Using Social Media to Gauge Iranian Public Opinion and Mood After the 2009 Election

by Sara Beth Elson, Douglas Yeung, Parisa Roshan, S. R. Bohandy, Alireza Nader

View related products

Download

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.8 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback108 pages $21.00 $16.80 20% Web Discount

Abstract

In the months after the contested Iranian presidential election in June 2009, Iranians used Twitter — a social media service that allows users to send short text messages, called tweets, with relative anonymity — to speak out about the election and the protests and other events that followed it. The authors of this report used an automated content analysis program called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count 2007 (LIWC) to analyze more than 2.5 million tweets discussing the Iran election that were sent in the nine months following it. The authors (1) identify patterns in word usage over the nine-month period and (2) examine whether these patterns coincided with political events, to gain insight into how people may have felt before, during, and after those events. For example, they compare how the frequencies with which negative sentiments were directed toward President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his election opponents, and President Barack Obama changed over time, and they track the way in which the use of swear words sharply increased in the days leading up to specific protests. Particularly in countries where freedom of expression is limited, automated analysis of social media appears to hold promise for such policy uses as assessing public opinion or outreach efforts and forecasting events such as large-scale protests.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Methodology

  • Chapter Three

    Background on Social Media Use in Iran and Events Surrounding the 2009 Election

  • Chapter Four

    Overall Trends in Public Mood in Iran After the 2009 Presidential Election

  • Chapter Five

    Iranian Public Opinion About Specific Topics in the Aftermath of the 2009 Election

  • Chapter Six

    Methodological Considerations

  • Chapter Seven

    Next Steps: A Design for a Second Phase of This Program of Research

  • Appendix

    Additional Details Regarding Methodology: Data Collection and Analysis

This publication results from the RAND Corporation's Investment in People and Ideas program. Support for this program is provided, in part, by the generosity of RAND's donors and by the fees earned on client-funded research.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.