What does #earthhour mean to the average netizen?

Funny question, you opine. I ask it because this event does not seem to have cracked the code as a topic that gets netizens going crazy on Twitter. How I know this? TopsyLabs‘ social analytics tool indicates that 2012 Earth Hour peaked at just over 130 000 tweets last night.

Earth Hour Tweeting Graph

Only that many tweets, for a global cause meant to contribute towards saving our PLANET?

Ok, lets compare 2012 Earth Hour’s tweeting traffic with the 2 most recent events:

  • Madonna’s 5-minute, halftime performance at The 2012 Super Bowl on February 5 generated an average of 8000 tweets per second (TPS). That amounts to 2,4 million tweets! Notice that I am not talking about the tweeting frenzy during the main event itself, which set a new record for 2012.
  • In the first hour after the death of Whitney Houston was announced, 2,5 million tweets were recorded by TopsyLabs.

These two events make #earthhour seem like a non-event.

A further observation I made is that the bulk of tweeting activity was driven from top down, and not bottom up. This is evidenced by the Top 5 Users Share of Voice by TweetLevel:

  1. earthhour
  2. wwf
  3. world_wildlife
  4. wwf_australia
  5. nrdc

See the point of my question?

Is average Joe even interested in social causes like these? Well, we know they are, if the Kony 2012 social campaign is anything to go by. I shall refrain from the raging controversy surrounding this latest runaway online video success, and just focus on the cold numbers – over 86 million views and 1,3 million LIKES achieved in just under a month –  as captured on Youtube.

What all this says is that WWF, the organization behind the #earthhour initiative, must not lose heart. Despite relatively low tweeting traffic, @OficialKimora and @yokoono (with a combined 3 million followers between them) were in the top 20 most influential #earthhour Twitterers according to TweetLevel. Hoping the size of celebrities will grow in 2013, as this will give this initiative a bigger reach.

There is also a need to learn a trick or two from TPS benchmarks, and Mashable has put together a list of 15 most recent best cases. Looking forward to a better performance next time.

I welcome your thoughts and observations on #earthhour’s tweeting activity.



  • Nuffdotty – where thoughts on the subject of education, mostly relating to South Africa, are shared
  • Diski4Life – a blog about development of South African soccer post World Cup 2010



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