Have you ever searched a trending topic on Twitter (News - Alert) for an event as it was happening? Think of the Billboard Music Awards. The stream of tweets updated in batches of 20 in a matter of seconds accumulates to thousands of tweets in minutes, which means as I’m trying to catch up on tweet number 74, I am already way behind and completely missed Adele receiving her 12th award. Now picture that stream of updates for an even bigger, more long-term event. Say, the 2012 presidential election.
Twelect is an iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad app recently released on the App Store that focuses on combining the Twitter world with the world of politics. Peter Kazazes, a 16-year-old from Connecticut, developed the app to give users a real-time look into the ups and downs of the 2012 presidential election.
The app is divided into three main sections: updates from the last 10 days, current polls, and Twitter feeds for Obama, Romney, or both. Although the algorithm behind Twelect is scientific and accurate, the current polls section is dedicated to polling being conducted by some of America’s most reputable polling organizations to ensure the ultimate presidential updates. Twelect analyzes over 10,000 tweets an hour.
Throughout the Republican primaries, Kazazes beta tested the algorithm behind Twelect and found that the app’s results were consistently within the margin of error of major national polls.
“Quite frankly I was stunned by the results,” Kazazes said of his new app. “Twelect has been, and continues to be, within 4 percent of the most well-regarded national polls. Twelect has an edge on these polls, however, as the program can be run at any hour of the day, as often as one could desire and at virtually no cost. Honestly, I’ve been amazed with what I have seen thus far.”
Twelect is essentially running all the time, providing continuous feedback. My only issue with this aspect of the app is that I am literally watching the topic unfold and cannot read fast enough to keep up with the millions of users updating about the election. But, kudos to Kazazes for creating an algorithm that is speedy enough to update me by the millisecond.
“Extracting human emotion from text is not an easy process,” explained Kazazes. “Through literally thousands of rounds of testing, we fine-tuned an algorithm that gives a tweet as short as four words a numeric 'emotion factor’ ranging from -1 to 1. The algorithm is able to pick up on language and linguistic nuances within text with astounding accuracy. From there, we are able to extract negative and positive sentiment. Although it's still in beta, the algorithm is currently matching our human-rated scores within 0.15 (out of 1) over 92 percent of the time.”
Twelect also has Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter integration, and users can chat with other members of the app in real time and get notified of new posts with Twelect’s unique chat section.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin