Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Wallstreet battling TeaParty – Divided they tweet!

Today (11/20/11) I ran a Condor twitter analysis for #ows (the Occupy Wallstreet Twitter tag) and #teaparty (the Tea Party Twitter tag), trying to predict public sentiment for these two social movements.
I only collected retweets, and constructed the retweet-network, measuring the importance of people retweeting based on their social network position. The picture below shows the resulting network, each dot is a twitterer, each line is one or more retweets. Surprisingly we get three clear clusters, a Occupy Wallstreet cluster (blue, at the bottom), a Tea Party cluster (yellow, in the center) and a mixed cluster at the top. Red dots are people tweeting both about #ows and #teaparty.

A closer look at these three clusters tells us that the blue cluster is Occupy Wallstreet sympathizers talking about issues near and dear to them, the yellow cluster is Tea-Party sympathizers doing the same about their cause, while the mixed cluster at the top consists of Occupy Wallstreet sympathizers badmouthing the Tea Party, and Tea Party sympathizers lambasting Occupy Wallstreet and Barack Obama.

Aggregating the network, and weighing the tweet of each twitterer with her/his social network position, lead to 55% of weighted votes for Occupy Wallstreet, and 45% for the TeaParty. The results are clear: Occupy wall street sympathizers carry more weight in the Twittersphere than Tea Party members – the question of course remains how representative this is for the rest of the American population.

I then also checked positivity and negativity of tweets. Again I was in for a surprise. Usually human beings are optimists, and positivity is much larger than negativity. But not so here, for both Tea Party and Occupy Wallstreet tweets negativity was about two times bigger than positivity. In an additional twist, the (mostly negative) tweets about the Tea Party were more positive than the tweets about Occupy Wallstreet (see picture below).

The first conclusion of this chart is the general unhappiness with the current political situation. While both Tea Party and Occupy Wallstreet sympathizers are very unhappy, Tea Party twitterers are slightly happier, although they seem to carry less political weight.
At last I looked at what the key issues of the Occupy Wallstreet discussion today were, collecting the most recent blog posts with Condor (see semantic network picture below).

While the Tea Party members rejoice about the booing of Michelle Obama and Joe Biden at the Nascar race in Florida, the Occupy Wallstreet sympathizers lambast Mayor Bloomberg for his lifestyle and the closing of Zuccotti Park. Religion is quite central - as expected - for the Tea Party sympathizers, while a large part of the discussion is focussed on the presidential candidates.

1 comment:

  1. I find it all very inspiring.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."- Gandhi