Barça and Gaza's links with Barcelona, the main topics of digital conversation about Catalonia in 2023

DIPLOCAT has published a study on the 2 million international mentions of Catalonia on social networks

Since 2019, DIPLOCAT has been monitoring international digital conversations about Catalonia on social networks and other digital platforms. The monitoring also covers mentions of the consortium's member institutions. The company Imagina Digital Solutions has been commissioned to prepare the annual study for 2023, as well as the specific monthly studies. The unique feature of the monthly reports is that they exclude mentions related to politics and sports in order to give more visibility to other topics and DIPLOCAT's member institutions.

The studies are based on the tracking of specific words in pre-selected languages, excluding Catalan and Spanish, with the exception, in the latter case, of the United States, Mexico and Argentina. They also compare the volume of international conversation about Catalonia with that generated by other stateless nations such as Scotland, Wales, Quebec, Flanders and the Basque Country. Although the scope of the monitoring is global, a more in-depth study of the conversations about Catalonia in the following countries is carried out: United States, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Morocco.

The main conclusions of the 2023 annual study include the following:

  • In 2023, conversation about Catalonia generated 2 million mentions, 518.3K unique authors, 135 million interactions and an audience of 7 billion users. 35% of the content volume was generated on X (formerly Twitter), 25% on Instagram, 21% on digital news and 11% on Facebook.
  • By volume of mentions per total population, Portugal was the country in which Catalonia and the DIPLOCAT member organisations were most talked about (13.40%), followed by France (11.40%), Argentina (10.70%), Italy (10.40%), and the Republic of Ireland (8.75%). By total volume, the top five countries were the USA, France, Mexico, the UK and Italy.
  • A farewell letter from Gaza City Council workers to Barcelona City Council workers was the second most talked-about topic this year, behind Barça and ahead of social issues such as the Dani Alves case and the Shakira-Piqué affair.
  • The DIPLOCAT member institutions that generated the highest volume of conversation were, in this order: FC Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya and Polytechnic University of Catalonia.
  • In the sub-state comparison, Catalonia (24%) ranks second after Scotland (34%), followed by Wales (19%), Quebec (15%) and, well behind, the Basque Country (4%) and Flanders (4%). In this comparison, conversations referring to the sub-state government in the respective states were excluded. In terms of topics, 38% of the conversation was about sports, 8% was about culture, and 7% was about business, while conversations about politics fell to just 6%.
  • Although it's difficult to make comparisons with previous studies, primarily due to changes in X's programming interface, this data could confirm a decreasing interest in the political situation in Catalonia.
  • Mentions from the Chinese media outlets CGTN and China Xinhua received the highest number of global followers, while the Argentinian digital media outlet Infobae mentioned Catalonia the most. Lastly, a cooking and recipe site, Tasty, came in third in terms of audience size.

In regard to the conversation by country:

  • The letter from the Gaza City Council workers to the Barcelona City Council workers was the most commented topic in the US, where no other topic with political, social or economic connotations appears in the top 5. This topic and the issue of the Catalan language in the Congress of Deputies were also the top topics in the UK, with the former also appearing in top place in Ireland.
  • The Dani Alves case and the separation of Shakira and Piqué were the main topics in Mexico, followed by the conversation about how Catalonia and the Basque Country influenced the formation of the Spanish government, with a very similar ranking in Argentina. The Dani Alves case was by far the most talked-about topic in Brazil.
  • In France, the Montmeló Grand Prix, the use of Catalan in the town halls of the Catalan Region in France and Guardiola's achievements with Manchester City were the three main topics of conversation, while in Germany, with a much lower volume, the Mobile World Congress was the main topic of conversation.
  • Sporting issues dominated the conversation in Belgium and Italy, as they did in Morocco, where the expulsion of a Moroccan linked to the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in 2017 was also discussed.
  • In the Netherlands, where the conversation volume was low, the main topics were tourism and sports. This situation was repeated in Portugal, where Primavera Sound, the Dani Alves case and the Smart City Expo were also discussed.
  • Sweden and Switzerland saw a low volume of conversations of little relevance.