Twitter former CEO Dick Costolo often referred to his social network as a “town square,” where people share news and opinion about events happening in their world. This characterization is fast becoming a reality as more and more Canadians are gathering on social media sites such as Twitter to get their news, find like-minded individuals, discuss the event of the day, connect with friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. According to a recent survey, one in four adult Canadians now have a Twitter profile and six in ten adult Internet users in Canada have a Facebook profile. The impact of these new technologies on our society is profound.
Here at the Ryerson Social Media Lab at the Ted Rogers School of Management, we study online communities and develop new tools and methods for analyzing and visualizing social media data. Our aim is to provide decision makers with additional knowledge and insights into the behaviors and relationships of online network members, and to understand how these interpersonal connections influence our choices and actions. Some of the tools and apps that we are developing at the lab include Netlytic, a social media data analytic platform designed for social media researchers. Netlytic can capture and analyze conversational data and visualize networks and complex systems from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. In addition to platforms for data analytics such as Netlytic, we are also developing Twitter apps and dashboards such as MyTweeps which is a “reverse” Twitter app that offers insights about your tweeps (people who follow you on Twitter) and their interests.
Our latest application is an analytics dashboard called PoliDashboard, a free, real-time Twitter listening tool designed to help voters, members of the media, and campaign staffers to monitor Twitter conversations about the 42nd Canadian Federal Election. The PoliDashboard collects, analyzes, and visualizes tweets containing the #CDNpoli and/or the #Elxn42 hashtags in real-time.
The dashboard provides users with a live snapshot of the Twitter conversations about the election complete with graphical representations of the current status and historical trends. It can also be used to detect trends as well as to discover influencers. In the weeks to come, we will be updating and adding additional features such as sentiment analysis and maps.
If you have any suggestions about how we can improve the dashboard, please leave a comment below.
You can find the PoliDashboard at: http://socialmedialab.ca/apps/polidashboard/