Even though the government is shutdown, Voxgov is still “listening.” Since 2014 Voxgov has been ingesting and analyzing every statement, report, newsletter and tweet from over 14,000 government websites and social media accounts. To date they have collected almost 50 million pages!
I asked Robert Dessau, voxgov Founder and CEO if he could provide some insights into the statements of official Washington since the start of the shutdown. The word cloud images included in this post are previews of new visualization features which will be added to voxgov in the coming months. The word clouds are based on documents collected by voxgov between December 16, 2018 and January 16, 2019. The government shutdown started December 22nd.
Surprisingly members of both houses are releasing almost the same number of official statements as they released during the same period a year ago (44,118 documents in the past thirty days versus 45,522 in the same 30 day period a year ago.)
There is a much larger impact in the executive agencies which have released only 149,259 documents in the past 30 days compared with 397,238 documents in the same period a year ago. Voxgov normally ingests between 170,000 and 200,000 documents per week.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FACEBOOK AND TWITTER WORD CLOUD:
President Trump’s social media word cloud above illustrates the new Voxgov visualization features which will color code different types of entities, people, organizations, geographies and keywords. Researchers can access the underlying documents for each circle.
DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICANS SOCIAL MEDIA AND OFFICIAL WORD CLOUDS
The words “border,” “wall,” and “shutdown” dominate social media and official statements of both parties, but official statements also include references to a wider variety of policy issues.
Republicans official statements address taxes, the opioid crisis, jobs, trade, human trafficking.
Democrats official statements address guns, taxes, farms, food and violence.
Both parties discuss criminal justice reform. Somewhat mysteriously both parties are also discussing a “free encyclopedia.” As a former reference librarian my lingering love for reference books will compel me to figure out why this is a hot topic during the shutdown.
Unfortunately, the language of “compromise” does not dominate the discussions of either party. Both parties refer to “bipartisan legislation.” Republicans have discussed “compromise” but that word does not appear at all in the Democratic word cloud.
The top democratic social media term is #trumpshutdown. Democrats make liberal us of hashtags. Other hashtags include: #endtheshutdown, #forthepeople,#116congress, #HR8. #HR1, #Firststepact.
The Republicans appear to take a more conservative approach to hashtags. No “hashtags” are dominant in their social media cloud. After scrutinizing the chart I discovered #buildthewall and #Bordersecurity.
THE REPUBLICAN WORD CLOUD FOR OFFICIAL STATEMENTS
THE DEMOCRATIC WORD CLOUD FOR OFFICIAL STATEMENTS
THE REPUBLICAN SOCIAL MEDIA WORD CLOUD
THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIAL MEDIA WORD CLOUD
Dessau and his team have been working on several important developments which will drive deeper insights. The new word clouds will provide insights into the “intensity of language” as well as “emerging language” trends. The team has focused on “entity extraction” which has enabled users to filter content based on a variety of characteristics. A clustering feature will group words that commonly show up together. Colors will indicate the type of entity e,g, red for people, green for keywords, yellow for agencies.