Imagine a digital future when all you need to do to vote for your political candidate of choice is just a tweet away. At the rate elections are rigged here in Africa, this study could be an eye opener. According to researchers at Indiana University in the US, the link between tweets and votes in political elections could be stronger than once thought. In a study analyzing 537 million tweets from August 2010 —the largest sample of tweets ever accessible to academic researchers — the percentage of votes for the candidates of the two main stream political parties in the US in the House of Representatives race correlated with the percentage of tweets that mentioned them.
The study also further mentions that it seems to matter if the surveyed tweets were positive or negative. It also adds to the mounting evidence that social networks are not long lasting, as they are spam-infested sources of information as once thought. It is believed that, Twitter and Facebook might turn out to be the most valid means yet of measuring the American electorate, since the sentiments inside the actual posts don’t make a difference.
We hope one day, determining the popularity of your political party or candidates might only mean a trip to Twitter’s search box.