While I was in the hospital for surgery, Climate Progress passed a real milestone: 50,000 total followers on Twitter and Facebook.
Social media aren’t just a convenient way for you to keep up with CP or share content with your friends. They are our most rapidly growing sources of traffic, and the core reason Climate Progress had its best year yet in 2012. Overall, traffic is up 30% to 50% on most days.
Social media are particularly effective at disseminating headlines, which are the most important part of any blog post, as I discuss in my book Language Intelligence.
The traffic of WattsUpWithThat, like ever other major denial site, has been flat or declining since Copenhagen (check it out at quantcast.com). A large part of the reason is that the disinformers’ social media efforts are flops, especially compared to climate hawks, as I wrote in January.
For instance, two months ago, CP had 36,900 followers on Twitter (subscribe here). I compared that to the self-proclaimed “world’s most viewed climate website” (not!) WattsUpWithThat, with its astounding 6,130 followers.
So what happened after Watts launched a big effort to boost his social media following? WUWT is at a slightly more astounding 6,430 followers. CP is at 40,700. Yes, we added over 10 times as many. I guess WUWT is not the most viewed via social media.
I don’t think that is an accident. The Internet was made possible by scientists, with a little help from Al Gore. More importantly, science is inherently a social enterprise — whereas denial, being anti-science, is in some sense an anti-social activity whose goal is to stop society from listening to the scientific community about the ever-growing risks to society posed by unrestricted emissions of carbon pollution.
Science is an inherently fascinating voyage of discovery in which people build on each others’ work toward a better and better understanding of life and the world around us. As Newton wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
For deniers, who are on an inherently monotonous treadmill of anti-truth, misunderstanding, and disinformation that builds only toward nihilism, the quote might be, “If I have seen nothing, it is by standing with my head in the ground” (or maybe, “… it is by standing on my own shoulders”).