2 What is WeGov? WeGov – Where eGovernment meets the eSociety - is an EU research project in the 7th Research Framework Program (“ICT for Governance and Policy Modeling”). For more information, please visit our project website http://wegov-project.eu. Introduction The WeGov project addresses the networking of citizens about politics, and with policy makers, through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. It is not about investing in another citizen participation platform. WeGov sees itself rather as a feasibility study to exploit the potential of social networks for policy making, by having citizen opinions indirectly feed the decision-making processes. The approach chosen consists in developing a site, including tools that support the political decision- makers in the analysis of social networks. In terms of methodology, WeGov relies on the participation of potential users (e.g. policy makers, communities, organizations) in the development process of the software. The challenge is to reconcile as much as possible the requirements of these user groups in terms of social media analysis with the technical feasibility of the WeGov analysis models. WeGov has developed three alternative analytical approaches that are currently tested and improved, as a basis for a later integration in the policy maker’s daily workflow. Presentation of the WeGov analysis possibilities Topic analysis The topic analysis identifies groups of words that represent several areas of discussions that arise within a wider debate. This analysis is used for sorting of comments and users in the different concept groups and can currently be used for Twitter and Facebook. For each concept group approximately 3 user (key users) and about 3 comments (key posts) are displayed. Characteristic of key users and key posts is that they strongly refer to these topics, by showing the highest overlap. The analysis considers content related factors such as word frequency and the use of hash tags (#). Not content related factors such as the number of retweets or likes are ignored in this analysis. Other social networks can also be analyzed using this model, but are currently not included. In general, the quality of the concept groups should increase with the number and length of comments. The figures below show the topic analysis running on Twitter for the search term “European citizens’ initiative” on April 16. The analysis is also available for Facebook data.
Figure 1: Results of topic analysisBasic properties for the analysis of the discussion activity and userbehaviorWeGov provides two main analyses in its Toolbox (explained below). The results of our researchindicate that different social networks behave in different ways, and the factors that make a post or auser to be “important or relevant” in one social networks are probably not the same ones in anothersocial networks. The models that are currently integrated in the WeGov toolkit are those onestrained with Twitter data.To generate these models we collect a big amount of data (representative sample of the socialnetworks) and perform feature engineering over the data to extract those features that representthe user and the content.The model is optimized for English text. As a further development, the model will in addition beadapted Facebook and will be optimized for the German language. In general, the followingproperties are used for the behavior analysis, based on User features and on Content features:User behavior on social networkswithin social networks different levels of use can be distinguished. Consider, for example, a singleTwitter user, who usually follows other Twitter users and is also followed by Twitter users. Thesedependencies and other properties are taken into account to determine the influence power of usersand their posts within Social Networks. In-degree refers to the direction of the followers, i.e. the circle of persons who potentially read a post of that particular user Out-degree, on the other hand, refers to the Twitter users that a person will follow and potentially read their posts and react by responding or re-tweeting.User Participation
4 What is WeGov? Number of posts Since when using social media Frequency of Posts General characteristics of the Posts Length of Posts Recommendation of the post by a third party (such as re-tweet) Time of publication Content characteristics of posts Complexity is a measure for determining the level of content with respect to the word accumulation - the higher the value, the greater the information content. Readability is an index which describes to which extent a message is easy to understand – if a message is understood from reading for the first time it is assumed to have good readability. Novelty value is a measure to determine the average number of times terms are occurring in Posts - terms which appear for the first time increase the novelty value Polarity measures the "mood" of the post and makes a statement how strongly the post deviates from the average - this determines whether a post is particularly negatively motivated Timescale of the discussion activity Figure 2: Graphical presentation of the analyzed tweets in a timeframe For the time being, WeGov performs the analysis on a download of the 99 last tweets, or all tweets over a maximum period of one week if the total number of collected tweets is lower than 99. WeGov shows how the analyzed tweets are concentrated in the concerned time period. In figure 2 above, this means for instance that the search term “European citizens initiative” entered on April 16 generated 62 posts over the last week, with activity peaking on the first day.
5 What is WeGov? Results of analysis of the discussion activity The purpose of this analysis is to predict which posts are going to generate more attention. The results of our analysis indicate that in order to generate attention the content of the post is more important than the reputation of the user within the SNS. In particular, those posts that generate high levels of attention generally fit the following characteristics: They were not written in the afternoon They are written in a familiar language (the readability is high and the information content is rather low) They were written by people who follow many users and even read the news (high out- degree) The statement tends to be rather negative (stronger negative polarity) In the WeGov toolkit the output of this analysis is translated in top posts to watch. The top users to watch are computed by adding the scores of the top posts for each user. I.e., the top users are those who generate more top posts (post that are likely to generate higher levels of attention). For the search term “ACTA” this generated the following result on April 13. Figure 3: Top 5 posts and Top 5 users to watch Results of analysis of user behavior The purpose of this analysis is to classify users according to their behavior and interactions within the SNS. For this analysis we only use user features, in-degree, out-degree and the properties of user participation in the information (number of posts, length of use, and frequency of posts). Within WeGov the following groups are considered:
Broadcaster is someone who posts with information and not in the possibility to high daily rate and has a very high discuss following (in-degree). However he Rare Poster is a user with very low post follows very few people (out-degree). rate. Information Source is someone who posts a lot, is followed a lot but follows more people than the Broadcaster His involvement in social networks is generally much higher than the broadcaster. Daily User is an average user in relation to the number of posts, followers and the people he follows himself. Information Seeker is someone who posts very rarely but follows a lot of people. An information seeker is generally interested in getting Figure 4: User roles distribution According to this behavioral characteristics, the most influential and engaged role is the Information Source, which is probably the people that PM should pay more attention to.Figure 5: Identification of users
7 What is WeGov? Presentation of the WeGov Website The different analysis possibilities explained above can be used on the search page and can be restricted to geographical areas of social networks. On the home page, the analysis capabilities also function within small windows (widgets). The widgets offer the advantage that they are immediately visible from login to the site and they display updates of the analysis results of previously set search criteria. WeGov – Application The WeGov Website can be reached at https://wegov.it-innovation.soton.ac.uk/. The website is currently optimized for Firefox and Chrome. The URL leads you to the screen shown under Figure 6. Here you can login with your personal user name and password. The site is currently available with an English and German interface. We ask you to apologize for editorial gaps, since this project is still under development. Figure 6: Login WeGov – Home page After successful registration, you will see the WeGov Home page (Home). The small windows (widgets) show different results for Twitter and Facebook requests. Currently, a total of 100 Twitter tweets and of 1700 Facebook posts can be polled. This figure is a technical limitation of the social networks; we are working on improving this. To query Twitter data, no registration is required. For Facebook, this does not apply. If you want to use the Facebook analysis, it is necessary that you are logged in with a Facebook account. It is enough if you have opened Facebook within your browser and you have logged in. WeGov will automatically detect the connection to Facebook and use this to query data from Facebook. WeGov guarantees at this point that no personal data are stored or retrieved. You will find a total of 4 different types of widgets on the front page. Using the symbol "I" in white on a gray circle, you can adjust the settings of the window, e.g. change the search word or duplicate the window in order to compare results. If you delete the window, it cannot be recovered. But you have the option to "hide" the selected window on the home page (consult the tab WeGov - Personal Settings).
8 What is WeGov? Widget: Google Maps In this widget (Figure 7) your current position is determined automatically, so you can automatically display search results relative to your current location. When you are in Brussels, Brussels will be pointed here. Figure 7: Current location If you are interested in analysis results related to other locations than your current location, you can use the following widget (Figure 8) to enter and select other locations on the search page. To do this, click on "Add new" and enter a location or region. Figure 8: Store locations
9 What is WeGov? Widget: Topic Analysis The following window (Figure 9) shows topics that are currently discussed on Twitter on Klaus Wowereit. For each group, the term "key user" is displayed. Figure 9: Topics discussed on a search term The next window (Figure 10) uses the same analysis as Figure 4. All tweets are analyzed on content to identify the topics currently under discussion on Klaus Wowereit. The difference is that here is a geographical restriction of tweets has been on the current location (here Berlin) Figure 10: Topics discussed locally on a search term
10 What is WeGov? The widget Facebook Post for: Angela Merkel1 (Figure 11) shows the most recent posts on the Facebook Fan Page of Angela Merkel. In WeGov a total of last 25 posts is available. By choosing the title detail page all 25 posts will be displayed in full length. In addition, the number of Facebook likes, and the number of comments are visible. Below the post the unique Facebook-key (a combination) is displayed. This can be entered in a separate window to start an analysis of the comments of this post. We are currently working on a solution in which posts can be directly selected for analysis. Using the icon (bottom right corner) another fan page to be entered for analysis. Figure 11: Recent posts of the selected Facebook fan page The widget in Figure 12 shows some of the topics discussed on the Facebook post 60 years Protestant work... For each concept group, the term "key user" is displayed. Figure 12: Topics discussed on a Facebook post 1 URL: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaMerkel (Searched in March 2012)
11 What is WeGov? The window in Figure 13 also refers to the post 60 years Protestant work ... Relevant comments are displayed here. The detail view of the list is available by clicking on the title bar. Figure 13: Comments on a selected Facebook post Figure 14 shows the analysis result of the recent posts on the fan side, Angela Merkel. Topics and "key users" are displayed. Figure 14: Topics discussed on a selected Facebook fan page
12 What is WeGov? Widget: Behavior analysis The following window (Figure 15) organizes tweets about the theme minimum wage according to the user roles of the authors who publish the tweets. The group Information Source is considered to be particularly interesting, because these users tend to have greater visibility in social networks (Twitter in this case) than others. Figure 15: user roles on a topic Figure 16 shows a total of two Twitter user profiles with the role of Information Source. These users are displayed as they were identified as a user with great influence from the set of tweets on the subject of the theme minimum wage. This view displays users with other roles. Figure 16: Users seldom posting on a topic
13 What is WeGov? Widget: Analysis results of external websites The following windows are examples of the integration of non-WeGov services on the site. The idea behind this is that there many good analytical capabilities exist in social media. WeGov wants to integrate these analysis capabilities to its product range and provide them to its users and users. The following window (Figure 17) integrates Twitter and displays the latest tweets about Klaus Wowereit released near your current location (in this case Berlin). Figure 17: Comments on a search term Figure 18 also integrates analytical results from Twitter. In this case, Twitter-generated topics that Twitter users are currently discussing in Germany are displayed. Figure 18: Top 10 themes on Twitter
14 What is WeGov? WeGov - Personal settings By clicking on the username in the upper right corner you can change personal settings as shown in Figure 19. You can for instance set up a new password for your account. The list shows all My widgets that are available on the homepage. If the box is checked, the window is displayed. If not, it remains invisible. Figure 19: User preferences
15 What is WeGov? WeGov - Search Figure 20 shows the WeGov search page with detailed analysis of results. Currently 100 tweets from Twitter are queried. This number will soon be expanded, as well as the ability to search on other social networks. Enter a search word to start and possibly narrow down your search geographically by selecting one location. The available locations are displayed on the map and must be pre-selected in the window My Saved locations on the homepage. As results, you will see three lists. The first list contains the hit list, which is generated through Twitter. The other two navigation points Topic Analysis and Behavior Analysis show the previously described thematic sorting as well as the sorting of the user and comments in relation to user behavior. Figure 20: Detailed search
16 What is WeGov? Your contact persons for questions and constructive input Dipl.-Inf. Timo Wandhöfer GESIS – Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften Abteilung: Wissenstechnologien Unter Sachsenhausen 6-8, 50667 Köln Tel. +49 (0) 221 – 47694 – 544 E-Mail: email@example.com Catherine van Eeckhaute Deputy Director Gov2u Tel + 32 (0)475-243522 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org