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Climate Hustle

Our Facebook page reaches 20,000 likes

Posted on 24 February 2014 by Anne-Marie Blackburn

Our Facebook page reached 20,000 likes a couple of days ago, and an additional 150-200 people are liking our page each day. This rate has increased considerably in recent weeks and months, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Graphic of 20000 likes

Figure 1 - Total number of likes on our Facebook page from August 2011 to February 2014

Graphic of 20000 likesOne possible reason is the remarkable work produced in 2013 by Skeptical Science contributors. We published four high-impact papers in the scientific literature, including the Cook et al. consensus paper which was the 11th most talked about academic paper in 2013 and was even mentioned twice by Barack Obama on his Twitter account. The heat widget, developed by Bob Lacatena, also received a lot of attention at the end of 2013, and at the last count has been seen by more than 2 million people and is currently displayed on more than 100 blogs in 22 countries. This, together with the Cowtan and Way paper and articles tackling the persistent and omni-present pause myth, have ensured that Skeptical Science has remained a key player in the climate change debate. This is quite an achievement for a group of volunteers who have been thrown together as a result of their concern about climate change and their desire to do something about it.

There are a number of people to thank for the success of our Facebook page. John Hartz is second to none when it comes to unearthing the best articles on the scientific, socio-economic and political aspects of climate change. The fact that he chooses articles from a variety of sources, in different countries, exposes us to different perspectives and allows us to build a comprehensive picture of the scale of the problem facing us. Bärbel Winkler diligently reposts every article published on the main website, increasing the visibility of the main site and ensuring our Facebook page is firmly linked to the work of Skeptical Science authors. Ari Jokimäki, on the other hand, provides regular updates on the latest research relating to climate change. This is a great way to keep up-to-date with articles we may otherwise have missed. And of course our moderators, including Daniel Bailey, John Hartz and Harry Wiggleson, make sure that discussions remain both on topic and civil, which is not always an easy task.

Of course, like any other social networking site, contributors remain key to retaining a framework that allows engagement, discussion and support. We really could not do it without the input from our community members, who not only respond to the posts from Skeptical Science members, but also provide additional articles and points of discussion to keep our page a friendly and busy one. For instance, the recent UK floods have provided a platform from which to investigate a number of issues, such as the need to improve science education and for scientists to think about the language they use, and providing links to literature analysing the occurrence of extreme weather events worldwide. So this is a big thank you from us all for helping us extend our reach and for making our Facebook page a great resource.

2014 is already proving to be a busy year, and Skeptical Science is going from strength to strength. Our Facebook page is part of the ongoing effort to raise awareness and tackle misinformation. We hope to see more of you there in the future.

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. It even looks like a Hockey Stick, congratualtions!

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  2. Even though I liked SkS some 2y ago, I don't like the presentation on figure 1. The baseline is at some random number ~4000. As such it suggests the growth rate of "likes" stronger than in the reality. It would be far cleaner and better balanced if its baseline was simply at 0. If you want to show the exponential acceleration of the trend in last two years, show the full history, from 0 likes at time of SkS facebook creation. I'd be interested in such a fuull graph.

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  3. rocketeer - thanks. I'd initally made a reference to the hockey stick but removed it at the last minute. Never mind :)

    chriszov, unfortunately the data from Facebook only go back to August 2011 so there was nothing I could do. The acceleration really started around September 2013, which you can glean from figure 1.

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  4. ... and how do you explain the pause before September 2013 ;-)

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  5. Congrats, SkS!  I was an early reader of this site and have recommended it to others.  The site came around the time the blogosphere was becoming a common source of science denial and communication of climate science to the public was relatively sparse.  It still is in my view but SkS goes a long way in closing the gap.

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  6. I came upon this site by accident. I was exploring the issue of climate change and happened to have it come up in one of my searches. I thought, "Well, I might as well have a look at what the skeptics have to say on the matter" and was very pleased to find within a minute or so that it was what I was actually looking for in the first place. I still have doubts about the name, even though I can see the logic behind it.

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