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e continued their collaboration with the University of Liverpool by launching a proposal for the highly publicised Twitter Data Grant.
As one of the world’s most popular social networks, Twitter has collected a huge amount of user data. It is claimed that more than 500 million tweets are published every day, many of which provide insight into the popular topics, worldwide events and the breaking news stories of any given time. Thus, Twitter provides an illustration of the global population; its opinions and its habits of online communication.
Previously this information has been difficult for researchers to access but now, for the very first time, the micro-blogging site is offering this historical data to a small amount of research groups who submit successful proposals. They will receive access to all public tweets and publicly available metadata, selecting data sets like keywords, hashtags, date and location information and more.
Dr Ayesh Alshukri and Andrew Redfern from Hit Search have worked with Prof. Frans Coenen and Dr Prudence Wong from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Liverpool to create a proposal entitled "Sentiment Maps from Twitter Data: A Study In Our Changing Perceptions of Global Issues Through Time".
The study aims to analyse sentiment, or opinions, from Twitter data on changing attitudes to global issues; then display the findings in the form of simple-to-understand, animated ‘sentiment maps’.
Two specific case studies will serve as the focus of this research. The first concerns changing attitudes toward climate change and alternative energy sources and how they relate to one another. This will be achieved by creating a sentiment map for each topic and then overlaying them to assess the differences or similarities. The second study will look at poverty and food, an issue that is becoming much more of a concern across the developing world.
A three year PhD programme funded by the University of Liverpool will be launched to achieve these aims, while dissemination will be conducted using ‘progress tweets’, project blog, sentiment maps, press releases and scientific publications.
Prof. Frans Coenen is Deputy Head of the Computer Science Department at the University of Liverpool. Coenen is primarily interested in KDD (Knowledge Discovery in Databases) and more specifically data mining. He was keen to pursue the Twitter Data Grant because of the sheer wealth of information involved; and also stated his excitement at the prospect of another successful collaboration with Hit Search.
He said: "The Department Computer Science at the University of Liverpool has a long standing relationship with Hit Search and so when this new opportunity arose we were only too happy to work with them once again.
"We strongly believe that the work we could accomplish with this data would provide real world value and insight into popular regional attitudes and how these change with time. Understandably this is an extremely exciting prospect."
This opinion was shared by Dr Prudence Wong, Reader in Computer Science at the University of Liverpool. Dr Wong's main interest is on designing efficient algorithms especially for big data analytics. She has years of experience in analysing massive biological data and is eager to apply her skills to meet a new challenge by participating in the Twitter Data Grant project.
She said: "The opportunity to collaborate once more with Dr Alshukri and Mr Redfern at Hit Search was one I could not possibly turn down. Winning the grant will certainly be a challenge, but we believe we have an excellent proposal. Either way it has been rewarding to write another chapter in the relationship between Hit Search and the University".
Hit Search provides online marketing services and consultancy to businesses throughout the UK and mainland Europe. But in addition to providing its products and services, the company is committed to new thinking and conducting research to make better use of the ever increasing resources of online information. Hence its close collaboration with the University of Liverpool.
The company has collaborated with the University of Liverpool on a number of studies and recently launched its own reputation management software for analysing social interactions online, including Facebook and Twitter activity.
For more information call 0845 643 9289, or visit http://www.hitsearchlimited.com.
Published on: 12:51PM on 5th March 2014