woensdag 21 mei 2014

The Last Mile in the Belgian Elections (IV)

How Topic Detection Leads to Share-of-voice Analysis

It was a full day of events on Twitter. Time to make an inventory of the principal topics and the buzz created on the social network in the Dutch speaking community in the north of Belgium.
First, the figures: 10.605 tweets were analysed of which 5.754 were referring to an external link (i.e. a news site or another external web site like a blog, a photo album etc…)
As the Flemish nationalist party leader Mr. Dewever from N-VA (the New Flemish Alliance in English) launched his appeal to the French speaking community today, we focused on the tweets about, to and from this party.
A mere 282 tweets were deemed relevant for topic analysis. And here’s the first striking number: of these 282 tweets only 16 contained a reactive response. 
Tweets that provoked a reactive response are almost nonexistent

About 49 topics were grouping several media sources and publications of all sorts. We will discuss three to illustrate how the relationship between topic, retweets, klout score and added content makes some tweets more relevant than others. These are the three topics:

  • Dewever addresses the French speaking community via Twitter
  • Christian Democrat De Clerck falsely accuses N-VA of using fascist symbols in an advertisement
  • You Tube movie from N-VA is ridiculed by the broad community 

Dewever addresses the French speaking community via Twitter

This topic is divided in a moderately positive headline and two neutral ones. The positive: Bart Dewever to the French Speaking Community: “Give N-VA a Chance”
This headline generates a total klout score of 188 where the Flemish tv station VRT takes the biggest chunk with 158 klout score.
This neutral headline generates only 98 klout score: “Dewever puts the struggle between N-VA and the French speaking socialist party at the centre of the discussion”
The other neutral headline “N-VA President Bart Dewever addresses the French speaking community directly” delivers a higher score: 140 klout score partly because one of N-VA’s members of Parliament promoted the link to the news medium.
All in all with 426 total klout score, this topic does not cause great ripples, especially not if you compare this to a mere anecdote, which is the second topic.

Christian Democrat De Clerck falsely accuses N-VA of using fascist symbols in an advertisement

On the left, the swastika hoax, commented by the christian democrat and in the right the original ad showing a labyrinth

Felix De Clerck, son of the former Christian democrat minister of Justice Stefaan De Clerck, reacted to a hoax and was chastised for doing this. With a klout score of 967 this has caused a bigger stir although the political relevance is a lot smaller than Dewever’s speech… Emotions can play a role even in simple and neutral retweets.

You Tube movie from N-VA is ridiculed by the broad community

Another day’s high was reached with an amateuristic and unprofessional YouTube movie which showed a parody on a famous Flemish detective series to highlight the major issues of the campaign. This product from the candidates in West-Flanders, including the Flemish minister of Interior Affairs, Geert Bourgeois generated a total klout score of 778 tweets and retweets with negative or sarcastic comments.
Yet an adjacent topic about a cameraman from Bruges who is surprised by minister Bourgeois’ enthusiasm generates a 123 moderately positive klout score.

Three topics out of 49 generate 20.6 % of total klout scores!

This illustrates perfectly how the Twitter community selects and reinforces topics that carry an emotional value: the YouTube movie and the hoax from De Clerck generated a share of voice of no less than almost 17% of the tweets.

Forgive me for reducing the scope to Flanders, the political scope to just one party and the tweets to only three because this blog has not the intention of presenting the full enchilada. I hope we have demonstrated with today’s contribution that topics and the way they are perceived and handled can vary greatly in impact and cannot be entirely reduced to numbers. In other words, the human interpreter will deliver added value for quite a long time.

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