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Using Twitter Data To Approximate a Telephone Survey

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-gaming-this-system-no-sir dept.

Social Networks 68

cremeglace writes "A team led by a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University has used text-analysis software to detect tweets pertaining to various issues — such as whether President Barack Obama is doing a good job — and measure the frequency of positive or negative words ranging from 'awesome' to 'sucks.' The results were surprisingly similar to traditional surveys. For example, the ratio of Twitter posts expressing either positive or negative sentiments about President Obama produced a 'job approval rating' that closely tracked the big Gallup daily poll across 2009. The analysis also produced classic economic indicators like consumer confidence." By averaging several days' worth of tweets on presidential job approval, the researchers got results that correlated 79% with daily Gallup polling. Lead researcher Noah Smith said, "The results are noisy, as are the results of polls. Opinion pollsters have learned to compensate for these distortions, while we're still trying to identify and understand the noise in our data. Given that, I'm excited that we get any signal at all from social media that correlates with the polls." Here is CMU's press release.

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68 comments

In fiction... (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177864)

Has anyone read Neal Stephenson's novel "Interface"? We're getting oh so close to it.

Re:In fiction... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32177972)

wubbawubbawubbawubbawubbawubbawubbawubbawubbawubba

(Obligatory compression filter workaround)

Demographics Anyone (4, Insightful)

mrtwice99 (1435899) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177894)

It seems that the age demographics of twitter users wouldn't be very representative of the population as a whole.

Re:Demographics Anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32177990)

Neither are the people called by telephone pollsters, of course.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

CrazeeCracker (641868) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183788)

I don't know what makes you say this, unless you're suggesting that the "people who have listed phone numbers" demographic is somehow not representative of the population as a whole, but telephone polls, if done properly, have the benefit of taking completely random, and thus fairly representative samples. (Again, if done correctly, i.e. large enough sample base, using proper selection algorithms, and evaluating the data sensibly.)

Re:Demographics Anyone (2, Insightful)

acohen1 (1454445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32184560)

Indeed. The "people who have listed phone numbers" demographic is most certainly not representative. I don't have one, neither do 3/4 or more of my friends. I think the only ones who do are homeowners, everyone else has just a cell. So there are certainly age and economic status issues here.

Re:Demographics Anyone (3, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177992)

Let's not forget all other demographics. Ethnicity, gender, income, employment - just to name a few. Twitter is an amazing resource, but it's hardly representative of humanity or the nation. That said - it can still yield useful data if its limitations are taken into account.

Re:Demographics Anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32178116)

Let's not forget all other demographics. Ethnicity, gender, income, employment - just to name a few. Twitter is an amazing resource, but it's hardly representative of humanity or the nation. That said - it can still yield useful data if its limitations are taken into account.

Yes. Those limitations include:

  • Users who jump on trendy bandwagons because "everybody else is doing it." (Guess that one IS representative of mainstream America)
  • Users who think Twitter is some great innovation that does anything that wasn't possible 10-20 years ago
  • Users who care too much about what other people are doing (see "trendy bandwagon" above) since it determines most of their behavior, expect everyone else to be the same way, and therefore participate in opinion polls and surveys since they believe in this system.

This list is not exhaustive.

Re:Demographics Anyone (2, Insightful)

Yold (473518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178106)

not to mention economic indicators; most poor people don't have iPhones that they can tweet their every whim. Some people also don't twitter their political views. This whole thing screams selection bias.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 3 years ago | (#32180608)

> This whole thing screams selection bias.

How is that different from phone polls?

Re:Demographics Anyone (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178942)

Hell even a telephone poll, provided they picked landlines out of a phone book are increasingly less representative of the population as a whole. Young people are abandoning land-line phones to go cell phone only, most of them unlisted. I wonder how the pollsters are adapting to these demographics.

Hell, I have been considering even getting rid of the phone part of the cell phone and going data only, with Skype et al, is there even any point in paying the $30 or $40 a month for voice service?

Re:Demographics Anyone (2, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 3 years ago | (#32180650)

Hell, I have been considering even getting rid of the phone part of the cell phone and going data only, with Skype et al, is there even any point in paying the $30 or $40 a month for voice service?

I've thought about that two, but:
1. You've got to support non-tech people 'calling in', (OK, you've got SkypeIn', but
2. Whadda you do when you cut your leg off @ home, and either Skype or your local data link is down? POTS is very reliable..

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 3 years ago | (#32181030)

2. Whadda you do when you cut your leg off @ home, and either Skype or your local data link is down?

Agreed. This has happened to me five times already.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#32181056)

You still have a phone number... Just get a PAYG SIM with a data plan, e.g. three have 3 GB/month for £5/month.

Not sure how it would work with paying for receiving calls in the US. It's a pretty crazy system if you ask me - what happens if someone calls you and you have no money on your phone?

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183192)

@#2 I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not but in the case of a 911 emergency cellular phones without a SIM or account are still capable of dialing out. (At least phone's I'm aware of can). Basically if you're stranded somewhere without a land-line and your account is frozen you can still dial 911 and it will go through. You can't dial other numbers however. Also a thing to note is that your phone will be more aggressive when fetching a signal. I've been able to get a 911 connection when my phone reported "no service". On top of that if you're not a preferred carrier (your carrier rents towers from a larger corporation) you sometimes will not be able to call out if the towers are 'occupied', but with 911 it forces your connectivity.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 3 years ago | (#32192376)

@#2 I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not but in the case of a 911 emergency cellular phones without a SIM or account are still capable of dialing out. (At least phone's I'm aware of can). Basically if you're stranded somewhere without a land-line and your account is frozen you can still dial 911 and it will go through. You can't dial other numbers however. Also a thing to note is that your phone will be more aggressive when fetching a signal. I've been able to get a 911 connection when my phone reported "no service". On top of that if you're not a preferred carrier (your carrier rents towers from a larger corporation) you sometimes will not be able to call out if the towers are 'occupied', but with 911 it forces your connectivity.

Your phone is not "more aggressive when fetching a signal"; it's just that 911 calls will be routed via ANY carrier's network.

Re:Demographics Anyone (2, Interesting)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32181050)

I think telephone polls only reach one demographic - people willing to take a survey over the phone, who don't instantly hang up on random callers, who don't have anything better to do, and who think other people give a crap what they think. This demographic does not represent me and I doubt it covers most of the US.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

Phyvo (876321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32183584)

The thing is, even if a telephone poll can never represent the people who don't like taking telephone polls, is not taking telephone polls really correlated with other opinions, e.g. Obama approval? If it isn't than the difference between poll haters and poll participants will be insignificant. If it is, I'm no statistician, but it might be possible to measure the difference and apply it to a telephone poll.

My guess is that they probably have been doing this already for quite awhile, if it's at all possible.

Re:Demographics Anyone (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32186188)

It does however cover "people who want to see what these telephone poles are about".

The lady asks me "Are you more likely to vote Democrat or Republican?".

I say, "Neither. I'm Libertarian."

"You must choose either Democrat or Republican."

"But I wouldn't vote for either of those yahoos. Your survey is flawed."

And so it went for half an hour. It was fun.

Re:Demographics Anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32180212)

Agreed, 7 percent of the population with the attention span of a gnat.

this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177896)

I'm guessing it will take no more than a month for a combination of "conservative" and "progressive" blogs to rev up their teams of dittoheads to start flooding Twitter with politically themed messages, thus totally skewing the results. Same principle as Google-bombing, I guess. As someone who already views Twitter as almost entirely content-free, I can't say I'm particularly dismayed by this possibility. . . but anything that encourages the self-absorbed political zealots of this country can't possibly be good.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177998)

Exactly my first though. Observing something will always change how that something behaves.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178440)

Let's see - a phone survey attempts to approximate a walk-out poll, which attempts to approximate a voting trend which attempts to approximate the outcome of an election.

So what I'm hearing is that we'll be voting via www.twitface-bloggerspewTMI.com any day now, is that about right?

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178550)

Observing something will always change how that something behaves.

Astute observation, Doctor Heisenberg. [wikipedia.org]

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178186)

I'm guessing it will take no more than a month for a combination of "conservative" and "progressive" blogs to rev up their teams of dittoheads to start flooding Twitter with politically themed messages

Well, sure, that is to be expected. Those two groups have much arguing to do about the purpose for which the size and power of the federal government should be expanded. Twitter could be an important growth area for them.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (2, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178344)

I was thinking of a solution to the selection bias problem that I think would also help with this issue. The researchers could "profile" different users by looking at their history. New users (with little history) and frequent but consistent users (several negative messages about a candidate a day, effectively users that tweet very little useful information) can be discounted, while more dynamic users that change their opinions in interesting ways and correlate with polls can be counted more.

Pollsters often weight their results to improve accuracy, and this would be no different. It would also remove obvious attempts to influence the results.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178410)

I'm guessing it will take no more than a month for a combination of "conservative" and "progressive" blogs to rev up their teams of dittoheads to start flooding Twitter with politically themed messages, thus totally skewing the results.

I love seeing them rally the troops to get everybody to go and vote on the unscientific polls that pop up all over the internet. I suppose one should never discount their importance. As an example, I'm sure that CNN's current quick vote poll, "Do you agree with President Obama's choice of Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court?" will determine the success or failure of the nomination process.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (4, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178428)

anything that encourages the self-absorbed political zealots of this country can't possibly be good.

I dunno. Encouraging them to wast their time on Twitter instead of doing things that might have an actual impact on the world sounds like a pretty good idea to me! :)

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178858)

I'm guessing it will take no more than a month for a combination of "conservative" and "progressive" blogs to rev up their teams of dittoheads to start flooding Twitter with politically themed messages, thus totally skewing the results. Same principle as Google-bombing, I guess. As someone who already views Twitter as almost entirely content-free, I can't say I'm particularly dismayed by this possibility. . . but anything that encourages the self-absorbed political zealots of this country can't possibly be good.

It will be similar to how most polls are biased in how they present questions and the results are manipulated to prove points.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

doug141 (863552) | more than 3 years ago | (#32179168)

I was surprised to see your prediction of both conservative and progressive attempts to skew results. According to examples on wikipedia, Google-bombing and Googlewashing are propaganda tools historically used almost exclusively by progressives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb [wikipedia.org]

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32180056)

Google-bombing and Googlewashing are propaganda tools historically used almost exclusively by progressives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb [wikipedia.org]

Much like puppet shows and nude marches.

Re:this is going to be obsolete almost immediately (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#32181834)

I was surprised to see your prediction of both conservative and progressive attempts to skew results. According to examples on wikipedia, Google-bombing and Googlewashing are propaganda tools historically used almost exclusively by progressives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bomb [wikipedia.org]

Makes sense; conservatives usually stick to editing Wikipedia.

Self-selecting Samples & Goodhart's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32180306)

This is why you can't have self-selecting samples.

Also, this applies a lot more broadly. They call it Goodhart's Law [wikipedia.org] . For example, there's an example about a fictitious Communist factory making nails [lesswrong.com] . When they were told that they had to make X nails, they made small and useless ones to meet the goal. When they were told that they had to make them by weight, they made a few ridiculously large ones.

Brb making multiple twitter accounts (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32177904)

Just like traditional pollsters, social media researchers will have to address how representative Twitter users are of the general population. And unlike telephone surveys, small groups of people can wildly skew the results of Internet data,

Yes I did STFA (Skim the fucking article).

It mentioned the two main problems I see with this, cheating the system and whether twitter really is a large enough sample and a random enough sample to be considered a viable alternative.

Twitter has a whole range of people who don't actually use the damned thing. As with any poll though, people are going to say that the minority polled is what everyone says.

"The American people want to do x! Our poll says 80% of the American people want it!" No. No it doesn't. It just means 80% of the people you polled want it.

I despise how easy it is to use statistics and polls to manipulate people.

Re:Brb making multiple twitter accounts (3, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178390)

We had a report on net filtering here the other night. 95% want filters, 80% oppose them. I conclude that at least 50% are confused.

79% is not fantastic (5, Informative)

Ed Peepers (1051144) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177932)

I've collaborated on research using Twitter traffic as a predictor so I applaud their efforts, but a 79% correlation with telephone responses is not as high as it sounds. For example, the minimum acceptable correlation for interrater reliability is typically 80%.

Put simply, the Twitter data can only account for about two thirds of the variation in phone responses. That's useful but there's still a lot of unexplained variance -- we have a long way to go.

Re:79% is not fantastic (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178024)

Maybe I just don't understand inter-rater reliability, but where did you get 2/3 from? 79% is pretty much 4/5, not anywhere near 2/3.

Re:79% is not fantastic (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32178258)

Inter-rater reliability is sometimes taken as the correlation between two raters' scores. Reliability is a different concept from variance explained, which is equal to the square of the correlation. Twitter can predict 0.79 * 0.79 = 62% of the variance in phone responses.

Re:79% is not fantastic (1)

pesto (202137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32179332)

I'm not sure what a "79% correlation" even means. The way to describe correlations is to provide estimated correlation coefficients. It appears that even the original article [cmu.edu] uses this bizarre percentage notation ("r = 63.5%"), which suggests that perhaps the authors don't understand correlation as well as they think they do. Sigh. This is what happens when computer scientists try statistics without any training...

Re:79% is not fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32180152)

A number is just a number, no matter if you write it as 65,3% or 0,653 or 653/1000 or any other way.

Other applications (1)

optimarcusprime (1809432) | more than 3 years ago | (#32177986)

I bet you could use this same system to assemble data about all kinds of interesting subjects. TV show viewership, web application downtime, top news articles by reader interest, etc. Really cool.

79% (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178004)

That is NOT nearly correlated? That is BARELY correlated. And will not get you meaningful results. This will also stop being meaningful as soon as it is publicized people are paying attention to the content of the tweets.

Cripes.

Re:79% (-1, Troll)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178032)

Yeah, not relevant. It's probably one of those annoying information things that Obama wants you to ignore, like talk radio and Fox News. Only official stuff from the government is relevant. Twitter? Opinions of actual people? Bzzzzt.. Thanks for trying.

Re:79% (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32186218)

Are you making a claim that telephone surveys give meaningful results when the surveyors try to shoehorn respondents to accept answers that are on their multiple choice questionaire?

Now that the word is out it's useless. (2, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178130)

As soon as something like this comes to light it's only a short matter of time until turfers screw it up. Turfers are like spammers, as soon as there's a new medium they abuse it into uselessness.

Twitter Users =/= Average American (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32178238)

As someone who spends a lot of their time working to uncover endogeneities in statistical analysis, I feel that analyzing Tweets will never be a viable measure of general American opinions.

Remember when The Literary Digest predicted Alf Landon would crush FDR in the 1936 presidential election based on a poll of its subscribers? Okay, you don't *remember* that, but you've probably heard of it. Same problem here.

The readers of Literary Digest were not representative of the average American in 1936.
The users of Twitter are not representative of the average American in 2010.

Twitter polling is no better than straw polling, which is usually worse than nothing.

Re:Twitter Users =/= Average American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32180154)

I'm guessing nobody here knows about Alf Landon, but everybody has seen the photo of Harry Truman holding up the newpaper with the DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN headline.

dom

Both "McCain" and "Obama" mean Obama is good? (2, Interesting)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178308)

Umm... from TFA:

Likewise, both the Twitter-derived sentiments and the traditional polls reflected declining approval of President Obama's job performance during 2009, with a 72 percent correlation between them.

Okay... not a great correlation, but let's continue....

But the researchers found that their sentiment analysis did not correlate as well with election polling during 2008. For instance, increased mentions of "Obama" tended to correlate with rises in Barack Obama's polling numbers, but increased mentions of "McCain" also correlated with rises in Obama's popularity.

WTF? Is all of this built on how many times "Obama" or "McCain" is uttered on Twitter? And, given the obvious skewed demographics on Twitter (i.e., younger people, which tended to poll way toward Obama), increased conversations about McCain probably were bad in general.

Well, how do they explain this? Ah, the next sentence....

Improved computational methods for understanding natural language, particularly the unusual lexicon of microblogs, will be necessary before Twitter feeds can be reliably mined to predict elections, the researchers concluded.

Ah yes, the "unusual lexicon of microblogs," which probably consisted of sentiments like "I luv Obama!" and "McCain too old - WTF?"

Perhaps if they bothered to measure more than "mentions" of a candidates name, the data might have some (albeit still vague) meaning...

If this is the best stuff from the study which they actually mention in a press release, how much crap results are they not reporting?

it doesent suck (1)

kyle222234 (1330867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178320)

hopefully these polling algorithms will take into account when i'm saying "microsoft doesen't suck" that i'm actually meaning that they do suck, and not attempting to derive my meaning from my literal translation. If they profile my use of irony they should be fine.

Say it ain't so, Dimi ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32178340)

We're in the midst of attempting to figure out how the computer went from being a mathematical tool used for calculations, to a communications device used for elemental interaction. These days, the machines are used more often to interact than to calculate--that is, unless the calculation is need for an interaction.

This transition from a practical business tool to a communications device has caused a dislocation in society that may take years--or decades--to settle. It's possible that all the rules of the past regarding social change are not applicable when a mechanism designed for one particular part of the social framework, developed and evolved over millennia, jumps the fence and invades an environment that has no ability to properly deal with the new mechanism. It's like when a disease vector is introduced into a population with zero immunity.

Pazzuzu rulez your underware drawer!

This is what we may be dealing with. The computer functioning as a disease.

Initially, computers were used for calculations. The first intended purpose was for artillery trajectory calculations--hardly a noble purpose, but certainly a practical one. In the early days, computers were described as electronic bins. They were also demonized for their potential to become a giant, electronic dictator, but those ideas tended to be marginalized by the argument that all computers were nothing more than a big, dumb calculator.

As the desktop computer revolution developed, the devices' uses were inevitably based on some aspect of calculation. Spreadsheets were the perfect example. At the time, the only communication aspect of computers was the fact that they could double as powerful aids to word processing software.

By 1979, however, modems and networks were making in roads. They made it possible for computers to talk to each other in some crude way. That was the beginning of the end. The computation aspect of computers continued to grow, but it was the networking aspect that was the disease vector, so far as social upheaval is concerned. You can figure out the rest of the networking timeline. It began 30 or more years ago--40 years, if you want to count the invention of Arpanet in 1969.

Once the computer jumped the barrier into the communications side of the social structure in a big way, it quickly overwhelmed the immune system. When all was said and done, the culprits were Ethernet and TCP/IP.

When real analysis is done on the computer revolution, the conclusions may not all be positive. These machines haven't made our lives easier--they've just changed them. Computers have made things like calculating change simpler. The cash register tells the cashier how much change to give. The cashier is obedient. Most people cannot make change at all anymore.

In the same way that the computer calculations have made the public dependent on machines, the communications-oriented computer is making us dependent on technology for basic human interactions. As this progresses, most social interactions will be performed with the aid of computer networks. Most people will meet online. It will become more trusted than meeting in-person. Nothing is stopping this trend. There is no immunity from the disease. The best society can do is issue the lame warnings that were trumpeted years back, about the dangers of meeting strangers online. That didn't fly.

An early victim of this process was newspapers and magazines--that is if you don't also count the decimation of the moral fabric of society caused by the torrent of free and easily accessible porn. There was no immunity for that. There was no practical way to stop it. It continues, unabated.

Some have argued that the decimation of newspapers began with the introduction of radio and TV news. The declination graph supports this somewhat, but the fact is that TV could not "put away" newspapers. Newspapers were fighting boldly in the 1980s and 1990s. There was no knockout punch delivered by TV news.

But with the Internet came a new opponent that had nothing but punching power. The cocky newspapers thought they would have no trouble with this clownish Internet, given how they had handled TV news. They didn't take it seriously. In some quarters, they still don't--the opponent is down and bleeding on the canvas, but it still thinks that it's winning.

The question you should ask, as you plow through messages on your iPhone, is what happens when the dust settles? What's left of society? What will we do with ourselves? My guess is that we'll be tweeting about how we have no jobs, no future, and how we're bored, too. Hopefully I'm wrong and everything will turn out rosy. Ha.

I'm excited that we get any signal at all (1)

aegl (1041528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178630)

"I'm excited that we get any signal at all from social media"

s/excited/amazed/

Twitter as a telephone survey ??? (1)

XRedHat (1294764) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178634)

OK - Maybe I don't get it - WHY are we using a Twitter survey to be representative of a telephone survey ? WTF - are we stupid ? A Twitter survery is one thing; a telephone survey is another... Never the twain shall meet... MS

Modern Technology Approximates Mediocrity (1)

Sir Realist (1391555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178654)

Wow! You mean modern technology has progressed to the point where it can approximate the results of totally inaccurate guesswork derived from people so sad that they'll actually stay on the line when phoned up by a total stranger?

Truly, technology amazes me. (Or humanity does. I can never quite keep that straight.)

Didn't they already do this? (1)

senorbum (1795816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178720)

HP already did something very similar. You can google predicted box office success twitter, or simply view HP's report. http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1003/1003.5699v1.pdf [arxiv.org] So congrats on being behind CMU? I guess the concept is slightly different making it new research, but not new enough to really merit a whole lot of discussion.

Re:Didn't they already do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32179266)

Check the citations of the article you linked: some of the same researchers did related work before or in parallel with HP. And predicting public opinion on political issues is not the same thing as predicting box office revenues, though there are some obvious similarities.

As for what merits a lot of discussion...maybe this calls for a poll of the Internet. :)

Re:Didn't they already do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32182572)

The CMU study was published before the HP one.

From TFS (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 3 years ago | (#32178870)

measure the frequency of positive or negative words ranging from 'awesome' to 'sucks.'

So what about "Obama doesn't suck!" or "McCain is as awesome as my grandmother who isn't awesome at all!"

Damn.

Slashdot must be slipping (2, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32180324)

There weren't enough mentions of Apple either in the summary or the comments posted.

simon says? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32183800)

i mean computers says, president obama is doing bad, he shall do more of "the other thing"... computer says.

I bet this is already implemented in people survellance software.

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