Politics and football, the key topics in the conversation about Catalonia on social media abroad

Revealed by a Diplocat study using data gathered between September 2017 and November 2019

Politics and football are at the heart of the conversation on social media about Catalonia around the world according to a study commissioned by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat) which compiled data between September 2017 and November 2019. Most of the mentions concerning Catalonia and politics came from the United Kingdom while ones about Catalonia and football largely hailed from France.

The study gathered quantitative data from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, Italy, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Switzerland and Sweden. In the specific case of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States and Italy, the countries at the top of the table for social media mentions of Catalonia, qualitative analysis was also conducted by finding out the geolocation of the mentions.

Over this period, the hashtags used by people who mentioned Catalonia from this cluster of countries were #spain (1,047,275), #catalunya (1,022,302), #barcelona (796,512) and #catalanreferendum (731,996). The study also groups the conversation about Catalonia on social media during this time into five main areas: first minister Carles Puigdemont and his surroundings, unionism, Julian Assange, the Spanish left and Barça.

As for the overall feeling of the conversations during this period, 27% of them were positive while 29% were negative. France had the highest percentage of positive conversations at 29.8% of total mentions from the country, while the United Kingdom had the most negative conversations accounting for 33% of total mentions. Neutral conversations were significant in the Baltic States at 86.6% in Estonia and 67.7% in Latvia.

Although most of the open conversations about Catalonia were generated on Twitter, tourism and cuisine mentions were largely on Instagram and not particularly relevant in terms of mentions compared to other areas.

Finally, the study also presents other curious data in its qualitative analysis, such as the fact that in the case of the United Kingdom, Scotland generated 12,140.5 mentions per thousand inhabitants while in Wales there were 1,879 and 1,613 in England.