Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On Twitter, Conservative (or Liberal) by Association - NYTimes.com

Link: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/21/on-twitter-conservative-by-association/ (via shareaholic.com)

Network analysis can do a great deal.

Active users of Twitter are revealing their political leanings even if they are careful not to post about politics, a group of researchers at Duke University says.
Their research stems from an effort to rank 2010 primary candidates by political ideology. The researchers — David B. Sparks, Frank J. Orlando and Aaron S. King — analyzed whom politicians were following on Twitter, and who followed them. They then ranked the politicians on a political spectrum from the far left to the far right; the results dovetailed with ideological ranking systems based on the politicians' voting records.
The research, which will be presented in April at the Midwest Political Science Association conference, also ranked public individuals and media organizations. Kelsey Grammer's Twitter account, for instance, consist largely of reposted messages from people calling for a reunion of the television show "Frasier." But the analysis still identified Mr. Grammer, who supported George W. Bush and has more recently thrown his energy into a conservative television network, as right of center. It plotted Katie Couric of CBS News as only slightly less liberal than the Daily Kos, a blog for Democratic political strategy. You can see the complete rankings of Congressional candidates, media figures and political organizations here.
This strategy did not prove useful when applied to corporations like Wal-Mart or Starbucks (or The New York Times) because their connections were too broad and not personal enough, Mr. Sparks said. But for individuals, he said, it can be quite telling.

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