Accepted Paper:

COP21 and Koko the Gorilla: how do YouTube and Twitter shape topical issue spaces?  


Warren Pearce (University of Sheffield)
Nicolas Baya-Laffite (University of Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

Using the case of COP21, we show how social media platforms effect issue presentation and issue exploration. We use the example of Koko the Gorilla to demonstrate dynamics of issue climatisation and issue drift, and consider how the curation practices of users and algorithms shape these phenomena.

Paper long abstract:

COP21 provided an important communication opportunity for NGOs to gain attention for certain issues by strategically cross-framing them with climate change; a process known as 'issue climatisation' (Aykut, Foyer and Morena, forthcoming). Online platforms provide space for climatisation dynamics to unfold. We illustrate these dynamics on Twitter and YouTube, and how they co-exist with separate platform effects of issue drift, using the case of Koko the Gorilla. We show the contrasting effects on hashtag content of user-curation and algorithmic-curation across different platforms. We conclude by considering a potential intervention to counter unwelcome and concealed platform effects on issue exploration.

Panel T032
Science Communication