Tweets About Global Development Topics

In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals ranging from reducing gender inequality to achieving zero hunger. Many consultations and expert groups were convened in the help determine what the new goals should be. As a complement to the United Nations’ MY World Survey, which asked people to chose the development topics that matter most to them, UN Global

Pulse, the Millennium Campaign and partners launched an effort at leveraging the power of social media to understand what people around the world care about. By filtering through over 500 million daily tweets, for 25,000 keywords relevant to 16 development topics, the interactive visualizations below show which countries tweeted most about global topics from May 2012 to July 2015.

Gender Distribution

Choose a country or a group of countries to see differences in how likely men and women are to tweet about a particular topic relevant to sustainable development. If you hover over a bar in the bar chart on the right, you can see what words are most commonly used by each gender for each topic. Disclaimer: Gender distributions should not be seen as being indicative of general gender biases on Twitter. The data shown in this dashboard are only inferences, and only apply to this particular study.

Compare how likely men and women are to tweet about each of the 16 topics.

    Click here for a summary analysis, and here for the GitHub repository.

    World Map of Post-2015 Conversations on Twitter

    Choose a development topic on the right and see which countries talk relatively more about that particular topic. The more they talk about it, the darker the colour will be.

    • A good education
    • Access to clean water and sanitation
    • Action taken on climate change
    • Affordable and nutritious food
    • An honest and responsive government
    • Better healthcare
    • Better job opportunities
    • Better transport and roads
    • Equality between men and women
    • Freedom from discrimination
    • Phone and internet access
    • Political freedoms
    • Protecting forests rivers and oceans
    • Protection against crime and violence
    • Reliable energy at home
    • Support for people who can't work

    What is this?

    In the year 2000, world leaders at the United Nations agreed to a global development framework known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Eight in total, with accompanying indicators and targets, the MDGs provided a roadmap to halve poverty worldwide by 2015, focusing attention and investment on 8 particular targets.

    Leading up to the 2015 deadline, the UN, in partnership with civil society and the private sector underwent a process to reflect on the MDGs, and develop a new global framework for the future. As part of that so-called Post-2015 process, the UN reached out to the global public for input through consultation meetings, surveys and more.

    As a supplemental exercise, Global Pulse and the Millennium Campaign worked to demonstrate the potential of Big Data and visual analytics as a truly 21st century way of unearthing which global development topics everyday people are concerned about and prioritize, even if they are not involved in the official Post-2015 process.

    The interactive visualizations above show differences between countries and income groups, and between the two sexes in each of those groups.

    Post-2015 Twitter Analysis Facts

    % women*

    * Based on the 44% of tweets where gender was possible to determine from the user's name.

    Total Tweets
    Tweets with links
    Tweets with @mentions
    English Tweets
    French Tweets
    Spanish Tweets
    Portuguese Tweets

    How was it done?

    Mining tweets from all over the world


    UN Global Pulse Logo UNMC Logo

    in collaboration with

    DataSift Logo

    with support on gender analysis

    Data2X Logo Centre For Innovation - Leiden University

    About Global Pulse

    Global Pulse is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General, exploring how new, digital data sources and technologies can help policymakers gain a better understanding of changes in human well-being.

    Recognizing both the urgent need for real-time information and the extraordinary opportunity “Big Data” represents for global development, Global Pulse functions as UN’s innovation hub, transforming how we use real-time digital data to understand the needs of vulnerable populations and measure the impact of our programs.

    Through its headquarters lab in New York and country level Pulse Labs in Jakarta and Kampala – Global Pulse brings together experts from private sector, government, UN and academia to collaborate on joint research, applying Big Data and real-time analytics to global development and resilience challenges.

    Read our introductory guide to "Big Data for Development"
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