Wikipedia-analysis: Networks at the G20
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron at the centre. Donald Trump and Canada’s Justin Trudeau in marginal positions. And halfway between Trump and Merkel, almost like an intermediary: Vladimir Putin. This picture emerges when you analyse the heads of state and government currently gathered at the G20 summit using network software.
The Condor program, developed by MIT researcher Peter Gloor, identified all the connections between and surrounding the G20 participants on English-language Wikipedia (which explains why participants from English-speaking countries occupy so much space).
The Chinese premier, Xi Jinping, is clearly making headway with his strategy to lead China from a marginal role to the centre of the global discourse, but he hasn’t quite achieved it yet: Donald Trump may be significantly more marginal than Xi, but the centre is still reserved for Europeans – including Putin. The one exception is Theresa May, who is apparently leading the UK not just out of the EU, but also out of globalisation. The centre of the G20 network image is reserved for the host, in this case Angela Merkel. If a position between two people can be understood as an intermediary role, then Merkel has a very straightforward intermediary between her and each of her toughest foreign rivals, Trump and Erdogan: Merkel and Trump are linked through Vladimir Putin, and Merkel and Erdogan through the King of Saudi Arabia.
To discover how close Trump and Putin are, we can turn to a different analysis tool – Tribefinder, also developed by Peter Gloor. This software uses the text of a Twitter account to determine to what extent the account owner belongs to each of three "tribes": the left-environmentalist "treehuggers" (green), the technocratic "nerds" (blue) and the right-nationalist "fatherlanders" (yellow). The G20 Twitter account with the highest fatherlander percentage (currently only possible for English-language accounts) is Donald Trump. In second place is Vladimir Putin's English Twitter account. At the other end of the tribe scale is Justin Trudeau, with a very un-nationalistic and correspondingly stronger ecological result. And Theresa May is somewhere in between.