Documents CIDOB nº. 11

What’s in a tweet? Twitter’s impact on public opinion and EU foreign affairs

Fecha de publicación:
Lewin Schmitt, Predoctoral Fellow at Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) and PhD Candidate at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).

Documents CIDOB: 11

Winner of the Global Challenges Talent Award, launched by CIDOB and Banco Sabadell Foundation in the framework of Programa Talent Global.

This paper uses text mining and sentiment analysis of Twitter posts to explore the EU’s diplomatic communication practices and to measure public opinion on foreign affairs. Building on an original dataset of almost one million tweets from the past five years, this analysis reveals differences in public perceptions of the EU’s relationship with China, India and Russia. Attitudes are most positive in the case of the EU–India relationship, followed by EU–China and EU–Russia. Furthermore, the paper examines hundreds of official EU Twitter accounts, specifically their communications on diplomatic relations with these countries. A main finding is that the EU talks about its diplomatic relations in more positive terms than the wider public, though this verbal politeness effect is less pronounced in the case of EU–Russia relations.

Key words: EU foreign policy, Twitter diplomacy, text mining, public opinion



E-ISSN: 2339-9570