Hania Powell is a Sophomore at Rollins College. She is currently interning with Olytico as part of the CAPA study abroad programme.
From plays and poetry slams to drag shows and parades, the weekend of June 26th – 28th 2015 saw a whirlwind of rainbow activity with the arrival of the Dublin Pride festival. The event officially spanned from June 19th to 28th, but the majority of festivities happened on the last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the month. Being a member of the gay community myself, I was understandably excited about the occasion; part of my decision to study abroad and intern in Ireland for the summer was motivated by the incredible pace at which progress is being made toward equal rights for the LGBTQ population. While in 1992 the parade was only a few hundred people, this year tens of thousands were predicted to come out (no pun intended) to celebrate the occasion; and sure enough, upwards of 50,000 people populated the streets on Saturday in a bustling, glitter-strewn crowd. This vast number of attendees was reflected in social media response to the occasion, not only during the parade, but throughout the weekend and at the events preceding it. At Olytico, we monitored hashtags like #DublinPride and social media activity around the event to understand how Ireland discussed and felt about this year’s festivities.
We tracked social media activity around the event from Thursday, June 25th , to Monday, June 29th. Saturday was Dublin’s official Pride Day. However, by Thursday, the conversation was already in full swing, and the excitement was palpable throughout Twitter. Over five days, Olytico analysed 12,113 tweets, published by a total of 6,855 accounts. Collectively, the tweets generated over 51.7 million potential impressions.
Tracking the event
For our analysis of Dublin Pride, we tracked a total of 13 specific tags, handles, and terms, including #DublinPride, #TheFutureIsEqual (this year’s theme), and phrases such as “Dublin Pride” and “Dublin LBTQ Pride.” Because Pride is an international celebration, we had to be wary of mixing in social media response to other events going on around the world. To name only a few, the weekend of Dublin Pride coincided with similar events in cities such as London, Barcelona, New York City, and Paris. To avoid factoring in response to these other festivals, we excluded tags that weren’t Dublin-specific from our analysis. However, #Pride2015 (1,379 tweets) and #Pride (935) still both featured in our top hashtags, coming in at second and third. This was due to the frequency that they were mentioned alongside a hashtag we did specifically track, #DublinPride (6,557), which took first place.
Other top tags, and international camaraderie
A spirit of support and international solidarity was clearly visible in the top 25 hashtags: the popularity of #LoveWins (829 tweets) and #YesEquality (214 tweets) were not only in reference to the marriage referendum in Ireland, but to the the June 26th supreme court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states in the U.S. Dublin Pride was frequently mentioned alongside celebrations going on in other cities (especially London), as reflected in the wide use of hashtags such as #Londonpride (96), #PrideinLondon (84),#PrideLDNParade (84), and #MilanoPride (56). One of the most widely viewed tweets in this category was from Amnesty International in Northern Ireland, with 55,242 impressions.
Perhaps one of the most bittersweet trends from the weekend were statements of sympathy and solidarity with #IstanbulPride, which happened on the same weekend as Dublin’s celebrations, but met with violent police obstruction and brutality. A tweet from the official event page of Dublin Pride topped the list with 180,787 impressions, and quite a few other Dublin Pride attendees and Twitter users echoed the heartfelt sentiment.
The importance of top contributors
The tweet with the highest exposure came from Rebecca Bengal, who shared portraits taken by Dublin-based photographer Kenneth O’Halloran for Vogue. Rebecca’s tweet generated a total of 6,509,545 impressions. This was due to the post being retweeted by the magazine’s official Twitter account, which boasts an impressive 6.51 million followers.
The majority of other top contributors were composed of radio stations and other news sources, including France 24 (3,319,263 impressions), the Irish Times (2,399,457),TheJournal.ie (2,353,539), The ABS-CBN News Channel (2,214,041), and SPIN 1038(1,568,289) among many others.
Celebrating history with the most tweeted url
On Friday morning, before the main events began, RTÉ shared a link to an articlefrom their archives, featuring a clip from an RTÉ News report broadcasting the 1992 Dublin Gay Pride Parade. In just 23 short years, the festival has exploded in size, diversity, and support. The clip is a testament to the amazing progress made by the LGBTQ community of Ireland — and Twitter users responded with due pride and enthusiasm, resulting in a total of 94 tweets and 201,336 impressions – making it the most shared url in our analysis.
Overall most retweets
The most popular tweet by far from this year’s celebration came from Irish musician Hozier, with 830 retweets and 1,337,041 impressions and counting. On top of this number, 32 people replied personally to Hozier’s tweet, all thanking him for his support and affirming how much his words meant to gay, bisexual, transgender and allied fans alike. A genuine tweet from a celebrity with a significant following can reach, touch, and inspire an incredible amount of people.
What did people tweet?
The word cloud contains the Top 100 terms found in the 12,113 tweets analysed. The larger the word, the more often it appeared. Some of the key findings included:
Positivity surrounding the event is clear — with words such as happy (2,018 tweets), love(1,172), amazing (1,060), celebrate (779), and great(586) appearing prominently.
In addition to popular hashtags – #lovewins, #dublinpride, and #pride2015 – several high prifle Twitter handles also appear in the Top 100 terms including: Hozier (820 tweets)Senator Katherine Zappone (191), PantiBliss (169), Leo Varadker and Una Mulally (both 120).
Together with Twitter, Instagram allowed festival-goers and supporters of the occasion to share their thoughts and experiences with the world, in the form of photographs and videos. Olytico analysed the official hashtag, #DublinPride, to look at the numbers behind the images.
Like Twitter, the daily volume peaked on Saturday but continued to experience activity throughout Sunday and Monday as people went back through their photographs and videos and applied filters.
#DublinPride – 2,358 posts
Impressions: 1.6 million
1,303 unique publishers.
Most popular photographer – Leanne Woodfull (4 photographs generated a collective 4,757 likes)
The incredible Twitter and Instagram response to this year’s Dublin Pride celebration has proven that now more than ever, the LGBTQ community and beyond are using social media to come together in solidarity, celebration, and support. Pride was originally created to commemorate and immortalize a pivotal moment in LGBTQ history — but history is not static. History is happening at this very moment, and we document it with every post; every video; every photo; every tweet. With the awesome strides that have been made these past months toward equal rights for everyone in the LGBTQ community, and with the awesome strides that continue to be made every day both in Ireland and internationally, social media helps to document history as it was always meant to: moment by moment. We at Olytico are working to keep our finger on the pulse of where these strides are being documented and celebrated.