Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

From “Bangtan Boys” to “International Relations Professor”: Mapping Self‐Identifications in the UN’s Twitter Public

Full Text   PDF (free download)
Views: 765 | Downloads: 417

Abstract:  Digitalization and social media established world-encompassing publics that engage with international organizations. While scholarship has analyzed how international organizations communicate with such digital publics, this article determines who participates in these publics. We created a novel dataset to map the UN’s digital public on Twitter and analyzed the bios of 243,168 accounts that have interacted with the UN. Members of this public provide self-identifications (such as researcher, consultant, or scientist) that indicate a professional interest in the UN. We analyzed clusters of users that self-identify with similar words. We find high heterogeneity in the UN’s digital public: Clusters of professional, academic, and organizational users suggest that the technocratic history of international organizations reflects in the members of its digital public. At the same time, the digital public of the UN extends to very different groups (human rights activists and K-Pop fans feature in the UN’s public on Twitter). We demonstrate for future research how multiple correspondence analysis can reveal clusters in unstructured biographical data. The article contributes the first analysis of self-identifications in digital publics of global politics.

Keywords:  big data; international organizations; publics; Twitter; UN


Supplementary Files:


© Luis Aue, Florian Börgel. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.