Social Analysis: Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples Day

Heather Satterfield Heather Satterfield, Marketing Manager

October 9, 2017 will go down as day of debate. It was the point when many cities and states decided to abandon the celebration of Columbus Day, instead turning it into the commemoration of Indigenous Peoples Day. Much of the discussion and debate surrounding this day of celebration played out on Twitter. Using Sysomos Search we are able to get social analysis on what people were saying on Twitter as the day unfolded.

After performing separate Twitter sourced queries within Search using “Columbus Day” OR “#ColumbusDay” and “Indigenous Peoples Day” OR “#IndigenousPeoplesDay” from October 6 – October 10, 2017 we were able to see the trends and demographics of what people on Twitter were saying in regards to both instances of this celebrated day.

Let’s first start with the results from the Columbus Day query. In looking at the activity it’s evident that this topic was most talked about around 2pm where the spike is noticeable. This coincides with news from top new sources regarding President Trump’s Columbus Day speech.

Below are the details regarding the reach and influence of those tweeting and posting about Columbus Day. In the span of less than 4 days over 500k Twitter users were mentioning Columbus Day.

Based on gender, it looks like women weren’t keen on talking about Columbus Day. Out of the 500k+ users on Twitter, men seemed to dominate the Columbus Day chatter.

Looking at the sentiment can be a helpful piece of social analysis because it provides insight into the feelings behind the words. To this point we see that over 600k mentions of Columbus Day were on Twitter, with men creating or sharing the most Columbus Day related content. When combining the positive and negative mentions only, we learn that those mentions result in a 62% positive sentiment.

Through Search we are also able to see the top sources to pinpoint what influencers were Tweeting regarding Columbus Day. Here are a couple examples of the top tweets for Columbus Day using Search:

We applied the same Search parameters, but flipped the query to Indigenous Peoples Day to see the analysis and trends on Twitter. You’ll note that there are significantly less people discussing Indigenous Peoples Day on Twitter, but the analysis is still compelling.

What’s interesting is that of the almost 316k mentions of Indigenous Peoples Day over half came from women. Perhaps this could account for the low female voice in regards to the Columbus Day query.

As mentioned previously, sentiment allows you to take a look at the emotions within the data. As for Indigenous Peoples Day when we combine both positive and negative mentions only, the sentiment results are 81% positive. That’s 19% more positive than the Columbus Day query. You could consider that of the 21% who favored a negative sentiment towards Columbus Day, 90% of these users had positive sentiment towards Indigenous Peoples Day.

Using Search, we were also able to see the top tweets for Indigenous Peoples Day. What’s interesting is that in many of the top tweets you can sense the positive sentiment for Indigenous Peoples Day, while seeing the negative sentiment for Columbus Day. This is also true in the Columbus Day analysis. Most of the tweets unfavorable of Columbus Day were in favor of Indigenous People Day. Below are a couple of the top Tweets from the Indigenous Peoples Day query from Search:

On a day that has been widely counter-celebrated over the years, we are now able to see through social analysis that it has gained momentum. In 2016 Columbus Day had only 39k mentions on Twitter, while Indigenous Peoples Day had 188k, both saw a significant uptick within the social media landscape. Suggesting that tides turn just as they did back in 1492.

If you are interested in learning more about Sysomos Search, I encourage you to sign-up for a free trial and enjoy the flexibility to search for anything, anytime.