Twitter will gauge voter sentiment in new venture

Twitter will gauge voter sentiment in new venture - NextGov

Image: The Guardian

“The initial installment of the Twitter Political Index, called the “TwIndex” for short, shows Obama with a score of 34 and Romney with 25, based on tweets posted on Tuesday. Since the TwIndex compares tweets about the candidates to all tweets on other topics, that means that tweets about Obama are on average more positive than 34 percent of tweets not mentioning him. It also means that tweets about Obama are generally more positive than tweets about Romney. The plan is for the latest Twitter Political Index will be posted each day at 8 p.m. at” (

How to Predict the Spread of News on Twitter

How to Predict the Spread of News on Twitter - Technology Review

Graphic: Technology Review

“Here’s their conclusion: ‘Our experiments show that it is possible to estimate ranges of popularity with an overall accuracy of 84% considering only content features.’

That’s pretty impressive and may herald important changes in the way articles are written and edited. It’s not hard to imagine an automated article checker—rather like the grammar checkers in word processing programs–that reads articles and predicts how popular they are likely to be when published.

In a sense, that’s what journalists do now when they choose topics to write about. But this process is entirely intuitive, based as much on gut feel as on a good understanding of the dynamics of the audience. Huberman’s algorithm could automate this process.” (KFC, Technology Reivew)

Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections

Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections - Technology Review

Image: Max Nanis and Ian Pearce

“You might have encountered a ‘Twitter bot’ before: an automated program that perhaps retweeted something you wrote because it had particular keywords. Or maybe you received a message from an unfamiliar, seemingly human-controlled account, only to click on an accompanying link and realize you’d been fooled by a spambot.  Now a group of freelance Web researchers has created more sophisticated Twitter bots, dubbed ‘socialbots,’ that can not only fool people into thinking they are real people, but also serve as virtual social connectors, speeding up the natural rate of human-to-human communication.” (Mike Orcutt, technology review)

What your online friends reveal about where you are

What your online friends reveal about where you are - NewScientist

Image: William Andrew/Getty

“YOU’VE set your Facebook account to ‘friends only’, your Tweets are protected and you wouldn’t dream of setting a virtual foot near location-sharing services like Foursquare – in other words, you can feel pretty safe online, right? Wrong. We all unwittingly leak vital information through friends.

‘You can actually infer a lot of things about people, even though they are pretty careful about how they manage their online behaviour,’ says Adam Sadilek of the University of Rochester in New York. He has developed a system for predicting a Twitter user’s location by looking at where their friends are. The tool can correctly place a user within a 100-metre radius with up to 85 per cent accuracy.” (Jacob Aron, NewScientist)

Censoring of Tweets Sets Off #Outrage

Censoring of Tweets Sets Off #Outrage - New York Times

Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

“The announcement signals the choice that a service like Twitter has to make about its own existence: Should it be more of a free-speech tool that can be used in defiance of governments, as happened during the Arab Spring protests, or a commercial venture that necessarily must obey the laws of the lands where it seeks to attract customers and eventually make money?” (Somini Sengupta,

Theater for Twits

Theater for Twits - New York Times

Photo: Okkiproject - Wikimedia Commons

“Perhaps the real goal of frightened theater managers is not so much to enhance the experience for the majority, for whom Mozart works just fine without tweets from the balcony, but to make the time go faster for those who barely tolerate the arts but may have purchased a ticket as, say, a favor to their companion. Or maybe it’s just for members of the Twitter-tethered community who believe Mozart is best enjoyed in 140 notes.” (Peter Funt,