Anonymous popularity voting is a very common situation: political elections, high school prom queen selection, to name a few. They also play an important role in career advancement. Tenure decision of a university professor depends on voluntary course evaluations of students. Managers rely on senior team members’ opinions for the performance evaluations of junior employees. In lieu of such significant ramifications, it is important to ask if it is fair to rely heavily on popularity voting outcomes in these decisions.
Does social media contain enough information to predict real life metrics? Various papers have come out claiming predictive power of stock market indices from social media discourse. One of my projects at Idibon was building a custom NLP model on Twitter data about cars modeling intent-to-purchase. A quick summary of the results is that social media discourse definitely has predictive power, but data disambiguation process and model quality make all the difference.
During my internship at Idibon, I partnered with a fellow intern, Olga,to find out what Russian people are saying about the closures of McDonald’s in Russia. The results somewhat differed from what the western media was covering.