17 Nov '12, 9am
The Peering column in the Nov-Dec issue of IEEE IC has published an essay by me on Twitter & Elections. Find it here:
Predicting X from Twitter is a popular fad within the Twitter research subculture. It seems both appealing and relatively easy. Among such studies, electoral prediction is maybe the most attractive, and a growing body of literature exists on this topic. This research problem isn't only interesting, but is also extremely difficult. However, most authors seem to be more interested in claiming positive results than in providing sound and reproducible methods. It's also especially worrisome that recent papers seem to only acknowledge those studies supporting the idea that Twitter can predict elections. This is all problematic because while simple approaches are purported to be good enough, the predictive power of Twitter regarding elections has been greatly exaggerated, and difficult research problems still lie ahead.