Status on the Wall.

Twitter and the War.

By KOJI YAJIMA MAY 18, 2017
World War 1 - “The war to end all wars”.

Then came World War 2.

72 years later, the world as we know faces a new era. Daily reportage in the term ‘World War III’ peaked in April 2017 (Google Analytics), with many articles informing and arguing what could potentially happen in the near future.

#WW3
However, such articles often place focus on authoritarian figures and significant events, while civilians are treated as ‘numbers’ within a statistical data.

To put that into perspective, it is accessible to search the number of deaths that occurred in World War 2, than to understand the perceptions of what went through their minds.

By placing the spotlight onto the subaltern population through social media, the following sets of visualisations will attempt to excavate the perceptions of the current society in its heated state of what it could be the brink of World War III.
Source:

Following datasets are obtained from Twitter.API, accessing over 1000 tweets with key words ‘#WW3’ and ‘World War 3’ between 1st to the 10th of June 2017.

The tweets are filtered to highlight the opinions of individuals, such that there are no ‘bots’ (automated tweets) or any other irrelevant data that may convolute the outcome.

Why Twitter?
With a restricted word limit, Twitter users are mildly forced to state their own vision rather than factual information. This draws out perceptive information of a topic from a different angle to regular articles that are based of real-time news.
Top 4 common words
To begin, here are the 4 most common words used in tweets that include the term ‘World War 3’. The datasets were then re-calculated to identify words most associated with each of these words.
Warning:

Following visualisations will include strong and potentially offensive language.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Like, to understand.

(Click the word to expand, click each words to show Tweets)

Here are the words most associated with the term ‘Like’; the most frequent term used amongst all tweets. The visualisation suggests, the word is rarely used within the context of ‘liking’ in a satisfactory sense, but rather in a metaphorical sense to compare elements from one another.

The frequent occurrence of this term projects the ambiguity of the currently heated state, as individuals from the current generation attempts to understand by comparing what is known to them. It is an intuitive term, used to depict each individual's cognitive thoughts that take distance from intellectual facts the media tends to portray.

As Twitter is a platform that exceeds in this form of communication, it reasons this term as being the most frequently used word associated with ‘World War 3’.

Start, is Symbolic

’Start’ in this context, refers to a term that divides ‘concept’ into ‘reality’; i.e. World War 3 as of this moment is a speculation, but will become a reality when it ‘starts’.

Most current news articles associate this term with authoritarian figures and countries, whilst the majority of tweets apply the term in a symbolic sense. This may suggest that the current subaltern population is distant from understanding the ‘how the war may start’, but rather the qualities in which the war may bring ‘after it has begun’.

This may also come from the nature of Twitter as a platform, encouraging to express each individual’s opinions rather than elaborating on factual information.

People, not me

When individuals refer to the term ‘people’, they create a subconscious barrier between themselves and the ‘people’ they refer to.

For instance, the phrase ‘people must stay safe’ is a projection of thought as compared to ‘we must stay safe’, which is significantly inclusive and aware.

The third most associated term; ‘people’ does not necessarily convey the fact that the community is supportive, but rather an understanding of the position and the context in which the community stands. When tweeting topics related to ‘World War 3’, the majority of users are subconsciously aware that they are the bystander, projecting opinions on how ‘others’ should behave.

Trump, and us

As the symbolic ‘authoritarian figure’ of the current era, Donald Trump is by far the most mentioned individual amongst all the tweets.

At a glance, the ‘words’ associated with Trump may imply a positive notion. However, by collectively analysing the implications of those words grant new message to be understood.

The term ‘Trump’ is most associated with the phrase ‘us’ referring to the writers themselves. ‘Us’ may imply unity and bond between individuals; however within this context, ‘us’ is used to juxtapose power and weakness, symbolised by ‘Trump’ and ‘citizen’. This identifies the social disconnection of Donald Trump as a figure not well received by the population.

Other side of the Wall.
With over 32 million followers, Donald Trump is widely identified as the ‘Social Media President’ with an online presence to deliver the latest information in real time. Which brings to the second reason of using Twitter as a platform, to visually compare his words against the subaltern population.
Frequent words by @realDonaldTrump
Although this may seem obvious from his well-known phrase, Donald Trump frequently tweets the term ‘Great’ outside the context of “Making America Great Again”. This may come from Donald Trump subconsciously wanting to be perceived as ‘great’, as he revisits the word whilst articulating his tweets, or coming from his strong personality projected onto the status.

Whether it comes from his subconsciousness or thoughts, his frequent words contradict with the words identified from the subaltern population; depicting the distance in which the current society withstands.

@realDonaldTrump: Today
Secondly most tweeted word; Donald Trump constantly refers to ‘Today’, followed by a specific event. This may result from his daily tweets on events and movements he made, to notify his followers with political information.

In comparison to the term ‘Great’, ’Today’ significantly associates with factual information purposed to notify, rather than his thoughts and opinions. This behaviour may come from the subconscious filtering of certain keywords when constructing a sentence.

@realDonaldTrump: Big
Trump often refers to this adjective when describing a certain value. This can be financial, economic, or even to a sports game. As there are not many associations with other terms, 'Big' standalone is the most interesting of all, as Donald Trump repeats without a regulated pattern.

A simple set of words; Great, Today, Big can define how individuals are characterised, accurately describing the attitudes, values and beliefs.

Frequent Words
To conclude, all tweets from users were collected and calculated according to frequencies of words, generating the visual above. The larger the text, frequently tweeted with "World War 3". This diagram displays the individual opinions in a visual manner, revealing the significance of each stakeholder in relation to one another.

There are many unused words within the interactive component, as some words appeared as a separate entity, unrelated to others. Country names such as Iran, Russia and China would have thought to be more frequently shown, similar to Trump; however, these terms decreased significantly when links to 'articles' and 'journals' were removed from the source. Media portrays facts from countries and known references, however unique individuals prefer to communicate in opinions; in their own words.

Through quantifying the thoughts of the subaltern population, the datasets enabled to reflect the perceptions of what people felt during a specific timeframe of society's movement. This unusual approach to journalism may come in import as we live in an era full of accessible information, where public opinions can be stored and analysed to construct a story.

Disclaimer: This website is a mock-up of New York Times to respond to a creative brief. All rights of the logo belong to New York Times.

Coding help: M.r Dheyaa Ali Hussein, D.r Somwrita Sarkar, M.r Rohann Kaizad Dorabjee and M.r Vihaan Kaura

All datasets were initially collected from TwitterAPI. Collected tweets sorted by frequency of occurrence, each word by word through database.io, excluding stop words such as ‘and’ or ‘the’, and the main term ‘World War 3’.