How text analysis helps RNW Media to listen and take action

RNW Media

  • Customer case
  • Data Science
RNW media
Erik van der Kooij
Commercial Manager
3 min
04 May 2020

RNW Media builds online communities in countries with limited freedoms. In these communities, young people can read and discuss sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and civil rights. In addition, RNW Media is working on advocacy – putting the interests of young people on the map with governments.

As input for the advocacy activities, RNW Media asked us to map out the debate surrounding SRHR topics. To this end, we developed a Social Listening method together with RNW Media, which we tested for the first time in the Data Matatu project. In this project, we specifically looked at Twitter debates on SRHR in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and India.

Our approach

We worked with partners from RNW Media in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and India. In the first phase of the project, we jointly made a list of Twitter accounts and hashtags that the partners were interested in. Based on this list, we collected Twitter messages over a few months.

In phase 2, we analysed the Twitter messages by means of text analysis in the programming language R (using both text mining and Natural Language Processing techniques). We grouped user posts by type of user (governments, NGOs, influencers, etc.) and hashtags.

Using our cleaned dataset, we studied how the debate surrounding specific hashtags spread. We also looked at the sentiment and emotions in the debate.

data matatu project
A detailed roadmap of the social listening project

The result

We wrote a report for each country about the results of our research. For example, we discovered that the debate about sexual health and rights often remains within an echo chamber. This means that sensitive topics are mainly discussed by civil society organisations and rarely outside.

We identified influencers engaged in the SRHR topics that the partners are writing about. We also discovered and mapped out additional topics that are relevant to the debate on SRHR.

With insights like these, RNW Media and its partners can develop a data-driven social media strategy. For this strategy, they can actively collaborate with influencers. In addition, in their advocacy activities, they can draw more attention to topics that are still underexposure.

For example, the Kenyan partner used our report to draw the attention of its government to much-discussed but unresolved SRHR issues that emerged in our investigation.

Want to know more?

Erik will be happy to talk to you about what we can do for you and your organisation as a data partner.

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