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How policy makers can extract meaningful public opinion data from social media to inform their actions

How policy makers can extract meaningful public opinion data from social media to inform their actions

The role of social media in fostering the transparency of governments and strengthening the interaction between citizens and public administrations has been widely studied. Scholars have highlighted how online citizen-government and citizen-citizen interactions favour debates on social and political matters, and positively affect citizens’ interest in political processes, like elections, policy agenda setting, and policy […]

How easy is it to research the Chinese web?

By 2015, the proportion of Chinese language Internet users is expected to exceed the proportion of English language users. But how easy is it for researchers to find or request content and traffic data from the major Chinese websites for research? Han-Teng Liao discusses the issues of government control and intervention, public opinion monitoring, language and data tools (and the challenges of processing Chinese language texts), narratives and propaganda, and how to identify geographic information from Chinese Web data. With some robots thrown in too…

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Mapping collective public opinion in the Russian blogosphere

Blogs are becoming increasingly important for agenda setting and formation of collective public opinion on a wide range of issues — particularly in countries like Russia where the Internet is not technically filtered, but where the traditional media is tightly controlled by the state. Olessia Koltsova, author (with Sergei Koltcov) of the Policy and Internet paper Mapping the public agenda with topic modeling: The case of the Russian livejournal discusses how topic modeling and sentiment analysis techniques can be used to monitor self-generated public opinion.

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The physics of social science: using big data for real-time predictive modelling

Use of socially generated “big data” on collective states of minds in human societies has become a new paradigm in the emerging field of computational social science, but bridging the gap between real-time monitoring and early prediction remains a challenge. Taha Yasseri discusses his paper Early Prediction of Movie Box Office Success based on Wikipedia Activity Big Data (with M.Mestyán and J.Kertész), which builds a predictive model for the financial success of movies based on the collective activity of online users, showing that a movie’s popularity can be predicted far ahead of its release date.

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