The Insight Centre for Data Analytics has created a complete web service for the voter, journalist or candidate who wants to keep a close eye on Twitter trends related to each candidate, their key issues or their newspaper coverage.
The Insight4elections tool, http://insight4news.ucd.ie/ (or search ‘Insight4Elections’) offers a one-stop-shop for all 478 candidates’ Twitter activity, with links to each candidate feed and data on follower numbers, newspaper coverage and feed activity.
The tool also tracks hourly tweet mentions per party to give an at-a-glance view of who’s lighting up social media throughout the campaign.
Researchers at the 400-strong Insight Centre are also tracking the coverage of key themes such as water charges and Repeal of the Eighth Amendment as they are covered in the traditional media and online.
For months researchers at the Insight Centre for Data Analytics have watched the engagement of all GE16 candidates, tracking growth in their follower numbers and activity on their Twitter pages. Using text analysis tools and machine learning tools developed by Insight, researchers are tracking key election issues as they emerge on the social networking platform.
Dr Derek Greene and Dr Georgiana Ifrim, lead investigators on the project, are hoping that the research will help voters and social media users to get a bird’s eye view of the general election campaign as it unfolds online.
“The Insight Centre represents a major investment by the Irish tax payer and through this project we hope to demonstrate the value that good data research can bring to the democratic process,” said Dr Greene.
One of Insight’s key areas of research is how open data can be mined and presented for public use.
Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Insight Centre was set up in 2013 to bring together the expertise of 400 data researchers across the country. The Insight4Elections project involves a team of researchers across Insight at University College Dublin and Dublin City University.