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Posts Tagged ‘twitter predicts’

Can Social Media Predict Election Outcomes? [INFOGRAPHIC]

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the 2012 U.S. presidential election and, as the respective campaigns of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney heat up, the use of social media has never been more important, both in raising awareness of policies and targeting potential voters.

And for both candidates, here’s a couple of very important stats: 82 percent of U.S. adults now use social media, and 88 percent of those are registered voters.

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Twitter Algorithm Predicts When You’ll Get Sick (8 Days In Advance, With 90% Accuracy) [STUDY]

If you hang around or come into contact with a lot of sick people, you’re very likely to fall ill yourself. Common sense, perhaps, but what if we could use social media to predict the likelihood of that happening in advance?

Researchers at the University Of Rochester in New York have used Twitter to track the outbreak of flu through New York, and, using learning model, have been able to determine when healthy people are about to fall ill with an accuracy level of some 90 percent.

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Can Twitter Predict The Oscar Winners?

In a word: no.

TweetReach, a reach analysis service that I like and blogged about here, have been tracking tweets about the Academy Awards for the past month, and have crunched that data into a report that shows exactly who the Twitter collective predicts to win.

In that time, 170 thousand people have tweeted more than 313,000 times about the Oscars, reaching 53.5 million unique Twitter accounts and generating more than 720 million impressions.

So, here are our final Academy Award winner predictions, based on the cumulative unique reach of the nominees.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)
Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Best Picture: Black Swan The King’s Speech

Sounds good. But here’s the problem: users on Twitter have absolutely zero influence on how the Academy Award winners are picked. This isn’t the People’s Choice Awards. Oscar winners are voted for and determined by the Academy themselves.

So, unless the 5,835 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have been tweeting constantly about their exact picks, it doesn’t make any difference what Twitter thinks. It’s like asking 100 random people in the street for the winner of the Kentucky Derby, and betting accordingly. Sure, you might get lucky, but that’s all it will be – luck.

Twitter can be a great predictor of many things, especially where sentiment plays a major role in deciding the outcome of an event that is shaped by the public. For example, the winner of American Idol, or even who is most likely to be the next occupant of the White House.

What Twitter can’t do is predict the outcome of an event in which the people polled have no control or influence over whatsoever.

If Twitter’s collective does get the Oscar winners right it will simply be a coincidence. At best an educated guess. And as much as it might seem that I’m being a nitpicker extraordinaire, by any measure that’s quite a bit different to a prediction.