Happiness and rage: Twitter has both.
After trying to figure out which tweets are positive and which are negative, such âsentiment dataâ is being used to reflect the publicâs general mood about certain topics. If youâre mad or glad about the Olympics, for instance, whatever you say on Twitter about the Games helps turn the London Eye Ferris wheel into a giant mood ring every night.
Twitter is using the same type of sentiment data for its new Twitter Political Index, which âevaluates and weighs the sentiment of Tweets mentioning Obama or Romney relative to the more than 400 million Tweets sent on all other topics,â according to Twitterâs blog post.
âFor example,â says Twitter, âa score of 73 for a candidate indicates that Tweets containing their name or account name are on average more positive than 73 percent of all Tweets.â
Twitter contends that its Political Index is trying to reinforce â" not replace â" polling data from the likes of Gallup, but boasts that âthe trend in Twitter Political Index scores for President Obama over the last two years often parallel his approval ratings from Gallup, frequently even hinting at where the poll numbers are headed.â
âBut whatâs more interesting are the periods when these data sets do not align,â says Twitter, âlike when his daily scores following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden dropped off more quickly than his poll numbers, as the Twitter conversation returned to being more focused on economic issues.â
âBy illustrating instances when unprompted, natural conversation deviates from responses to specific survey questions,â says Twitter, âthe Twitter Political Index helps capture the nuances of public opinion.â
The Twitter Political Index can be found at election.twitter.com and is updated every day after 8pm Eastern. Thereâs historical data available for the candidates as well.