Currency top of #indyref tweeter’s agenda

Issued: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 09:00:00 BST

The currency is the issue most tweeted about under the #indyref hashtag, according to new research from the University of Glasgow.

In Policy Scotland’s latest analysis examining Twitter and the independence referendum debate, the team have moved from who is participating in the debate to exploring what is being discussed.

The analysis is available here:!/vizhome/shared/9ZK8TDG6B

The findings for Jan-April 2014 inclusive are contained in the first bubble chart in the upper left.  The team counted word frequencies within the text of some 750,000 tweets and sorted and analysed them by policy area.

They found that ‘currency’ was the most frequently used policy issue, followed by ‘oil’ and then ‘EU’.  The frequencies themselves offer no information about sentiment or how the issues are discussed.

Michael Comerford, Researcher, Policy Scotland said “This research shows that the currency issue is one that dominates the discussion on Twitter.  However,    

the chart for April shows how flash points in the debate can dominate traffic over shorter time periods. The prominence given to the CBI in twitter traffic following media coverage of the registration by the CBI as a recognised campaigner with the electoral commission and the subsequent departure of CBI member organisations illustrates this point.

As an additional comparison, the researchers compared the posts published on the main websites of Yes Scotland and Better Together to see if the policy issues that featured most strongly on these sites correspond to the patterns shown in Twitter traffic. The two bubble charts on the righthand side show the relative word frequencies for those websites for the same Jan - Apr period.  They show that neither campaign maps directly to the #indyref twitter traffic. Yes Scotland has a similar spread of issues but in different proportions, whereas Better Together appears to have a much heavier focus on economic issues when compared with conversations on #indyref in twitter. 

Find out more

Policy Scotland

College of Social Sciences

Media Enquiries: / 0141 330 3683

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