Earlier this week, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Paris, France. More commonly known as COP21, it’s a conference that brings the world’s leading nations together to discuss climate change across the globe, and more importantly, what can can be done about it.
To coincide with these talks in Paris, a coalition of groups launched a campaign, that was also positioned as a gift to the Pope, in hopes of attracting worldwide attention by illuminating St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City with images of the world that needs saving. Dubbed “Fiat Lux: Illuminating Our Common Home,” (for those that don’t speak Latin, this translates to “Let There Be Light.”) an estimated 1.5 million people came to The Vatican to witness the event.
Where we come in: Sysomos was tapped to work with Vulcan, one of the members of the coalition that helped bring this project to life, to track the online conversation surrounding this event. What we found was really quite astounding.
Using a variety of our social intelligence tools, we first looked at conversations happening around Fiat Lux by tracking the hashtags being shared around the campaign: #FiatLux, #OurCommonHome, #Nuestracasacomún, #CasaComune, #NotreMaisonCommune, and a few others. Because the main driver of the campaign was beautiful images, we weren’t too surprised that beautiful images were the main driver of conversation online.
Since the campaign, which took place on Tuesday night in Rome, we counted a collective number of mentions in 89 blog posts, 422 online news articles, 6 forum postings, and 11,368 tweets using Sysomos MAP.
But since the campaign was based around imagery, we also took to one of our new offerings, Sysomos Gaze, to track images specifically. Looking for the hashtags above, we found that 956 of the original tweets (meaning we did not include retweets) contained an image associated with the #OurCommonHome campaign.
Meanwhile on Instagram, the network made specifically for sharing imagery, we also found 1,121 pictures and videos had been shared that contained one or more of the campaign’s hashtags.
While these may not necessarily seem like huge numbers, we determined the reach was far greater: those 11,368 tweets (which did include retweets) reached 87.8 million people worldwide.
When we looked to see where #OurCommonHome tweets were coming from, we found that despite the fact that the event took place in the not-so-large Vatican City, people from around the globe were talking about it. From Italy (which made up 25.5% of the global conversation) to Australia (25.8%), all the way to the United States (23.5%).
To really put that into perspective, the following heat map shows where tweets around the globe originated from.
Sysomos Gaze gives us the ability to track images by geotagging as well, so we were able to continue exploring where many of those images actually came from directly within St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
In the world of Twitter: unfortunately geotagged tweets are not popular yet, so we were only able to locate one tweeted image actually geotagged as being taken at The Vatican.
On Instagram, people seemed to be more inclined to geotagging their photos, as we found 458 images tagged as coming directly from The Vatican. To be fair, from looking at all of these images, we could see that many were taken from directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, but it just doesn’t seem that people are that eager to geotag their social media posts at this point in time).
On Facebook, we leveraged another one of Sysomos’ new tools, Sysomos Scout, to check out campaign traction across the world’s largest social network. Again we found that the campaign had global coverage. Over 45,700 different people from around the world had posted something to Facebook about #OurCommonHome, resulting in approx. 60,000 interactions around those posts.
On Facebook though, the spread of the campaign happened a little differently. Instead of images driving conversations, links were being shared more. These included URLs for the Fiat Lux homepage, but also to blogs and articles that aggregated images from the event for all to see, such as this one.
While a large contingent of people were resharing other people’s posts, links, and images on Facebook to their own networks, the same was true for Twitter. Since only a limited number of tweets originated from Italy directly, we found that 77% of tweets sent around the #OurCommonHome campaign were actually retweets, meaning that even though people couldn’t necessarily have been there in person to witness the event, they were more than happy to support the campaign by retweeting the original images out to their own networks.
With climate change affecting everyone around the world, it was great to see that a campaign that took place in an area as small as Vatican City managed to grab the attention of and inspire people around the world – aligning us all to support a common cause. After all, this planet really is #OurCommonHome.