Political debate is heating up in the US as we near the elections. And with the help of social media, this debate has been able to engage a huge audience online. A number of opinion polling firms have used data from social media to gauge the political popularity of candidates. Now, Twitter has launched an analytics tool of its own called the ‘Twitter Political Index.’
The tool relies entirely upon the tweets from the users to calculate the popularity of both Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama. First, the tweets take into note all such tweets which mention Obama or Romney. It then goes on to calculate which of these tweets are positive and which are negative; something which is normally done through certain pre-defined keywords.
Based on these calculations, Twitter then assigns a number to each candidate which shows just how popular he is on that evening. For instance, if Romney scores a 25, this would mean that the positive tweets about him were more than 25 percent of the total tweets mentioning him.
Twitter has built this tool in collaboration with data management team from Topsy and two other major opinion polling firms. However, some concerns have been raised about the accuracy of the way Twitter Political Index measures popularity.
For instance, in its blog post about this tool, Twitter does not reveal whether the tool takes note of the relative number of tweets about a candidate or not. If a candidate gets a very small number of mentions and all of them are positive, he may end up scoring really good on the index. On the other hand, if a candidate is mentioned thousands of times and gets mixed responses, he may end up scoring much low.
These objections may soon be answered, since Topsy plans to publish an analysis of the numbers, thus giving us a fair idea as to how the analysis actually works.
Courtesy: The Verge