Can Your Tweets Predict Your Vote?
Are you still unsure whom to vote for in the presidential election? Take a look at your Twitter stream, says, SwiftKey, maker of a predictive typing app for Android phones. Or more specifically, allow it to take a look at your Twitter stream.
The company turned its software on 150,000 words worth of presidential candidate speeches, Tweets and public comments over their political careers. And this week it launched a Website called Prez-o-meter where you can enter your Twitter handle to see how your messages compare to the candidates'.
I went to the site and typed in @seancaptain. Within about three seconds, the site told me that I scored 62 out of 100 for talking like Obama, and thus 38 for talking like Romney. As a journalist, I keep my political views hidden (and I'm not saying whether this assessment is right or not). However, I have tweeted extensively about my coverage of left-leaning political movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the anti-SOPA protests against Internet regulations. I also follow members of those constituencies. Perhaps all that had an effect.
People who install the $4 SwiftKey app on Android phones or tablets set it to replace the default keyboard program (not an option on iOS devices, as Apple doesn't allow it). From there, SwiftKey begins using predictive technology in an attempt to clean up typos. It also starts analyzing how you write — learning the words and word combinations you use most often.
For good measure, you can also link the app to your Twitter, Facebook and Gmail accounts. While that may sound creepy, the intent is to better understand how you write in order to guess more accurately what you are trying to type. Testing the app in the past, I found it to often be freakishly prescient — and only sometimes comically off base.
SwiftKey is using that same text-analysis technology to learn how Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and you talk. (Previously, it also parsed speech by William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II.)
You can try it yourself at the Prez-o-meter Web site.
SwiftKey also ran through the Tweets of a few famous personalities.
Some results were to be expected:
- Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweets more like Romney (61 to 39).
- Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) scored 75 for Obama.
Others were surprising:
- Conservative commenter Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) uses language that rated 81 toward Obama.
- The liberal Huffington Post's editor, Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) had a score of 54 for talking like Romney.
- Conservative publishing mogul Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) is fair and balanced, according to SwiftKey's analysis of his tweets, at 51 Obama to 49 Romney.