Euroscepticism and Social Media
During the last months I’ve been monitoring the web looking for hints about the euroscepticist wave that is surrounding our old continent. I have to admit that it has been a hopeless exercise since I am a convinced europeist that has had to refrain it in order to keep neutral (at the end of the day, I’m a researcher and a social scientist).
For the three months of the second quarted (April to June 2013) I managed to retrieve 171,875 documents from 112,030 different sources or influencers. A document is whichever website page, Twitter twit, blog post, Facebook entry, etc., while the influencers are the users, media outlets, and domains which are signatories for the information retrieved. The most active month was May with 49,256 influencers producing 56,098 documents, 1.14 documents per influencer.
The retrieval process was only for English documents, which were automatically tagged according to a set of categories which were considered interesting to monitor. During the quarter, 142,003 tags were allocated to the different documents (more than one tag may be assigned to a single document).
Tags have been grouped in categories. Of all the 10 categories that were analysed, Government and Countries (mentioned) have been the most populated, representing 42% and 34% of the total allocated tags.
Not surprisingly, the tag ‘economy’ has been the one with the highest frequency (43,292); 52% of the occasions when this tag was found, ‘European Union’ was involved (not a surprise, right?).
However, the information that most may interest us is the one provided by the crossing of two categories, obtaining the matrix of tags (every cell indicates the percentage of documents where both tags are present). For instance, when crossing ‘Economy’ with ‘Austerity’ (a tag part of the category ‘Institutional Values’), we obtain a document count of 702; cross the former with ‘Consensus’ and you will get 1,198 documents. Regretfully, when doing so with ‘Leadership’, one only obtains 300 documents. So, why should I say?: There is a consensus in being austere but no leadership is seen in the European Union (to exit the crisis).
This is reflecting only a brief and barely descriptive analysis of the obtained corpus of internet documents about Europe which should be analysed accurately using proper statistical methodologies. Further, we haven’t said a word about europeism (or euroscepticism, my guess); the usage of semantic analysis tools (or as it has been done in some cases, by human tagging) could allow us to find out the tone of the comments.