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#NotMyPM: analysing the anti-Boris backlash on Twitter

It was always inevitable. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has won the race to replace Theresa May as the leader of the Conservative Party, thereby becoming Prime Minister of the UK. As you would imagine, Twitter has a lot to say about this.

As of the time of writing (around midday, July 24th 2019) our social analytics platform, Meltwater Social Search, has identified 380k original tweets since midnight yesterday, or 1.4 million if you include retweets, and 58% of those tweets came from the UK.

A quick look at the top hashtags in all tweets about Boris reveals that a lot of Twitter users aren’t entirely happy with his appointment.

I wanted to dig into the anti-Boris sentiment on Twitter, so I focused entirely on tweets containing the #NotMyPM tag, and removed all retweets, to get a more accurate picture of the different opinions, without the results being skewed by a smaller number of highly shared tweets.

This left us with around 35,000 tweets (which generated 106 million impressions in total) from 28,400 separate users, and I used these to generate this BuzzGraph, showing the most common words within that subset. The darker the shading, the more frequently that word appears.

The chart shows that the key topics in #NotMyPM tweets are:

  •      – Accusations of Johnson’s racism;
  •      – Johnson’s support for Brexit;
  •      – President Trump’s endorsement of Johnson.

Next, I looked at the top cities posting the hashtag, which all makes sense given the relative populations of those places and the fact that they are mostly Labour/SNP strongholds. The only anomaly on the list is Hamburg, but that city was over-represented due to a single particularly vocal twitter account based there.

Finally, I generated an “Influencer Community” graph, which we use to identify different sub-communities within a broader topic, often discussing the issue in different ways.

Each circle represents a single Twitter account, and those in the same cluster often share similar content and engage more with each other. Usually, this means they share similar opinions. Larger circles represent more influential accounts, within the context of this specific discussion, and all the lines show interactions between different accounts.

Note: just because an account is in this graph, it hasn’t necessarily used the hashtag – it might just be that they appear frequently in tweets that do use the hashtag. Due to space limitations, we can’t show the full graph with all the account names in a single screenshot – in our tool, you would be able to zoom and pan around the image to see each account.

There are three very distinct groups talking about this topic:

  •      – Green: Labour Party, Momentum, Corbyn supporters;
  •      – Red: Mainstream news, official government sources;
  •      – Blue: Green Party, Independent Group, Anti-Brexit activists.

In case you’re wondering, some Lib Dem aligned accounts are in the blue cluster, but not as influential as some of the others on this topic.

Given that this chart was created entirely by an algorithm, I think it does a pretty good job of illustrating how the political tribes are currently aligned in the UK, and shows how useful tools like this can be for really understanding the nuances of a complex topic.

 


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Lance Concannon
Lance Concannon
Lance is the EMEA Marketing Director for social analytics vendor, Meltwater Social. He formerly worked as an agency side social specialist for brands such as Sony, IBM, BP and Accor, and was formerly a tech journalist My experience is primarily with B2B/B2C technology brands, but also some other businesses, including: IBM, Sony Electronics, Oracle, Fujitsu, AMD, Vodafone, Nokia, Accor, BP, American Express, Greene King, and Sky. More content by

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