Y. Mejova, I. Weber, & M. Macy (Eds.), Twitter: A Digital Socioscope (pp. 52-74). 2015
doi:10.1017/CBO9781316182635.004 | Book website | Google Books Preview | Invited blog post at The Plot
Despite being a fairly recent phenomenon, microblogging has attracted a large number of researchers and practitioners who consider microposts a suitable source of data to ascertain public opinion. Among the reasons for that interest, we may find the fact that one single platform (i.e., Twitter) is the default choice for users; the ease with which one can collect data using public application programming interfaces (APIs); and the brevity of microposts, which forces users to get to the point when discussing any given topic.
This chapter is focused on efforts to exploit Twitter data to scrutinize public opinion in general, and political discussion in particular. It covers representative case studies conducted during the late 2000s and early 2010s and discusses their respective limitations. Finally, we analyze the implications of such approaches to political opinion in Twitter and depict important lines of research to further advance the field.
What do we mean when we talk about Twitter political opinion?
Habermas' public sphere. Killing the opinion polls. Big Bird, binders full of women, horses and bayonets. All of the above.