Pope Francis: an initial warm welcome. Social Media Content Analysis-MRI

NOTA: (Spanish) Puede acceder aquí al estudio sobre los 100 primeros tuits del Papa Francisco: su impacto, la influencia con respecto a otros líderes, temas tratados: Análisis de impacto de los 100 primeros tuits del Papa Francisco.


Agentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope of the Catholic Church by 13 march 2013. He has chosen Francis as pontifical name.

We have conducted a content analysis of the initial reaction of people in the social media. We have chosen Twitter.

We have depelopped a new reputation metrics tool at Media, Reputation and Intangibles Center, Universidad de Navarra, that we call Social Media Content Analysis, SMCA-MRI.

Through the quantitative content analysis of a massive number of tweets, we identify the tone of the social conversation. Typically, apps and quantitative metrics tools provide as result a classification of positive-neutral-negative tweets.

Even if these results (positive Vs negative comments) are valuable and useful in many cases, in other cases they don’t provide enough information. In many cases, the relevant outcome is not linked to how much positive the social conversation is, but which kind of positive aspects are outlind in the social media conversation.

With SMCA-MRI, we identify the tone of the social media conversation in relation with the main brand values: emotional, rational and negative components.

Values range between -1 (minimum level of association with the brand value component) and +1 (maximum level of association).

We have analyzed 10,400 tweets talking in an explicit way about Pope Francis. We have chosen tweets written in Spanish (“Papa Francisco”).

First figure refers to emotional brand value components. We have selected the component ‘I love’ (‘Me encanta’) and ‘Thrilling’ (‘Apasionante’). according to SMCA-MRI analysis, we find very high levels of positive emotional tone in tweets about the new Pope Francis in the night of his election (values between +0.6 to +0.8). It mantains values around +0.6 the day after his election.

Pope Francis twitter sentiment analysis initial reaction emotional values i love


Second figure shows results concerning brand values related with rational components.

We have chosen the brand value components ‘Sublime’ and ‘Admirable’.

We find again a conversation tone presenting high positive values. Initial reaction get values around +0.7 to +0.8. The day after it moves between +0.4 to +0.7.

Pope Francis twitter sentiment analysis initial reaction rational sublime admirable mri


Finally, and consistently with previous results, we observe a low association with negative brand values. We have chosen ‘Lamentable’ and ‘Pitiful’ (‘Patético’) components.

Valuea are stable aroung the 0 to +0.2 points.

Pope Francis twitter sentiment analysis initial reaction negative values lamentable pitiful


Our analysis shows that the global tone in Twitter in Spanish was extremely favourable and positive to the new Pope. This initial emotional reaction will of course diminish in the next days, as factual and non emotional content will emerge linked to the activity of the Pope. We will continue to monitor it.