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Twitter Analysis Gets Elections Half Right
In the ongoing coverage of Election '12, USA Today's Scott Martin interviewed Lithium Principal Scientist of Analytics, Dr. Michael Wu, about the aftermath of forecasting elections based on the Twittersphere.
The results underscore that the science of applying predictive analytics to Twitter is still in its infancy, analysts say.
Part of the problem lies in a lack of location-based data about Twitter users' tweets. Such information is "scarce" on Twitter, says Michael Wu, Principal Scientist of Analytics for Lithium, a social-analytics firm. That's because Twitter users would have to turn on the "location" feature in their mobile devices.
Plus, such predictive analytics is a science that requires much human interaction with the data. "Research needs to be done to correlate the sentiment data to the act of voting," says Wu. For now, social media is better used by candidates to mobilize their communities, rather than to predict election outcomes, he says.