For this special project, our Team at Kubik wanted to explore the power of social network analysis, on the example of conversations around yesterday's International Womens' Day. What are the main topics and what progress have we really made?
Social Network analysis is like the game of the ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ - where we try to find out how you're connected to your mom's hairdresser's cousin's dog walker's boss. It is a method often used to study topics, such as the spread of information, the formation of social groups, or the flow of resources - like how a rumour spreads through a group or how a viral video gets shared on social media. Think of it like a giant social spiderweb, where everyone is connected in some way or another. And just like how spiders use their webs to catch prey, we can use social network analysis to catch important information about how people interact and influence each other.
But - what if, instead of exploring the social connections between people, we explore connections between words?
We used the special occasion of the International Women’s day 2023 to examine what kind of words are most commonly mentioned together, so that we can detect common themes people discuss on Twitter. Once topics (or word clusters) have been identified, social network analysis can help us understand the characteristics and properties of these groups - for example underlying connections and sizes of clusters.
Topics about IWD2023
Here is what the social network of conversations related to IWD2023 on Twitter looks like:
The nature of International Women’s day has been changing from year to year. Our job was to find out what the latest topics are, so the following is the list of detected connections:
1. CELEBRATIONS: Let’s start with the good news (the blue topic). Today, the world celebrates women and their achievement around the world. Many tweets mention words such as ‘positive’, ‘achievement’ and ‘remarkable’. We can also see that this topic is an underlying link between other topics, which means people either start or finish their posts (focusing on the future) with this positive sentiment.
2. TECHNOLOGY: The word that connects the blue topic and the yellow topic is ‘leadership’. As many people share positive sentiment about IWD, they also reflect on the realistic progress that has been made in terms of equality. Words mentioned in the yellow topic are: ‘barriers’, ‘gender’, ‘economic’, ‘equality’, ‘displaced’. A special place is occupied by the word ‘girls’, which means many of the conversations are focused on the future and educating girls about their rights and empowering them to stand up for themselves. Words ‘digital’, 'technology’ and ‘innovation’ are very dominant, which marks the untold contribution to the digital world made by women and that technology could be a path towards establishing more options for challenging perceptions and creating opportunities for equality.
3. POLITICS: Closely related to the yellow topics, is the red one - which is connected to many words that mention barriers. Red topic is the political one, as barriers discussed here are related to ‘voting’, ‘inclusion’, ‘equal rights’, ‘government’ and ‘reality’. People are discussing important issues related to gender equality, from pay gaps to reproductive rights. There are also discussions about how to be better allies to women by raising awareness and calling out the real issues more frequently.
4. BUSINESS: Pink topic is focused on women who forge the way in leadership roles and business (and their barriers). Words that are common in this theme are: ‘industry’, ‘female’, ‘leading’, ‘working’. Women face unique challenges in the business world, and the most talked about statistics is related to % of women in leading business roles (spoiler alert: it is still very low).
5. EDUCATION: Finally, the purple topic discusses education. Words dominant in this topic are: ‘better’, ‘legal’, ‘training’ and ‘learn’. This topic points out that one of the most powerful ways to create change is through education. These posts discuss opportunities - when women have access to education, they can break free from cycles such as discrimination and poverty, and achieve their goals.
So, the bad news is - we still have real barriers, tangible obstacles, low representation in leadership positions and there is still a long way to go before we establish equality. However, the good news is that this year, we can see many impactful conversations - raising awareness, calling out and addressing real issues, discussing solutions, while celebrating the incredible achievements of women around the world and reflecting on the progress we have already made towards gender equality.
If you would like to explore what perceptions exist about your own brand, let us know - here.