Expert System conducted a semantic analysis to understand the reaction of Twitter users after the activation of @pontifex, and the response to the first tweets by Pope Benedict XVI on December 12. Using the Cogito semantic software, Expert System analyzed a sample of more than 20,000 tweets to the Pope’s Twitter accounts and hashtags related to #askpontifex. The tweets were classified in the predominant categories of religion; art, culture and entertainment; economy and finance; and crime. Among the most relevant topics were people (Pope, Jesus and God), places (Vatican, Africa, Rome and Italy), verbs (do, can, tell, know, must, pay) and nouns (church, gold, question, child, Christmas, truth and Sunday).
Other recurring themes included the topic of children, which was related to the concept of poverty (as highlighted by the recurrence of Africa, eat, feed, gold, third world) and to the concept of pedophilia (as highlighted by the recurrence of rape and molestation. The church’s position on the topic of homosexuality was also popular in the tweets, highlighted by the frequent use of non acceptance and terms such as refuse, love, homophobia, nature, Christian community, brother, equal, preach and marriage.
Some of the most relevant concepts in the tweets.
Expert System also analyzed a sample of over 15,000 tweets that followed the Pope’s first official tweet on December 12. The responses on Twitter seemed to echo the sentiment of the Pope’s message, where the topic of Jesus was most mentioned, followed by faith and prayer, as well as hope, family, life, love, work and the gospel. Compared to the original sample of tweets, in this sample, there was less talk of children, homosexuality, pedophilia and Christmas, and more conversation around the concepts of blessing, joy and heart. Also present were the concepts of pay, IMU (related to taxes), gold and money.
Concepts around the theme of homosexuality.
“The results of the semantic analysis of the most relevant themes and concepts present in the tweets so far highlight many of the problems facing the world we live in, as well as the legacy issues facing the church. For the Vatican, Twitter can be not only a channel for spreading the message of faith, but also an important listening platform from which to collect opinions about important issues,” said Marco Varone, President and CTO, Expert System.