- Why the Pirate Party Won the German Election of 2009 or the Trouble With Predicionts: A Response to Tumasjan, A. , Sprenger ,T.O., Sander, P.G., & Welpe, I.M. "Predicting Elections With Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal About Political Sentiment" (2012)
- The interplay of theory and observation: a proposition for structured research on human behavior on the web (2009)
- Wahlkampf vom Sofa aus: Twitter im Bundestagswahlkampf 2009. (2011)
- Der deutsche Bundestagswahlkampf im Superwahljahr 2009 war mit seinen Online-Elementen im Wesentlichen durch zwei Umstände geprägt: Die Erwartungen von Öffentlichkeit und Medien einen starken Online-Wahlkampf zu erleben und den Online-Experimenten der Parteien im direkten Vorlauf zur Bundestagswahl.
- Forecasting the pulse: How deviations from regular patterns in online data can identify offline phenomena (2013)
- Purpose – The steady increase of data on human behavior collected online holds significant research potential for social scientists. The purpose of this paper is to add a systematic discussion of different online services, their data generating processes, the offline phenomena connected to these data, and by demonstrating, in a proof of concept, a new approach for the detection of extraordinary offline phenomena by the analysis of online data. Design/methodology/approach – To detect traces of extraordinary offline phenomena in online data, the paper determines the normal state of the respective communication environment by measuring the regular dynamics of specific variables in data documenting user behavior online. In its proof of concept, the paper does so by concentrating on the diversity of hashtags used on Twitter during a given time span. The paper then uses the seasonal trend decomposition procedure based on loess (STL) to determine large deviations between the state of the system as forecasted by the model and the empirical data. The paper takes these deviations as indicators for extraordinary events, which led users to deviate from their regular usage patterns. Findings – The paper shows in the proof of concept that this method is able to detect deviations in the data and that these deviations are clearly linked to changes in user behavior triggered by offline events. Originality/value – The paper adds to the literature on the link between online data and offline phenomena. The paper proposes a new theoretical approach to the empirical analysis of online data as indicators of offline phenomena. The paper will be of interest to social scientists and computer scientists working in the field.
- Through a Glass, Darkly: Tactical Support and Symbolic Association in Twitter Messages Commenting on Stuttgart 21 (2013)
- Digital Trace Data in the Study of Public Opinion : An Indicator of Attention Toward Politics Rather Than Political Support (2016)
- In this article, we examine the relationship between metrics documenting politics-related Twitter activity with election results and trends in opinion polls. Various studies have proposed the possibility of inferring public opinion based on digital trace data collected on Twitter and even the possibility to predict election results based on aggregates of mentions of political actors. Yet, a systematic attempt at a validation of Twitter as an indicator for political support is lacking. In this article, building on social science methodology, we test the validity of the relationship between various Twitter-based metrics of public attention toward politics with election results and opinion polls. All indicators tested in this article suggest caution in the attempt to infer public opinion or predict election results based on Twitter messages. In all tested metrics, indicators based on Twitter mentions of political parties differed strongly from parties’ results in elections or opinion polls. This leads us to question the power of Twitter to infer levels of political support of political actors. Instead, Twitter appears to promise insights into temporal dynamics of public attention toward politics.