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The Facebook conversations of political leaders

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We open the year from which we ended 2021. After analyzing the presence on Facebook in 2021 of the main political leaders: Berlusconi, Calenda, Conte, Letta, Meloni, Renzi and Salvini, we decided to deepen by also analyzing how much, and how, there was talk of the seven party leaders in question. From 1 January 2021 to 1 January 2022, a total of about 602 thousand posts relating to the seven political leaders were published on the fan pages, public groups and verified profiles. Volume of posts that generated an incredible figure of more than 161 million interactions (like + reaction + comments and shares).

First of all we find the former Premier and current leader of the M5S with over 195 thousand posts that talk about him and generate more than 58 million interactions. Numbers that are equal to 36% of total interactions and 32.5% of posts. Therefore, proportionally, the posts related to Giuseppe Conte generate more engagement than the other party leaders. In second place Matteo Salvini with almost 138 thousand posts that talk about him and that generated about 35.5 million interactions. Number of posts that is equal to 70.76% of those of Conte, but generate 61.20% of the interactions for the posts of the 5 Star Movement leader. This despite the advertising pressure carried out on Facebook by the Northern League leader, who is the largest investor in Italy among leaders and political parties.

Bronze medal for the number of posts is Matteo Renzi. But the leader of Italia Viva is overtaken by number of interactions, and therefore by level of involvement, by Giorgia Meloni, as shown by the infographics summarizing the data of our analysis. Penultimate Silvio Berlusconi. Although there is a lot of talk about him as a possible candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, the number of posts and the engagement they generate is only higher than that of Carlo Calenda. If the leader of Action, as emerges from the Demos & PI survey conducted for Repubblica, is the party leader with the least notoriety, it is equally evident that that of Forza Italia, despite the media force, does not warm hearts, let’s say.

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If this is what emerges from a quantitative point of view, the situation is even clearer by analyzing the qualitative aspects. In fact, analyzing the posts related to each political leader who created the most involvement, we see how Conte’s reputation is much better, confirming how much emergent from a recent SWG survey.

The three posts related to the M5S leader that generated the most engagement are all positive for his image and reputation. And the post that has created the most involvement by far is the one in response to the editorial by Massimo Giannini which has more than 185 thousand reactions, all positive and with almost 19 thousand “loves”, about 33 thousand shares and well over 36 thousand comments, also in this case all favorable to him. This is not the case with other party leaders. For Salvini, two of the three posts that generated the most involvement are strongly critical of his positions in favor of the “traditional family”. With that of Luca Trapanese, the first case in Italy of a homosexual parent to adopt a child with Down syndrome, which obtains great solidarity, and contempt for what was stated by the Northern League leader during a television broadcast.

It is no better for the leader of Italia Viva, on the contrary. All three posts are critical of him. The ex-enfant prodige of Italian politics does not really like the Italians, as had already emerged from our previous analysis. Also for Giorgia Meloni two of the three posts that generate the most involvement are negative. In fact, even the post of his party mate, who promotes the book of the leader of the Brothers of Italy, collects an incredible sequence of jeers both in the comments and with the reactions, of which out of a total of almost 182 thousand well about 62 thousand are emoji that sneers. Even if quantitatively the secretary of the PD has numbers far lower than the others, his image comes out less tarnished. In fact, out of three posts the only one that attacks him is that of Giorgia Meloni.

Is a post by Zlatan Ibrahimovi trying to raise the image of the Knight? together with the former owner of the team in which the Swedish footballer plays, but a substantial part of the approximately 6 thousand comments are critical. How strongly critical are the two posts of the journalist of “Il Fatto Quotidiano”, as in his style. In short, if, as we wrote at the end of 2021, the likes are not votes, from our analysis the reputation of most of the political leaders comes out decidedly tarnished. Not surprisingly, according to the results of the Report on Italians and the State, now in its 24th edition, created by the LaPolis – Laboratory of Political and Social Studies of the University of Urbino and by Demos & Pi for L’Espresso and La Repubblica, parties, albeit recovering from the past, parties are the entity in which Italians have the least confidence. And of course, in an era in which there is a strong identity connotation between the parties and their leaders, this could only have repercussions in this regard.

Data which, despite being the result of a random and non-stratified sample, are however indicative of the distance between the political-electoral polls and the reality of the facts, as demonstrated, one for all, by the constant errors even in the exit polls.

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