The Dublin Beat – Understanding Citizen Sentiment
We live in the age of information where, globally, more people have mobile phones than have access to toilet facilities. Sharing our thoughts, opinions, complaints and celebrations daily, through multiple digital channels, has become common practice for huge swathes of the world’s population.
Dublin City Council, through the Smart Dublin initiative, is collaborating with Citibeats, to better understand how citizens experience the city region. Through social media analysis, local authorities can gain important insights into how citizens feel about key civic issues.
Citibeats is a social intelligence and speech analytics platform. Using natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, Citibeats organizes unstructured data – in this case, the opinions of citizens expressed via social media, in an anonymous and aggregate manner – and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to categorize and decipher the data. Data is presented via visual dashboards from which insights can be extracted and used to improve city life.
The Dublin Beat is a monthly report, produced by Citibeats, that presents this information; analysing trends and sentiments expressed by Dubliners via social media. It gives an overview of key issues such as how people feel about environmental issues, cultural events or city region developments.
The Dublin Beat can help local authorities to better understand how citizens feel about key issues and ensure that civic efforts and policy reflect the needs of communities. But of course, it is important to note that these insights are indicative only of the sentiments expressed by a cohort of citizens who use social media. Local authorities employ other methods to ensure truly inclusive citizen engagement.