#GeneralConference: What do Tweets say about October 2020 General Conference?

Which General Conference topics caught your attention? What were the predominant themes? What did you share on social media regarding General Conference?

General Conference covered many topics and included various lessons (this is not a comprehensive list or analysis, just quick insights), but one predominant theme was reassurance. The largest thematic community of General Conference addresses, drawn from all text in Conference, is characterized by the three words God, love, and time. Some of the most frequent words and themes reflect patience and trust in God, referencing connections between promise(s) and blessing(s). The network diagram below reflects frequency and connections among the 150 most common nodes (words) in the October 2020 General Conference.

Network Diagram: General Conference[1]

Tweets with #GeneralConference

Twitter content related to General Conference reflected similar themes, with some exceptions. The following network diagram reflects frequency and connections among the 150 most common nodes (words) on tweets containing #GeneralConference in the past 7 days (English only).

Network Diagram: Tweets[2]

Theme: Reassurance and Resolve

One of the most frequent words in #GeneralConference tweets was pandemic. Most tweets described our divine relationship with God as his children and touched on pray[er], hope, faith, and time. Tweets reflect resolve among Saints to patiently endure the trials associated with the current pandemic, consistent with counsel and direction expressed in Conference.

Outlier: (Racial) Equality

While racial equality and respect did not dominate Conference addresses in terms of word frequency and content, leaders made powerful declarations on these topics in a way that resonated with viewers and listeners, according to Twitter hashtags. Terms relating to race were infrequent in Conference (not among the top 150 most frequent terms), but such terms were common in Twitter posts, constituting three of the eleven main topical groups of speech identified according to Louvain community detection algorithm (greater respect, race, and prejudice characterized these main topical groups). Tweets included direct quotes, listing other words linked to equality spoken in Conference such as bond and free, male and female, black, and white, unity, and diversity. Whereas God, Christ, and Lord were the most influential elements in Conference (words with the greatest betweenness centrality, “appear[ing] most often on the shortest path between any two randomly selected words”)[3], love was only slightly behind God as one of five most influential words in #GeneralConference tweets.

Outlier: Temple Construction

In the text version of General Conference addresses, President Russell M. Nelson announced locations of new temple construction in only one sentence, but that topic dominated Twitter feeds. Tweets with #GeneralConference often contained one of the mentioned locations, most frequently listing either Vanuatu, Kiribati (pron. "Kiribass"), Sao Paulo, or Guatemala. People are clearly excited about these new temples!

Final Thoughts

Faith, hope, and charity are essential for salvation and are extremely relevant today. These themes were prevalent in General Conference, as reflected by text analysis of Conference addresses and reactions to those addresses. Much discussion on the coronavirus and conditions today revolved around faith and hope, whereas charity is the bedrock of discussion on equality. In Ether 12:28, we read, “Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.” Developing faith, hope, and charity brings us closer to Jesus Christ. There is a lot of despair and confusion in the world today and a number of proposals and solutions to overcome these challenges, but following the Prophet and church leaders is an assured way to feel peace and find answers based on modern revelation from The One who knows all things.

[1]Generated using Infranodus (accessible with subscription at Text contains 54,813 words (included subtitles in written transcript form of General Conference addresses, but removed variations of the final phrase “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen” to remove redundancies that would skew analysis. Love is part of the main topical group (23%), far exceeding others (13% and below).

[2]Generated using Infranodus. Based on Infranodus pull of tweets from previous seven days (ending at approximately 2300h EST on October 6, 2020). Again, love is part of a main topical group (9%).

[3]See the description for Most Influential Elements in the Infranodus graph analytics tour.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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