City’s Dr Andrea Baronchelli is part of a group of researchers monitoring Twitter conversations about the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference.
Dr Andrea Baronchelli, a Reader in Mathematics in the School of Science and Technology (SST) is the coordinator of a team of computational social scientists, physicists and climate scientists based in the UK and Italy, who are tracking Twitter discussions around COP26 via the cop26buzz.live website.
The cop26buzz.live dashboard tracks the discussion around COP26 on Twitter, both historically and live during the conference, with data updated every hour and demonstrates which Twitter users are most prominent in the COP26 discussion, live trends during the conference, the communities formed by Twitter users based on their COP26 interactions, and the terms most often associated with specific groups in the network.
Though COP26 has received widespread coverage in the media, it is not always clear which individuals and groups are most influential in the COP26 discussion, and how information flows between those groups.
By tracking the full discussion on Twitter related to COP26, Dr Baronchelli and colleagues, including postdoctoral researcher, Max Falkenburg, have discovered the following:
- The COP26 discussion is dominated by a core network which includes many of the most prominent voices on climate change. Among these are several world leaders, climate activists and NGOs. Away from the main cluster, there are a number of interesting discussions which are not part of the main discussion. Among these are groups engaged in climate scepticism and Net Zero scepticism, groups with specific regional or national interests, and a number of non-English language groups;
- Tracking the most influential users over time, the dashboard demonstrates that most influential Twitter accounts include several UK politicians including Boris Johnson, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas and others. Additionally, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family were particularly prominent on the opening weekend. However, over the past week, the discussion on COP26 has moved away from UK based figures, with climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, taking over the most prominent roles in the COP26 discussion as illustrated below;
- Apart from the top influencers who are well known, live tracking also highlights the influential role of some unsuspecting Twitter accounts. These include prominent comedians and Twitter parody accounts, influential climate sceptics and politicians, and well-known celebrities such as Leonardo Di Caprio and korean K-Pop groups. A number of accounts, including politicians, are also visible who are known to engage with climate scepticism and net zero scepticism;
- The trend tracker, which highlights the most prominent topics discussed in relation to COP26 on an hourly basis, illustrates how the most prominent topics are often surprising and unexpected. Some hashtags such as #ClimateChange or #ClimateJustice are unsurprising and to be expected. However, others such as #Klimalaya highlight specific issues in specific countries. Finally, specific daily events such as #FridaysForFuture and #WorldClimateMarch are also highlighted by the site's high resolution data.
The full feature list includes the following:
- The top COP26 influencers over the last 72 hours;
- The top COP26 trends in the last 72 hours;
- Live and historical retweet networks showing which twitter accounts are engaging with each other in the discussion around COP26;
- The historical communities formed by users in the COP26 discussion;
- The terms most associated with opposed ideological groups in the COP26 network;
- The geographical distribution of accounts engaged in the COP26 discussion;
- The structure of engagements historically around individual influential users.
The cop26buzz.live dashboard will continue to run through to the end of COP26 and beyond, with data updated every hour. With the most influential accounts and trends changing on a regular basis, our platform is the ideal tool to keep track of the discussion around COP26.