Argentina, UK and US React to Election of New Pope
Cries of “Habemus Papa!” spread across Saint Peter’s Square and through Catholic communities around the globe. On Wednesday March 13th 2013 the conclave of cardinals elected Pope Francis I after a relatively short period of deliberation.
Twitter and Facebook users posted opinions and kept watch on social media until white smoke billowed from the chimney. When the election was announced, “Papamania” dominated social statuses and feeds, quickly becoming the hottest topic of the day.
Social media users cast their vote about the papal proceedings. Millions of opinions supported or strongly differed from the cardinals’ decision.
Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ social media analysis platform is lending us its sharp lens focusing on the conversation across the two largest social media channels, Facebook and Twitter, in order to understand public perception of the election of the Pope in three different countries (United States, United Kingdom and Argentina). Since ForSight is language agnostic and runs aggregate opinion analysis equally well in all languages, we analyzed conversation in English and in Spanish.
The conversation in all three countries reached its climax on Wednesday March 13th. The raw volumetrics varies due to different Catholic populations; for instance, the volume of posts in the United Kingdom is smaller than in US or Argentina. We should note too that the UK analysis examined Facebook and Twitter, while we analyzed the ‘blue bird’ network only for the US and Argentina.
The social sentiment compares the average percentage of positive and negative conversation for each analysis in the following order: US, UK and Argentina. While in US 21% of the twitter conversation was positive and 8% negative, in the UK both sentiments are even 12%, social opinion in Argentina is more positive, with 30% versus 18% negative.
ForSight enables us to take a closer look at the themes and drivers of positive and negative sentiment in each country, which take on a national and particular character through deeper analysis.
In the United States, Twitter conversation was very diplomatic, 15% of the targeted tweets were expressing support and enthusiasm to the new Pope, 6% expressed support for the Catholic Church, and the greatest part 71% of the conversation was neutral, with 56% of flavorless mentions or sharing news.
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, showed a sense of humor. While negative and positive sentiment are balanced, with each representing 12% of the overall conversation, 10% of positive social media talk was categorized as happy with the new Pope. In the UK, the vast majority (78%) falls under neutral, which could lead us to conclude it is mostly a flat conversation. However, as we look closer, the category ‘jokes and humor’ is present in more than half of the conversation 51% and sarcasm is not missing either!
Analyzing social media opinion from Argentina, new Papa Francisco’s home country, offers new perspectives on this topic. Almost one-third of the conversation praises the new head of Catholic Church. Of the overall conversation, 7% is ecstatic about the white smoke rolling out of the Sistine Chapel, 13% communicates support to Francisco and 10% specifically mentions with pride that the new Pope is from Argentina. At the same time Argentinians mocked the new Pope and his conclave. 12% of the conversation criticized the Pope’s liaisons with dictatorship in 1970’s, casting a dark shadow over the historical election of a Pope from South America.
“They won’t fool me, all this white smoke is a result of too much weed.”
“Argentinians are dominating the world” BUT THEY DON”T KNOW, THAT THE POPE WAS ACTIVE MEMBER DURING THE DICTATORSHIP’
As the white smoked lulled, so would one expect the conversation to gradually fade away and slowly silence down completely. But as Father Francis stepped out on Sunday March 17th to pray with crowds for the first time, twitter exploded again.
The power of Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform lies in its flexibility and limitless ability to analyze opinions from around the world regarding global events. ForSight discovers delicate patterns in the conversation whether it is happening in New York City or Buenos Aires, without missing out on the subtle nuance of the local or urban language, being able to reflect different shades of global community spectrum.
To me, ForSight also shows that not even the most powerful organizations or conservative institutions can determine or limit how people express their opinions and their humor, as long as they have access to free and open social media.