THE ARGUMENTATIVE POTENTIAL OF CONTENT ON TWITTER USING THE EXAMPLE OF VARIOUS MESSAGES ON THE DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SOCIETY INDEX SUBTOPIC (DESI)

 

Nikolina BORČIĆ, VERN’ University

Mirela HOLY, VERN’ University

 

This paper explores the topic of The argumentative potential of content on Twitter using the example of various messages on the sub-theme of the Index of Digital Economy and Society (desi), of which colleagues Mirela Holy and I are the authors.

01

In the presentation we would first like to give a brief theoretical insight into the perspective of the research.

The research part consists of two parts, the analysis of the narrative of the document Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for Croatia 2021 and the analysis of the argumentative intentions of the Twitter messages, all related to the Croatian context within the themes of the document. Both analyzes are related to the key concepts / subthemes of the document.

The messages on Twitter are collected at DESI on the sub-themes of human capital, connectivity, digital technology integration and digital public services in the form of hashtags. The aim is to find out to what extent the domestic argumentation differs from the prevailing statements of the document. Such research may indicate a prevailing communication climate in social media conversations that reflects the society we live in.

02

The pandemic has highlighted the central role that digital technology plays in building a sustainable and prosperous future. As a result, the European Commission has proposed a pathway to the Digital Decade, a concrete plan to achieve the digital transformation of our society and economy by 2030. One of the key documents on which the Commission intends to build an annual cooperation mechanism is a Digital Economy and Society Index Report (DESI) to measure progress on each of the 2030 targets, including key performance indicators.

Accordingly, the Economic and Social Digitisation Index 2021 document (DESI) for Croatia is available on the ec.europa.eu website.

The European Commission monitors Member States’ progress on digitisation and has published annual Digital Economy and Society Index reports (DESI) since 2014. Each year, the reports include country profiles that help Member States identify areas for priority action, as well as thematic chapters that provide EU-level analysis in key digital policy areas. (Digital Economy and Society Index 2021, p. 2)

03

In 2021, the Commission adapted DESI to reflect the two major policy initiatives that will impact digital transformation in the EU in the coming years: the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Digital Decade Compass.

The indicators are now structured around the four main areas of the Digital Compass: Human Capital, Connectivity, Digital Technology Integration and Digital Public Services, replacing the previous structure with five dimensions.

In order to align DESI with the four cardinal points and the objectives of the Digital Compass, to improve the methodology and to take into account the latest technological and policy developments, the Commission has made a number of changes to the 2021 edition of DESI.

04

ANALYSIS – DOMINNAT NARRATIVES IN DOCUMENT

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) summarises indicators of Europe’s digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries.

Croatia ranks 19th out of 27 EU member states in the 2021 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The DESI 2021 reports are mainly based on data from 2020 and show the state of the digital economy and society in the first year of the pandemic. Croatia’s score increased thanks to improved performance in some of the measured DESI dimensions.

The first part of the research focuses on the narrative analysis of the document Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) for Croatia 2021. Narrative analysis is a qualitative analysis that marks the key words in the text, the words that are predominantly repeated and, accordingly, the theses to which these words and phrases refer.

05

HUMAN CAPITAL

The human capital dimension of the DESI has two sub-dimensions related to ‘Internet user literacy’ and ‘Advanced skills and development’. In the area of human capital, Croatia ranks 16th out of 27 EU countries. Compared to the EU average, the level of basic digital skills remains low. Only 53% of people aged 16-74 have at least basic digital skills. However, in the 16-24 age group, basic skills and digital skills above basic are the highest in Europe. Moreover, Croatia is above the EU average in basic digital skills (35% vs. 31%). For basic software skills, Croatia is only 2 percentage points (56%) below the EU average (58%). The share of ICT specialists in the labour force is lower in Croatia than the EU average (3.7%, EU average: 4.3%). The share of female ICT specialists is slightly lower than the EU average. Conversely, Croatian companies invest in ICT training for their employees: 23% of companies provide specific ICT training.

The predominant narratives are: low basic digital skills; highest digital skills in the 16-24 age group; average basic software skills; low percentage of ICT specialists, especially female ICT specialists; existing investments in specialised ICT training in enterprises

06

CONNECTIVITY – DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES

The Digital Decade defines two broadband connectivity goals for 2030: gigabit coverage for all households and 5G in all populated areas. The connectivity dimension of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) looks at both the demand and supply side of fixed and mobile broadband.

In terms of connectivity, Croatia ranks only 20th, with good coverage of high-speed broadband (86% nationwide and 39% in rural areas). In contrast, overall fixed broadband penetration is slightly below the EU average and will be 73% in 2020. The predominant technology remains xDSL.

Very high capacity fixed broadband (VHCN) penetration (47% rural and 11% rural) is below the EU average (59%) but steadily increasing. This is partly due to increasing fibre coverage, which will reach 36% in 2020 (7% in rural areas), and the recent partial migration of cable networks to DOCSIS 3.1 (34%).

Despite access to very high broadband speeds, broadband penetration of at least 100 Mbps is low (9%), although it has increased by 3 percentage points compared to 2019. Services at 1 Gbit/s are not yet taken up. Broadband prices are higher (price index of 60) than the EU average. In mobile, the country’s strength lies in its almost full 4G coverage and mobile broadband take-up, which is at EU level (71%). Croatia has allocated all 5G spectrum in the pioneer bands (5G readiness has reached 100%), but does not yet have full 5G coverage.

The dominant narrative are: good fast broadband coverage; below average overall fixed broadband network usage; below average very high capacity fixed networks (VHCN), low usage of broadband access with at least 100 Mbps (9 %); above average broadband prices; average almost full 4G coverage and mobile broadband download; lack of full 5G coverage.

07

INTEGRATION OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES

Digital technologies enable companies to gain competitive advantage, improve their services and products, and expand their markets. The digital transformation of businesses opens up new opportunities and promotes the development of new and trusted technologies. The EU’s digital sovereignty will depend on its ability to store, extract and process data while meeting trust, security and fundamental rights requirements. This dimension measures the digitisation of business and e-commerce.

Croatia ranks 13th among EU countries in the integration of digital technology. 62% of Croatian SMEs have at least a basic level of digital intensity, which is slightly above the EU average of 60%.

Regarding the use of ICT for environmental sustainability, 75% of Croatian companies record a medium/high intensity of environmentally friendly actions through ICT, which is significantly higher than the EU average of 66%. Croatian companies are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies. They actively participate in online trade: 30% of SMEs sell online and 10% sell cross-border to other EU countries. Advanced technologies are becoming more popular among Croatian businesses: 29% use cloud solutions and 21% use AI solutions. One in five businesses (22%) actively use social media, while one in four (26%) share information electronically. Croatia has seen a boom in e-invoicing, with a record increase in businesses using it, from 12% in 2018 to 43% in 2020. The use of Big Data analytics is also on the rise, reaching the EU average of 14% of businesses.

The dominant narrative are: above average integration of digital technologies; above average use of ICT for environmental sustainability; active participation of companies in online commerce; popularity of advanced technologies among Croatian companies; active use of social media; a boom in electronic invoices; average increase in the use of Big Data analytics.

 

08

DIGITAL PUBLIC SERVICES

Digital technologies are increasingly placing new demands and expectations on the public sector. Realising the full potential of these technologies is a key challenge for government organisations. Effective e-government can deliver a wide range of benefits, including greater efficiency and savings for both governments and businesses. It can also lead to greater transparency and openness. This dimension measures both the demand and supply sides of digital public services, as well as open data.

The Digital Decade aims for all key public services for businesses and citizens to be fully online by 2030. Indicators 4a3 and 4a4 monitor progress towards these goals.

In terms of digital public services, Croatia ranks 24th among EU countries and still underperforms in this dimension of the Digital Economy and Society Index. Online interaction between public authorities and citizens is below average. 52% of internet users use e-government services (EU average: 64%). On the indicator measuring the amount of pre-filled data in online forms of public services, Croatia is far below the EU average (43 points; EU average: 63). Croatia is also below the EU average in the availability of online digital services, both for citizens (score of 60; EU average: 75) and for businesses (score of 73; EU average: 84). In contrast, Croatia scores well on open data.

The dominant narrative are: below average performance in digital public services; below average level of online interaction between public authorities and citizens; below average share of pre-filled online forms for public services; below average availability of online digital services, both for digital services for citizens and for businesses; good results in the provision of open data.

10

The aim of this research is to find out to what extent the domestic argumentation differs from the prevailing arguments officially published in the European Union document on the basis of the investigation.

In order to achieve this goal, we have posed the following research questions:

1) What is the main intention of using topoi in arguments that follow Jonathan Charteris Black’s cathegorization?

2.To which issues do the supporting arguments refer and to which do the criticizing arguments refer?

3) Whether individuals express their views based on personal experience or refer to a text from the portal

4) Whether individuals present ideas and solutions or merely support/criticize the fact published on the portal?

 

11

Data collection was done by hashtags using DESI subtopics of, human capital, connectivity, integration of digital technologies, and digital public services in the form of hashtags.

The sample includes tweets from 01 January 2020 till 30 December 2020, as the DESI 2021 reports are mainly based on 2020 data and represent the state of the digital economy and society in the first year of the pandemic.

Argumentations-intentions (Charteris-Black, 2014): to support; to criticise; to ask; to inform; neutral mentoning

In order to analyse the argumentative potential of the tweets, we focus on following intents of the argumentation:

  1. to support
  2. to criticise
  3. to ask
  4. to inform
  5. neutral mentioning

 

12

Topoi can be described as parts of argumentation which belong to the obligatory, either explicit or inferable premises. They are the content-related warrants or ‘conclusion rules’ which connect the argument or arguments with the conclusion, the claim. We created the tweetdeck  selected 1000 tweets, from all tweets by using random number algorithm.

Content-related topoi

supporting

criticizing

questioning

informing

Neutral mentioning

 

 

digital skills

Analysis unit: one public status messages, replies, re-tweets or quotes

1000 twitts with hashtags relating to the:

HUMAN CAPITAL – digital skills; use of internet; acess barriers; ICT specialists; enterprises recruiting ICT;ICT Graduates; EU Code Week 2020;

CONNECTIVITY – DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES – Broadband coverage; Quantum computing

INTEGRATION OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES – Digital intensity index; ICT specialists in enterprises; Adoption of digital technologies by enterprises; Cloud computing; Big data; Artificial intelligence (AI); Sustainability; Unicorns; e-Commerce;

DIGITAL PUBLIC SERVICES – e-Government users; Pre-filled forms; Digital public services for citizens; Digital public services for businesses; Open data; User centricity; Transparency; Key enablers; Cross border services

 

use of internet

acess barriers

ICT specialists

enterprises recruiting ICT

ICT Graduates

EU Code Week 2020

Broadband coverage  

Quantum computing

Digital intensity index

ICT specialists in enterprises

Adoption of digital technologies by enterprises

Cloud computing

Big data

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Sustainability

Unicorns

e-Commerce

e-Government users

Pre-filled forms

Digital public services for citizens

Digital public services for businesses

Open data

User centricity

Transparency

Key enablers

Cross border services

 

13

CONCLUSION

– The pro-argumentation was based on the topoi of definition, responsibility, reality and numbers, with human capital dominating.

– The counter-argumentation/criticism was based on the topoi of definition, irresponsibility and reality, with the theme of connectivity /digital infrastructures dominating, but also concerning digital public services.

– The analysis shows that most tweets were based on topoi indicating the intention to criticize digital development in Croatia

– Dominant neutral mention related to the integration of digital technologies

 

In summary, public discourse on Twitter discusses these issues in general, referring to assertions from the media, citing individual texts from the portal, and is less based on personal experience or ideas and suggestions for solving a challenge. If such communication (based on experience) is an issue, it is mainly in the context of criticism.

——————

THE ARGUMENTATIVE POTENTIAL OF MEDIA DISCOURSES USING THE EXAMPLE OF VARIOUS MESSAGES ON THE DIGITAL ECONOMY AND SOCIETY INDEX SUBTOPIC (DESI)

 

Nikolina BORČIĆ

VERN’ University, Palmoticeva 82/1, Zagreb

nikolina.borcic@vern.hr

 

Mirela HOLY

VERN’ University, Palmoticeva 82/1, Zagreb

mirela.holy@vern.hr

 

 

Abstract

 

 

The pandemic has highlighted the central role that digital technology plays in building a sustainable and prosperous future. As a result, the European Commission has proposed a pathway to the Digital Decade, a concrete plan to achieve the digital transformation of our society and economy by 2030. One of the key documents on which the Commission intends to build an annual cooperation mechanism is a report on the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) to measure progress on the 2030 targets, including key performance indicators. Accordingly, the 2021 Economic and Social Digitisation Index document (DESI) for Croatia is available on the ec.europa.eu website.

As Croatia is included in the Digital Economy and Society Index document, this article aims to explore how the subtopics are communicated in the document Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021 – Croatia and how they are argumented in texts on most visited portal and on Twitter. The initial hypothesis of the article is that the topic of digitalisasion of economy and society is insufficiently represented in the analyzed media, and that the topics that are represented are supportive, critically and informatively presented from the perspective of argumentative intent. This paper uses a document analysis method of the Social Digitisation Index 2021 document and qualitative content analysis of the media discourses and Twitter discussion on the same topics, as listed within the document. The paper synthesises the results of this qualitative research and concludes that the public stands on the topics from the mentioned document are insufficiently discussed on the selected portals and social network.

 

 

Keywords: argumentation, Digital Economy and Society Index, public opinion, media discourse, Twitter

 

JEL classification:

M3      Marketing and Advertising

M38    Government Policy and Regulation

Q01     Sustainable Development

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The digital society and the digital economy are the key concepts of the Europe 2020 strategy. As information and communication technology (ICT) plays a crucial role in the development of contemporary society, the digital economy refers to the economy of goods and services directly related to the digital technologies on which the production, sale or delivery of these goods and services is based (Borowiecki et al., 2021: 3). The pandemic has therefore highlighted the role of digital technology for a sustainable and prosperous future. Given the importance that the European Union attaches to the digital development of all its Member States, it is important to monitor the evolution of the situation in each EU country. For this reason, the European Commission has been monitoring the digital progress of member states since 2014 through the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) reports. Each year, DESI includes country profiles that help Member States identify areas for priority action, as well as thematic chapters that provide an analysis of the main digital areas at European level, which is essential to underpin national policy decisions.

By 2021, the index DESI addresses five main areas: Connectivity, Human Capital, Use of the Internet, Integration of Digital Technologies and Digital Public Services. In addition, in March 2021, the European Commission[1] presented a Digital Compass for the EU’s Digital Decade, which revolves around the following four cardinal points: skills, government, infrastructure and business. To align DESI with the four cardinal points and the Digital Compass objectives, the Commission has made several changes to the 2021 edition of DESI. For example, the Commission[2] has adapted DESI in 2021 to reflect the two major policy initiatives that will have an impact on the digital transformation in the EU in the coming years: the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Digital Decade Compass. In line with these objectives, the indicators in the 2021 document are structured to track the four main areas of the Digital Compass: Human Capital, Connectivity, Digital Technology Integration and Digital Public Services.

As Croatia is included in the Digital Economy and Society Index, this article aims to examine how the development of Croatian digitalisation is communicated in the selected document DESI and how this communication on specific subtopics is disseminated on media portals and the microblogging platform Twitter in Croatia itself. The aim is to determine how the information about digitalization is presented on media portals and Twitter. Therefore, the subject of the analysis is the comparison between the way of communication in the formal administrative style of the document and the communication on media portals and Twitter. The initial hypothesis of the article is that the topic of digitalization of economy and society is insufficiently represented in the analysed media and that the topics represented are supportive, critical and informative from the perspective of argumentative intent. This paper therefore analyses and presents the relationship between formal administrative communication on topics and subtopics in the selected document DESI and the argumentative potential of discussions on these topics on media portals and on Twitter, in order to provide insight into the way argumentation on subtopics of document 2021 and the digital development of Croatia is conducted. The research combines the methodology of document analysis and qualitative content analysis. Document analysis is an analytical method in qualitative research for reviewing or evaluating documents to examine and interpret the data in order to draw out meaning, extend understanding and build empirical knowledge (Bowen, 2009: 27; see also Rapley, 2007). As the research aims to find out if and how the main topics and sub-topics are discussed on media portals andTwitter, the second phase of the research analyses media discourses using the sub-topics of DESI as follows: connectivity, human capital, use of internet services, integration of digital technologies and digital public services in the form of hashtags/keywords.

 

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)

 

The transformation of the technological structure of the modern economy has led to the emergence of a digital economy, which opens up significant opportunities and poses some threats (Kolomiets & Glushach, 2017). Digitalisation is changing business models, the political landscape and social norms. The goal of the World Economic Forum’s Systems Initiative Forming the Future of the Digital Economy and Society is to contribute to developing a shared digital environment that builds trust, which is the driving force for inclusion, economic development and social progress (Giannone & Santaniello, 2018).

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) was developed in 2014 in the European Union to identify priority investment areas to create the digital market and help EU countries improve digital productivity (Stoica & Bogoslov, 2017). Monitoring technological development to improve the national performance of EU Member States has become one of the main discussion points of the European Commission in order to keep pace with countries such as the US, Japan and South Korea. The index DESI characterises the progress of 27 European countries in the development of digital economy and society (European Commission, 2021). The basis of the study is the comparison of the values of the index or its components in different countries or the definition of the index value for a particular country (Pilinski, 2015). The DESI[3] was developed based on the guidelines and recommendations of the OECD Handbook on Composite Indicators: Methodology and User’s Guide[4].

The DESI 2021 reports are based on 2020 data and present the state of the digital economy and society in the first year of the pandemic. The output of this system is the Digital Economic and Society Development Index (DESI), a tool to identify a data system to quantify the state of technological development at macro and micro levels. The DESI country reports combine quantitative data based on indicators for the four dimensions of the Index, which correspond to the four compass points of the Digital Compass, with qualitative information on key national policy initiatives. The data included in the Index was mostly collected by national authorities. This includes data collected and verified by national statistical offices or by Eurostat, the Communications Committee (COCOM), data collected by IHS Markit, Omdia, Point Topic, Empirica and verified by national regulators, and by Capgemini from representatives appointed by the relevant ministries in each Member State.

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that aggregates relevant indicators of Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU Member States’ digital competitiveness. In this way, the DESI 2021 reports provide an overview of the state of digitisation in Europe, starting from a baseline in 2020, and reflect Member States’ digital ambitions for the next six years as reflected in their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP). These are not isolated areas contributing separately to digital development, but interlinked areas indicating the development of the digital economy as a consequence of the development of society. Accordingly, development can be promoted through coordinated improvements in all areas.

 

 

Research results

 

Analysis of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021 report for Croatia

 

The level of digital readiness of each member state of the European Union, including Croatia, is published in a separate document for each member state. According to the index, in 2014 Croatia was in 23rd place compared to the other members of the European Union, in 2015 it was in 24th place, in 2016 and 2017 it was one place better again, it was in 23rd place, while in 2018 the level of digital readiness put Croatia in 21st place (Jurčević, Mostarac & Lulić, 2020). In the reports[5] for 2019 and 2020, Croatia is ranked 20th, which is an improvement compared to 2019. In 2021, Croatia ranks 19th out of 27 EU Member States.

The reports DESI 2021 are mainly based on data from 2020 and show the state of the digital economy and society in the first year of the pandemic. Croatia’s score has increased thanks to improved performance in some of the measured DESI dimensions. Although progress can be seen compared to 2020, Croatia still belongs to the category of less prosperous countries. According to the Croatia report, Croatia performs worse on connectivity and digital public services. In connectivity, Croatia ranks 20th, while in digital public services it ranks 24th. According to the index DESI, Croatia performs best in the integration of digital technologies, where it ranks 13th, and in the area of human capital, where Croatia ranks 16th in the 2021 report.

The analysis of the content of the document DESI refers to the analysis of the discourse on the development of the digital economy in Croatian media. According to Potter (1997: 146), discourse analysis emphasises how versions of the world and the  society are produced in discourse. Following the document analysis, this chapter focuses on the analysis and presentation of the key narratives related to Croatia’s results in all individual areas of analysis. Document analysis as a qualitative research method is used in combination with other qualitative methods, which allows the researcher to draw on at least two sources (Yin, 1994). Therefore, the analysis of the report DESI can gain insights relevant to the research problem, that is, understanding the state of communication development in relation to the subthemes from the selected document. Document analysis involves the study, reading and interpretation that includes content analysis and thematic analysis to uncover and describe the public communication of the administration on specific topics DESI. Therefore, the discourse on development within the document is analysed through content and thematic analysis in order to uncover the dominant narratives about the development of Croatia in the categories of the DESI index.

The research unit is the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2021 report for Croatia, which is available on the website https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu[6]. In order to achieve this goal, this part attempts to answer the following research questions:

RQ1:What is the essential information conveyed in the communication about digital assessments in the document?

RQ2:What are the dominant narratives associated with it?

The interpretation of the results is presented in the following subsections: Human Capital, Connectivity – Digital Infrastructures, Integration of Digital Technologies and Digital Public Services.

Human capital
The human capital dimension of the DESI has two sub-dimensions related to Internet user literacy and advanced skills and development. In terms of human capital, Croatia ranks 16th out of 27 EU countries. Compared to the EU average, the level of basic digital skills remains low. Only 53% of people aged 16-74 have basic digital skills. However, in the 16-24 age group, basic skills and digital skills beyond basic skills are the highest in Europe. Croatia is also above the EU average in terms of basic digital skills (35% compared to 31%). The share of ICT specialists in the labour force is lower in Croatia than the EU average (3.7% compared to 4.3% for the EU average). The share of female ICT specialists is slightly lower than the EU average. Conversely, Croatian companies invest in ICT training for their employees: 23% provide specific ICT training. The prevailing narratives describing the situation in Croatia are the following: low basic digital skills, highest digital skills in the 16-24 age group, average basic software skills, low share of ICT specialists, especially female ICT specialists, existing investment in specific ICT training in companies.
Connectivity – digital infrastructures
The Digital Decade defines two goals for broadband connectivity in 2030: gigabit coverage for all homes and 5G in all populated areas. The connectivity dimension of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) looks at both the demand and supply sides of fixed and mobile broadband. In terms of connectivity, Croatia has made some progress with good high-speed broadband coverage (86% nationwide and 39% in rural areas) and ranks 20th. In contrast, fixed broadband penetration is slightly below the EU average. The predominant technology is still xDSL. The penetration of very high capacity fixed broadband (VHCN) (47% rural and 11% rural) is below the EU average (59%) but steadily increasing. Despite access to very high broadband speeds, penetration of broadband services with at least 100 Mbit/s is low (9%), although it has increased by three percentage points compared to 2019. Services with 1 Gbit/s are not yet taken up. Broadband prices are higher (price index of 60) than the EU average. In mobile, the country’s strength lies in almost full 4G coverage and mobile broadband take-up, which is at EU level (71%). Croatia has allocated all 5G spectrum in the pioneer bands (5G readiness has reached 100%), but does not yet have full 5G coverage. The predominant narratives describing the situation in Croatia are the following: good fast broadband coverage, below average overall fixed broadband usage, below average very high capacity fixed broadband (VHCN), low usage of broadband access with at least 100 Mbps (9%), above average broadband prices; average, almost full 4G coverage and mobile broadband download, no full 5G coverage.
Integration of digital technologies
Digital technologies enable companies to gain a competitive advantage, improve their services and products, and expand their markets. This dimension measures the digitalization of the economy and e-commerce. Croatia has the best ranking, 13th in the category of integration of digital technologies, where it is above the European Union, with a score of 40 against 37.6. 62% of Croatian SMEs have at least a basic level of digital intensity, which is slightly above the EU average of 60%. Regarding the use of ICT for environmental sustainability, 75% of Croatian companies record a medium/high intensity of environmentally friendly actions through ICT, which is significantly higher than the EU average of 66%. Croatian companies are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies. They actively participate in online trade: 30% of SMEs sell online and 10% sell cross-border to other EU countries. Advanced technologies are becoming more popular among Croatian companies: 29% use cloud solutions and 21% use AI solutions. One in five businesses (22%) actively use social media, while one in four (26%) share information electronically. Croatia has seen a boom in e-invoicing, with a record increase in businesses using it, from 12% in 2018 to 43% in 2020. Big Data analytics is also on the rise, reaching the EU average of 14% of businesses. The predominant narratives describing the situation in Croatia are the following: above average integration of digital technologies, above average use of ICT for environmental sustainability, active participation of companies in online commerce, the popularity of advanced technologies among Croatian companies, active use of social media, a boom in electronic invoices, average increase in the use of Big Data analytics.
Digital public services

Digital technologies are increasingly placing new demands and expectations on the public sector. This dimension measures both the demand and supply side of digital public services and open data. The goal of the Digital Decade is for all key public services for businesses and citizens to be fully online by 2030. Croatia is the worst in digital public services, ranking 24th, with a score of 52, compared to 68.1 for the EU as a whole. Online interaction between public authorities and citizens is below average. 52% of internet users use e-government services (EU average: 64%). On the indicator measuring the amount of pre-filled data in online public services, Croatia is far below the EU average. Croatia is also below the EU average in the availability of online digital services, both for citizens and businesses. The predominant narratives describing the situation in Croatia are the following: below average performance in digital public services, below average level of online interaction between public authorities and citizens, below average share of pre-filled online forms for public services, below average availability of online digital services, both for digital services for citizens and for businesses; good results in the provision of open data.

 

The argumentative potential of media texts and tweets

 

In the second part of the research, the qualitative content analysis method was used to investigate the presence and argumentative potential of information and attitudes within media discourses related to key narratives from the analysed DESI document on the state of digitalisation in Croatia, published in 2021. This research aims to determine how domestic arguments differ from the dominant arguments officially published in the report DESI.

The research questions in this part of the research are as follows:

RQ1: Are the issues of digitalisation represented on the portals analysed and on Twitter?

RQ2: To which topics do the supporting arguments refer and to which do the criticising arguments refer?

The analysis includes three digital extensions of the most searched media websites according to Digital Report 2021 for Croatia[7] the web portal Index.hr, then jutarnji.hr (a digital extension of the daily newspaper Jutarnji list) and dnevnik.hr (a digital extension of the information program NovaTV). According to Reuter’s research[8], Nova TV is the most watched television channel in Croatia, Index.hr is the most visited informational website, and Jutarnji list is the most read Croatian daily newspaper. Twitter was chosen because of the argumentative potential of the microblog on some issues of public importance. According to Statista, the user base of Twitter in Croatia in 2021 is about 0.41 million users.[9]

To gain better insight into the narrative patterns on the analysed portals and Twitter, we linked the analysis of argumentative potential within the qualitative content analysis to Jonathan Charteris-Black’s (2014) argumentation theory. According to Charteris-Black (2014; 2015), argumentation has the intention to support, criticise, question, inform, and neutrally mention.

The sample includes tweets and texts analysed from January 01, 2020 to December 2021, as the report of DESI 2021 are mainly based on data from 2020 and represent the state of the digital economy and society in the first year of the pandemic. The research unit is a text/tweet. The data was collected using hashtags/keywords covering the theme of the key narratives identified in the document analysis in the previous chapter.

Due to space constraints, only the key narratives are cited in the interpretation of the content analyses of selected portals and Twitter. The condition was that these narratives/themes occur in at least three texts/tweets in the sample of texts/tweets.

The three communication intentions frames prevalent in the analysed texts on the portals are support, criticism and information. Themes and narratives classified in the category of communication intentions for support are explaining the importance of digitization in general[10] and the process of digitization in business and promoting this process,[11] informing about the implementation of digitization projects in individual regions,[12] stimulating reflection on the future of jobs in the digital age.[13] The category of critical argumentation is dominated by topics related to public institutions, such as topics comparing the work and activities of institutions in Croatia with institutions in other countries,[14] or pointing to a certain poor quality of work of institutions[15] focusing on certain digital services[16] and, for example, associating the 5G network with conspiracy theories and pandemic issues.[17] The category of informative argumentation includes texts that inform about the results of digitalisation in Croatia according to the index DESI,[18] reflect education related to digital transformation[19]  and texts that comment positively on the development successes of individual companies,[20] especially mobile companies,[21] as well as information related to the introduction of new digital portals.[22]

Accordingly, the analysis of media discourses shows that the topic of digitization in general and specific topics and subtopics from the DESA Index report do not dominate the portals and social networks studied. The results indicate that media texts focus on specific subthemes reflecting three levels of intentions: Criticism of the current situation in Croatia with a focus on the work of public institutions, affirmative highlighting of the benefits of digitization for specific sectors, and highlighting the benefits of individual projects and companies to promote digitization.

Public discourse on Twitter discusses these issues in general, refers to claims from the media, quotes individual texts from the portal, and is less based on personal experience or ideas and suggestions for solving a challenge. If such communication (based on experience) is an issue, it is mainly in the form of criticism. Pro-argumentation is based on the topoi of definition, responsibility, reality and numbers, with human capital dominating. The counter-argumentation/criticism relies on the topoi definition, irresponsibility and reality, with connectivity/digital infrastructures dominating and digital public services. The dominant neutral mention relates to the integration of digital technologies.

 

Conclusion

 

The 2021 report from DESI cite data from the first or second quarter of 2020, providing insight into key developments in the digital economy and society during the first year of the pandemic. According to the European Commission’s DESI Index for 2021, Croatia has made progress in the digitalisation of the economy and society, with the greatest progress seen in connectivity, mainly due to investments in networks and 5G. Despite the improvements made, all Member States need to coordinate in order to achieve the 2030 Digital Decade targets in Europe. Accordingly, high quality and motivating media information on these topics is necessary in Croatia to reach a larger number of private and business media consumers and improve the results of the 2022 Index. Media information is one of the tools that can also be used to introduce better topics related to digitalization and encourage companies and individuals to engage more with topics that include the DESI Index. The research showed that this topic was insufficiently represented in the media analyzed. The topics that were represented were identified as supportive and presented critically and informatively from the perspective of argumentative intent. It follows that in Croatia it would be necessary to conduct a strategically organized media information on certain topics in order to contribute to the digitization of society and the economy.

 

 

 

 

 

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