This year we have yet again opened State of the Net, supplying a scenario of Italian’s online behavior, with an unpublished study on the opinions and mood of the nation. For the first time ever, we've analyzed about 200M interactions on Facebook and 71,6M tweets during the first four months of the year.
A glimpse at the biggest social network in the world, Facebook, shows the difference between stated and actual passions. Italians are fans of mainstream food, sports and radio/TV show brands, but they actually like to interact more frequently with politicians and share content created by mass media. For example, we've found an impressive 14M+ interactions (Like, Comment, Share, Fan Posts) on Beppe Grillo's Facebook fanpage.
As for Twitter, in spite of the decrease of active users compared to last year (according to a measurement that only considers computer logins, and not mobile logins), there are signs of a more conscious use of the tool. The flow of tweets is uniformly spread over every day of the week, while in the past there were days with more activity than others.
There has been a 22% increase of tweets containing a hashtag, a 7% increase of retweets and a 2% increase of geo-localized tweets. These are all signs of a better understanding of the tool’s primary grammar, which is useful to stimulate and participate in new conversations.
Another relevant change regards the most active hours: the peaks have shifted forward one hour. The first peak is between 13 and 15 and the maximum peak is between 20 and 22. This change is probably a consequence of the new habit of using devices as a second screen for social TV.
The analysis of hashtags, which is the element that links conversations together, allows us to distinguish the three main categories that emerge during peak hours:
- social practices: rt (which is by far the most used), sapevatelo, news, ff (which stands for "Follow Friday", a trend that consists of users recommending other interesting user profiles on Fridays), and coseimbarazzantisudime that marks the habit of sharing embarrassing and humorous details about yourself, which is a sign of the user base widening towards a younger audience;
- social TV: sanremo2013 (which is the second most used hashtag), serviziopubblico, tvoi, piazzapulita, ballarò
- sharing and commenting news: the most popular were elezioni2013, berlusconi, m5s, bersani and PD.
But words also conceal a mood (we only talk about "sentiment" when the semantic field is defined): our semantic analysis software has allowed us to automatically understand the positivity or negativity of these millions of messages, but also trace the variation of Italians' emotive inclinations over time. During a regular day positive and negative emotions tend to have an equal share; on the other hand, when particular events happen, peaks occur.
The timespan we considered is characterized by a negative mood, which is determined by political events with two very low peaks during the institutional crisis and Napolitano's reelection. Only on New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day has the mood been overall more positive.
In this presentation, which we invite you to comment on and download, you'll find a few examples of analyzed events based on emotions expressed in tweets and primary stats regarding the state of the web in Italy.
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