fraud. Why have the AR4 projections mysteriously disappeared or been changed? http://t.co/5liqycDmt7 #IPCC in #AR5: "Most aspects of #climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of #CO2 stopped" Climate Models Used By IPCC Fail To Reproduce Decadal & Multidecadal Patterns Since 1850 @*…+ http://t.co/n4drUNCF1d @IPCC_CH: Information about the #IPCC and how it produces reports http://t.co/pT6N5t4xQ1 #AR5 #climatechange #Globalwarming is real and human beings are responsible: #IPCC http://t.co/lhnsXZBtXg #nature #world #environment #mot…
  • 8. Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups Base map: All
  • 9. Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups Skeptics
  • 10. Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups Convinced
  • 11. Analyzing content of the IPCC tweets by tweeter groups Neutrals
  • 12. Results Significant overlap between the noun phrases used by each group sceptic convinced neutral sceptic 1.000 convinced 0.686 1.000 neutral 0.703 0.918 1.000 Table 1. Pearson r for the similarities between the noun phrases used in each group
  • 13. Table 2. Top 20 noun phrases (shared highlighted) Sceptic ipcc report science scientist report global warming year model warming models wrong co2 progress climate change earth fact poverty servitude ipcc ar5 report time climate data humanity n 103 86 68 66 60 55 43 41 40 39 38 35 35 35 35 33 31 30 30 30 Convinced report ipcc report climate change scientist science world climate change global warming new ipcc report action twitter chat today government time stockholm year summary ipcc climate report risk n 299 286 219 132 91 85 84 80 79 77 65 63 62 61 58 54 53 53 49 43 Neutral ipcc report report climate change summary scientist new ipcc report science year blog tweet stockholm climate today policymaker friday global warming comment question week reaction n 91 81 46 33 32 25 20 20 19 19 17 16 16 16 15 13 13 13 12 12
  • 14. Discussion 1(2) Shared set of words and phrases: 1) general words related to the event (IPCC report, climate change, global warming, science, scientists) 2) general targeted audiences (policy making)
  • 15. Discussion 2(2) Unique set of words and phrases: 1) opposing views on anthropogenic climate change Sceptics: shame and crime Convinced: emission, fossil fuels and scenarios 2) different sub-topics Sceptics: poverty, humanity, model Convinced: government, public opinion, news, climate system 3) naming each other Sceptics: alarmists Convinced: denier
  • 16. Conclusions Opposing positions in the debate on anthropogenic impact on climate change (different words/phrases used to refer to same event) Shared words: Between communities: General focus, integration Within communities: Different interpretations, meanings, focus Unique words: Between communities: Differentiation Within communities: Integration
  • 17. Thank you for your attention Kim Holmberg VU University Amsterdam Dept. Organization Sciences (e) kim.holmberg@abo.fi Acknowledgements Funding: NWO Open Research Area (ORA) project ”Climate Change as a complex social issue”, grant number 464-10-077