Climate Change Activist Captivates Twitter (Briefly)

Greta Thunberg is a teenage Swedish climate change activist who spoke at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23rd about the ongoing environmental crisis. Her frustrations towards the lack of action to reverse climate change immediately circulated the internet, due to the content, and the level of sophistication  delivered by a woman of her age. In order to analyze this trending topic further, our Boolean entry was: ( “greta thunberg” )  AND ( “climate” OR “activist” OR “speech” OR “#climatestrike” OR “UN” ) AND NOT ( “fox news” ). 


This video tweeted out by CNN of Greta speaking received over 80,000 retweets and 250,000 likes on Twitter. The mass engagement with the video displays the viral interest in this trending topic. 

Looking at the latest activity, you can see the spike of interest in this topic during the first 24 hours of its release, followed by a gradual decrease as focus shifted towards other topics. This shows how quickly trending topics change based on new stories, regardless of how impactful or important the story starts out.

The word cloud shows us that social media built Greta a strong presence, and portrays her as an activist for climate change. This word cloud shows how social media can distribute credibility to people when they become a public figure on the internet. 

This graph further demonstrates how Greta Thunburgs name is heavily tied to climate and activism. The stronger ties are information you would likely know about Greta without hearing her speech, while the weaker ties are more recognizable if you had heard the speech. 

It is understandable why this trending topic is the most apparent in United States because she gave her speech at the UN Summit in New York. It likely had international reach because climate change is a global issue and reaches beyond the US.

Catie Bradshaw and Emily Lundin

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