What the world would lose with the demise of Twitter

It all relies on analyzing data from Twitter.

Twitter is a microblogging service, which means it is designed to share posts consisting of short pieces of text as well as embedded audio and video clips. The ease with which people can share information among millions of others worldwide Twitter has made it very popular for real-time conversations.

Whether it’s people tweeting about their favorite sports teams or organizations and public figures using Twitter to reach large audiences, Twitter has been part of the collective record in the world. over a decade.

The Twitter Archive allows instant and complete access to every public tweet, which has positioned Twitter as both a repository of collective human behavior and a validation and fact-checking service. on a global scale.

As a social media researcher, I believe these functions are valuable to academics, policymakers, and anyone who uses aggregated data to better understand behavior. of human.

The proliferation of scams and brand impersonators, the hemorrhaging of advertisers, and turmoil within the company raise questions about the future of the platform. If Twitter if it goes down, the loss will reverberate around the world.

With its vast trove of tweets, Twitter has provided new ways to quantify public discourse and new tools for synthetic cognitive mapping, while providing a window into human behavior. on a large scale. Such digital traces or records of human activity allow researchers in fields from the social sciences to healthcare to analyze a wide variety of phenomena.

From open source intelligence to citizen science, Twitter is not only a digital public square, but also allows researchers to infer attitudes that are hard to detect through methods from research. traditional field.

For example, people’s willingness to pay for policies and services that address climate change is often measured through surveys of subjective well-being.

Twitter sentiment data provides researchers and policymakers with another tool to gauge these attitudes in order to take more meaningful action on climate change.

Public health researchers have found a link between tweets about HIV and HIV rates, and can measure neighborhood-level sentiment to gauge the overall health of people in areas that neighborhood.

Geotagged data from Twitter helps in many areas such as urban land use and disaster resilience. The ability to determine the location of a set of tweets allows researchers to correlate information in tweets with time and place – for example, correlation between tweets and ZIP codes to identify hotspots. vaccine hesitancy.

Twitter has become invaluable in the field of open source intelligence (OSINT), especially for tracking war crimes. OSINT uses crowdsourcing to determine the location of photos and videos.

In Ukraine, human rights investigators have focused on using Twitter and TikTok to find evidence of abuses.

Open source intelligence is also useful in overcoming the fog of war. For example, OSINT analysts were quick to provide evidence that the missile that exploded in Przewodow, Poland near the Ukrainian border on November 15, 2022 was likely an S-300 anti-aircraft missile and unlikely. is a ballistic or cruise missile fired by Russia.

While misinformation has been widespread on Twitter, the platform also serves as a global verification mechanism. First, a lot of people use Twitter and other social media platforms.

Given the large community size, social media assumes the role of an authoritative information provider, reducing some of the uncertainty people experience when searching for new information. Platforms perform the role of validation that some pundits call “the algorithm of public relevance,” whereby they have replaced specialized technical or business expertise in determining what people need. know.

Another way is official certification. Prior to Elon Musk’s takeover, Twitter’s verification method provided public figures with a blue check mark on their profiles, which served as a shortcut to determine if the source of a tweet is the person making the claim.

While problems such as fake news, misinformation, and hate speech persist, its ability to authenticate, coupled with the large number of people using the platform in real time, has made Twitter a leader in the industry. provides reliable information and fact-checking tools.

Twitter’s dual role in fostering real-time communication and serving as an authoritative arbiter of information is of critical interest to academics, journalists, and government agencies. For example, during the pandemic, many public health agencies have used Twitter to promote behavior that reduces the risk of infection.

During disasters and emergencies, Twitter has become a great venue for community-sourced witness data.

During Hurricane Harvey, for example, researchers found that users responded to and engaged the most with tweets from verified Twitter accounts, and especially from government organizations.

Official Twitter accounts have helped spread information rapidly during the West Virginia water pollution crisis. Twitter data has also helped in hurricane evacuations.

Twitter is also an important way for people with disabilities to engage in public discussion.

The real value of Twitter is to allow people to connect with each other in real time and as a repository of collective behavior. Recognizing this, international organizations, government agencies, and local governments have invested considerable resources in the use of Twitter and have begun to trust the platform. Senator Edward Markey has described Twitter as “essential” to American society. If Twitter collapses, there will be no obvious replacement in sight.

This story was published from the wire dealer’s feed without text modification. Only the title has been changed.

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