Berlusconi, Socialcom/Adnkronos: cross-media event with 4.6 million social interactions

Positive sentiment grows for leader at funeral, Conte -20% for the only absentee

Berlusconi’s funeral was a media event broadcast live on the main national televisions and in streaming from the main online sites. Social networks were used by thousands of users to comment on live television in real time and to continue to leave messages of condolence for the departure of the former prime minister. Specifically, the Socialcom research, carried out exclusively for Adnkronos in collaboration with Social Data, analyzed over 13,000 conversations on the Italian network, over 4,600,000 interactions between comments, likes, shares and reactions.

Berlusconi’s funeral was talked about in particular on Twitter (51%), on news sites (22%) and on Facebook (16%). Conversations on the subject developed between the comments on the posts of the main newspapers that followed the state funerals with dedicated live broadcasts. The topic seems to have had less traction on Instagram and TikTok.

Berlusconi’s funeral was also followed and commented on abroad. Almost 10% of online conversations regarding his disappearance are in non-Italian languages, with a prevalence of English (2.3%) and Indian (1%).

Social conversations about Silvio Berlusconi’s funeral recorded percentages of more negative sentiment (53%), especially linked to the emotions of condolence, sadness and pain for his death. This is also evident from the most used reactions, in addition to the classic “like” which dominates the ranking, 4.1% used the emoticon with the crying face and 7.2% the heart. Among the most frequent emoji used in the comments we find the magnifying glass symbol which could indicate an interest in investigating or discovering more details about funerals, the symbol which generally represents the attention or importance attributed to the event. Other emojis like the heart reflect affection for Berlusconi, or sadness or pain at his passing.

A semantic analysis of the conversations was performed, which were divided into thematic macro-areas. In almost half of the conversations surrounding Silvio Berlusconi’s funeral, political topics are discussed, in particular related to the future of the centre-right and Forza Italia in the post-Berlusconi era and the attitude of political leaders in this phase. There were also many comments in relation to mourning (32.8%), the media context (15.5%) and emotions and feelings (11.5%).

The attitude of the leaders towards the state funeral was “judged” by users through comments and reactions. The variation in sentiment towards the main majority and opposition leaders was then analysed. In general, the leaders who attended the funeral at the Milan Cathedral saw the positive sentiment increase: +31% Giorgia Meloni, +27% Matteo Salvini, +23% Matteo Renzi +17% Elly Schlein, +12% Carlo Calenda. Giuseppe Conte, the only leader not to attend the funeral, saw a -20% reduction in positive sentiment.

The theme of national mourning, in relation to the death of Silvio Berlusconi, generated 5,000 conversations and over 1.7 million interactions. From these emerges the interest of the public in participating in funeral ceremonies and in expressing their affection and respect for the deceased political leader. In a decidedly marginal way, concepts relating to controversies and animated discussions or differences of opinion on the advisability of declaring national mourning for the death of Berlusconi also emerge.

“The state funeral for Silvio Berlusconi – commented Luca Ferlaino, founder of Socialcom – was a cross-media event. Users followed the images on television and simultaneously interacted on social platforms, especially Twitter. The controversy, relaunched by some media, on national mourning does not seem to occupy a relevant space in online conversations”.