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Using the Twitter Data Classifier Web Application (TDCWA) to Identify Social Issues for the Philippines’ Synod of Synodalities

ARC Team 02
2023-06-28 06:22 275

Using the Twitter Data Classifier Web Application (TDCWA) to Identify Social Issues for the Philippines’ Synod of Synodalities 

 Religion and Social Communication 21, no. 1 (2023)

Gian Lloyd B. Jacoba


Social Media has become one of the most reachable platforms for Filipinos to communicate with one another and share news and trending topics being discussed in the Philippines. Therefore, organizations can utilize a vast data collection and processing opportunity to help in their decision-making through Data Analytics and Machine Learning. One of the organizations that can benefit from Data Analytics and Machine Learning is the Roman Catholic Church. As the Church is currently holding its Synod of Synodalities, the Synod needs to be provided with unbiased societal issues that the Church must tackle as it moves towards an uncertain future. The paper offers a Data Analytics and Machine Learning solution using Twitter Data as the primary source of data to be processed. The study first scraped data from Twitter using a data-scraping application called Twint. Overall, 12,000 tweets were collected but had to be preprocessed. Descriptive analytics was utilized to determine the most frequently used words in the collected tweets. The social issues processed by the machine learning algorithm and discussed in the study can be used to augment and support the information already gathered by the Synod

Keywords: data analytics, machine learning, Synod of Synodalities, Roman Catholic Church, social issues 


1. Introduction  

1.1 The Church and Synodality  

In October 2021, the Catholic Church began the long journey of one of the most significant consultative processes in human history aimed towards addressing various issues being faced by the Catholic Church (Sanem 2022). The process, called Synod on Synodality, allows the Catholic Church to listen intently to connect deeply to the Body of Christ (CBCP News 2021). A Synod usually only lasts about a month and involves different bishops around the universal Church. However, the Synod of Synodalities that Pope Francis has called is very special in that everyone baptized in Christ is invited to participate. The Synodality is a “journeying together,” meaning “one listens to one another.” Pope Francis writes in the Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops in 2015 that the Church aims to be a Synodal Church, a listening church because we all have something to say and contribute. In today’s world, where technology and communication have become more accessible and widespread, the Church recognizes the importance of listening to the voice of the faithful who express their opinions and experiences on various platforms, such as social media.   

1.2 Social Media and Data Analytics  

Social media has become an integral part of modern society. Millions of people use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions. As the popularity of social media has grown, so has the need for sophisticated tools and techniques to analyze the vast amount of data generated by these platforms. Other social media sites like Twitter are specialized in sharing short messages (Hudson 2020). Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows subscribers to send and receive quick notifications, known as tweets. Tweets can contain up to 280 characters and links to related websites and resources. It is considered the Internet’s pulse, providing a fast and straightforward way to discover what’s happening worldwide. Users can find the most recent news, events, and trends on Twitter (Arigo et al. 2018). 

As social networking sites have expanded, data analytics techniques have been increasingly used to conduct research in fields such as politics, sociology, and finance by leveraging public data on these sites. Twitter data has become a particularly valuable source for social media analytics due to its accessibility and availability. Social media analytics involves analyzing data extracted from social media sites to generate useful information for various sectors of society, as Andryani, Negara, and Triadi (2019) point out. The business sector has primarily used social media analytics to understand the impact of their products and services on their customers. As the amount of data from social networking sites continues to grow, businesses have also realized the potential to improve their customer relations and marketing strategies by tapping into these resources (Carlson et al., 2018). With the increasing demand for social media analytics, the need for advanced data analytics techniques, such as machine learning, has risen, as noted by Alloghani et al. (2019). 

According to Sandhu (2018), machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that employs automated methods to resolve issues based on historical data without needlessly changing the primary procedure. Creating algorithms and using other computing methods to make machines smarter is the essence of artificial intelligence. It includes algorithms that use techniques, usually beyond human grasp, to think, act, and carry out tasks. Machine learning aims to resolve issues based on historical or previous examples. This includes discovering hidden patterns in the data (data mining) and then using the practices to categorize or forecast a problem-related event. In other words, machine learning provides the information that intelligent machines need to maintain their functionality (Kadhim 2019). 

Additionally, current research articles show that social media significantly impacts organizations (Bergström and Belfrage 2018). Organizations have identified data-driven methodologies as the perfect growth strategy (Salloum et al. 2017). After all, organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church can take advantage of Twitter’s data to learn people’s reactions regarding social issues popping up without asking them individually. Twitter is ideal for knowing the consensus of a group of people. Organizations are allowed to see the public’s sentiment (Anber, Salah, and El-Aziz 2016). The Roman Catholic Church, through Pope Francis, has maintained a presence in social media via his Twitter account, and the official Twitter account of the Pontiff has more than 19 million followers.

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