5 social media predictions for energy and climate in 2022

Get our hottest takes on energy influencers, online communities, Twitter missteps and more.

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Canary Media’s Friday Social column explores the intersection of energy, climate and social media. Canary thanks Silverline Communications for its support of the column.

Inspired by Julian Spector’s perfect predictions, I thought I’d try my hand at a 2022 forecast on social media for the energy and climate space. I know, Friday Social already featured predictions from The Sunion, but this is different! That was satire. This is in earnest, mostly.

1. #energytwitter makes a faux pas

I’ve written before about how #energytwitter is the best Twitter. I still believe that’s true, but we’re only human behind these screens, and mistakes will be made at some point. My prediction for this year is that one of two things will happen: Either a corporate account from the climate and energy sector makes a bad judgment and goes viral in regrettable fashion (see a recent example from the libation sector perpetrated by Pabst Blue Ribbon), or a prominent individual from #energytwitter becomes Twitter’s main character of the day.”

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As one tweeter famously put it, Each day on Twitter there is one main character. The goal is to never be it.” It typically starts with a bad take on Twitter that goes viral, and soon thereafter, the entirety of Twitter is poking fun at the person and their very wrong opinion. If you need an example, you can read about the first Main Character of 2021, Bean Dad.”

2. Online communities proliferate

I’ve written a fair bit about online communities here at Friday Social, including the Electrify Everything Facebook group run by Nate the House Whisperer, the DER Task Force pushing for distributed energy, and the vibrant communities discussing clean energy on Reddit.

The climate conversation is becoming more embedded in our everyday lives, and the climatetech sector is continuing to grow. Add in the fact that prominent community-driven platforms Reddit and Discord are both planning to IPO this year, and you’ve got a perfect storm likely to whip up even more community activity in the space.

3. Solar gets its first real influencer

Did you know that the nuclear industry has an influencer? Grist has a profile of Isodope, the Brazilian model turned nuclear influencer.

As far as I know, there isn’t yet a prominent renewable-energy-focused influencer. As solar is the energy source that people have the most personal connection with (what other generation technology are you likely to have on your roof?), that’s my pick for the focus of the first popular renewables influencer.

4. Clubhouse is dead. Long live Twitter Spaces.

Last winter, as most of us were cooped up waiting patiently for vaccine eligibility, the social audio platform Clubhouse was the talk of the internet. Canary got caught up in the excitement and hosted a number of engaging conversations there; however, we found that the traffic quickly stagnated.

In 2022, I’m more bullish on Twitter Spaces, which is Twitter’s take on social audio. For those of us who are very active on Twitter, we use it in a different way than we do many other apps. On desktop, it’s an almost-always-open tab on our browsers. With Spaces, we can easily be notified of a live conversation and hop in to listen or even participate.

Plus, Twitter recently introduced the ability to listen to recorded conversations on Spaces, which could merge the concepts of social audio and podcasts. To its credit, Clubhouse was first to roll out the feature, but ultimately my 2022 prediction is that more folks will flock to Twitter for live audio, particularly those of us already on #energytwitter.

5. Gen Z takes the wheel

Today, the top apps being used by Gen Z are Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, according to data from eMarketer.

Video, and more specifically video creation, is a core component of these three most-used platforms.

Stephanie Primavera, Canary’s director of audience development, had this to say on the topic:

We’ll see a lot more viral trends and challenges around climate change from Gen Z. They’ve caught a vibe for climate activism. They are taking a keen interest in clean energy solutions, not just the doom and gloom of catastrophe. Their content is fun, engaging and — most importantly — empowering.

Scientist and science communicator Alaina Wood, also known as The Garbage Queen, is a great example of a member of Gen Z promoting positive climate stories on social media.

I’m going to close this out with one of my favorite songs of 2021 from Gen Z creator Alex Engelberg. Enjoy.

What are your predictions for 2022? Comment below or message us on Twitter.

Silverline Communications, the supporter of this column, is a climatetech and ESG communications firm with deep experience in all facets of the clean economy. Learn more about how Silverline connects clients with stakeholders on social channels and beyond.

Mike Munsell is director of growth at Canary Media.