Access and Feeds

Social Media: Dissecting and Analyzing the Complete Twitter Stream

By Dick Weisinger

Twitter has announced that it is funding a Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM) at MIT initially with $10 million.  LSM will run as a five-year project that is dedicated to analyzing a complete archive of Twitter content, including every tweet ever made, dating all the way back to the first one sent by Jack Dorsey.

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, said that the investment in LSM will fund “research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex social issues.”

Some of the goals of the LSM project at MIT include:

  • Develop techniques to analyze social systems
  • Build collaboration tools to allows groups to debate, create shared goals and enable organization
  • Deploy social machines

Deb Roy, an associate professor at the Media Lab who will lead the LSM, said that “the Laboratory for Social Machines will experiment in areas of public communication and social organization where humans and machines collaborate on problems that can’t be solved manually or through automation alone.  Social feedback loops based on analysis of public media and data can be an effective catalyst for increasing accountability and transparency — creating mutual visibility among institutions and individuals.”

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