The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

Twindex Launches

Measuring the politics of Tweets.

By Rich_Maloof Aug 3, 2012 4:13PM

Illustration: Courtesy of Twitter.comWhen Twitter first emerged from its shell in March of 2006, the next presidential election was just coming onto the national radar. Few people knew what microblogging meant, though the term already sounds antiquated, and the phrase “140 characters” was more likely to describe a Robert Altman film. 

Today there’s more twitter chatter during any two-day period than in the entire two and half years prior to the 2008 election. Some 400 million tweets are sent daily, and it’s changing how political campaigns are run.

Twindex, the Twitter Political Index, has been launched this week to provide insight into the political attitudes behind those millions of daily tweets. Twindex takes the political temperature of the twittersphere. “It’s a daily a measure of Twitter users’ attitudes toward candidates as expressed through their tweets,” said Adam Sharp, Senior Manager for Government, News, and Social Innovation at Twitter.

The index is a joint effort among Twitter, Topsy, which specializes in social-media analytics, and a bipartisan pair of pollsters. Rather than asking the opinions of a random sample of voters as traditional polls do, the Twindex combs the massive flow of daily tweets, identifies those relating to Obama and/or Romney, and then analyzes the tweets for positive or negative attitude. The average voter mood on each candidate is indicated on a scale between 0 and 100, with 0 as absolutely negative and 100 as absolutely positive. Twitter says there’s currently about a 10% margin of error, but the system will become increasingly accurate as Topsy’s algorithm learns more of the language used on Twitter.

Whether the Twindex will mirror the entire electorate’s sentiment fairly is hard to say. At press time, Obama had 10 million Twitter followers compared to Romney’s 770,000, presumably reflecting the imbalance of a younger demographic’s use of the platform. But politicians across the board are becoming more social-media savvy, which in time should put the right and left on even standing. Last January, only a third of all congress members had a Twitter account; today, more than 90% in the House and Senate use Twitter to access their constituents.

“The same is true today as was true 100 years ago: the best way to get someone’s vote is to stick your hand out and say, ‘Hi, I’m running for Congress. Can I have your vote?’ But that approach doesn’t scale to the population our country has reached today,” Adam Sharp told SiriusXM, which launched its “Politics Powered by Twitter” radio show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel this week. “Twitter and other social platforms now empower members to, in a scalable way, actually get back to some of that one-on-one interaction that they’ve been missing.”

Illustration: Courtesy of Twitter.com

Get the latest: https://election.twitter.com/


inspire: live a better life

  • Off-season vacation destinations

    The 10 best off-season vacation deals in the world

    Summer and winter tend to hog all the glory when it comes to travel high seasons. Sure, you want to soak up all the time at the beach you can during the summer, and you just want to escape the cold during the last months of the year.

  • Best places for fall foliage

    The 16 best places to see fall foliage

    Who just wants to stand around and watch the red and gold leaves slowly fall from their tree branches to the ground as we move from summer to fall? Instead, take in the changing seasons while you're on the move.

  • 30 things you learn in your 30s

    30 things that will (probably) happen in your 30s

    In September, I'll turn 38. I'm at the age now where, when people ask how old I am, it takes me a minute to remember. I don't know if that's because I've already been 37 different ages and it's hard to keep straight which one I am now, or if it's because I'm in denial, or if it's because I am going senile. Maybe a combination of all of the above. Regardless, my 30s have flown by and soon they will be but a memory. So, in an effort to preserve the memory I have left (or at least keep a record of it), and to celebrate what has been an amazing decade so far, here are 30 things that have happened to me in my 30s (and will probably happen to you too):

  • Great travel tech gadgets

    The 8 best travel tech accessories for every trip

    Traveling doesn't have to be stressful. And what you can fit in your carry-on can make all the difference (and not just a fresh pair of socks), especially when you get that low battery signal.

  • The Science

    5 surprising ways to live longer

    Volunteering (and these other rituals) might be just as good as exercise when it comes to extending your life.

  • Don’t hit snooze

    7 cures for a case of the Mondays

    Use these tricks to set a better tone for the rest of the week.

  • King's Night: Amsterdam, Holland

    The 10 wildest celebrations in the world

    Whether it involves a food fight, mermaids or a torch-lit procession, people the world over know how to have a good time. Here are some of the biggest, boldest, booziest celebrations around, along with some tips to get the full experience.

  • green brain image (Courtesy of Newser)

    Scientists turn bad memories to happy ones

    Research could mean more effective treatment for human disorders.

  • Cultura\Getty Images(Cultura\Getty Images)

    4 reasons journaling is good for you

    An entry a day might keep the doctor away (or at least the shrink).

  • Getty Images(Getty Images)

    Appreciating the Small Things in Life

    One woman's shout-outs to daily moments of joy — and how to cultivate them.

  • Woman jogging (Photo: Huffington Post)
  • Getty Images // Magazine

    Little ways to feel healthier and happier

    Our best health and fitness tips including the one move that tones all, berry news, and more.

about rich maloof
buzzing now on msn living
inspire videos
editor's picks