It’s been a rough year for Schengen, Europe’s free travel area. The refugee crisis that hit the continent over the summer of 2015 (but that had been brewing for quite some time…) triggered widespread panic and collective hysteria among Europeans. Draconian measures have been imposed at Europe’s external frontiers, while internal border checks have been reintroduced in an ever growing number of countries… Schengen, often hailed as one of the most iconic symbols of European integration, seems to be on the verge of collapse. In this rather gloomy context, Europeans (be it politicians and the population at large) are becoming more and more pessimistic about the future of continental border-free travel, if they are not actively conjuring its ultimate demise… That’s the picture in Europe (or at least how I see it), but what about elsewhere? What do people around the world think of Schengen? European borders have been a lot in the news recently, but has this newly found visibility translated into active engagement (or any engagement at all) with what not that long ago was a very obscure topic that only few nerdish aficionados beyond Europe (that includes me) would mention in a conversation (virtual or not)? Your very own Schengenizer is trying to find out! Between August 2015 and July 2016 I have been monitoring social media (i.e. twitter) activity by private individuals (so not media or official sources) located outside Europe who mentioned Schengen in their tweets. Here are some very preliminary results, which cover the number of tweets produced over time and a sentiment analysis of their content (NB: a special thank to Syeda Amberin for compiling the data and concocting the Python code!) . More to come, together with the analysis of the data and methodological clarifications (so, for the time being, don’t quote me on this!).
Schengen beyond Europe – Twitter presence (August 2015- July 2016)
Schengen on Twitter – Sentiment analysis (August 2015-July 2016)
Schengen on twitter – Overall sentiment outside Europe (August 2015-July 2016)