Speak your mind, the Turks and Caicos community
Communities are shaped by the people within them and according to Wikipedia, described as "a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common". Communities can range from close neighbours to global WhatsApp groups but what defines them is the participation (or lack thereof) of their members. With the rising popularity of public forums, thanks to the likes of Facebook and Reddit, the Turks and Caicos has it's very own digital community known as "Speak Your Mind TCI".
At THRIVE, one of our key objectives is to help develop thriving communities so what better place to understand what's going on in the Turks and Caicos than through it's own local forum. For those of you who may be less familiar, SYM has a little over six thousand members and for the most part consists of announcements and debates among it's members. Like other digital forums debates can often get heated, but it does spark healthy discussions from politics, to property development with everything in between. When considering the volume and speed of comments generated by the individuals, it can be tricky to get a grasp of the overall conversation and sentiment by the group. Reading line by line can be quite time consuming and even then doesn't give you an idea of what everyone is saying. That's where big data analysis comes in.
We started with a look at the last couple of week's posts on SYM (not including comments) to get an idea of what the members are talking about. This was done objectively, including all posts over the period so as to include all the words by the members (but does not include any images which are often shared). Like the US, we are in election season here in the islands so many of the discussions centre around nationalistic topics; Turks and Caicos, election parties and the countries relationship with the British government as the TCI is a British overseas territory. One interesting point which shines through is the repeated use of "will" in the posts which implies there is a strong emphasis on the future of the "people" within it. There is also frequent mentions of "young" which illustrates the importance of the youth within the community.
One post which sparked much discussion related to a local jitney driver, who allegedly stabbed a passenger in dispute over a fare, originally reported by Magnetic Media (a local news provider). There were plenty of comments about the incident which have been visualised below, as you would imagine "jitney", "man" and "pay" all feature heavily. What is interesting in the frequency of "government" being mentioned which relates to the illegal taxis and the communities' hope for political intervention.
There was also a lengthy post by former TCI Premier Michael Missick regarding local recruitment of islanders into the British military services. The statement is clearly aimed at the British and the Turks Island young people who would be most affected by the new recruitment drive.
There were plenty of comments by the community responding to his statement which emphasised the "opportunity" to many young people which was less apparent in the original statement.
Lastly, with the Turks and Caicos being so heavily reliant on tourism we thought it would be interesting to take a broad look at the country's website to see what features heavily within the text. Like most holiday based sites there's plenty of imagery which unfortunately doesn't feature in the illustration below, but for those of you considering a visit or even locally, it gives clear indication of what we are all about.
Data visualisation and social insights are just a couple of the tools we utilise at THRIVE, if you are interested in finding out more about what we do feel free to drop us a note, we'd love to hear from you.