We’ve arrived at the inevitable point of imperfection. I started out looking for authoritative resources on how social media data is harvested, processed, and used in commercial and political communication campaigns, and I sure did find them. The problem is this realm is changing so fast, many of these sources are out of date. Many of the open source tools are built to use APIs that have changed in significant ways. And much of the academic research is at such a conceptual level that it doesn’t really explain the specific programmatic methods that may have undermined the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Further, while there’s plenty of research on text mining, sentiment analysis, and natural language processing, there seems to be very little on what you do with the research to move the social meter. This is where marketing expertise should enter the frame, and it has become obvious to me that I’m looking in the wrong places. Using the wrong search terms in library databases. Shaking the wrong data tree. (Abusing the wrong metaphors…)
Regardless, this research project must come to an end on May 11th when I turn in my IS 452 final project. My proposed annotated bibliography has become a series of marginal blog posts.
But the fight continues. I’m determined to enliven the information science with some compelling non-academic resources, and break format with the annotated bibliography-shaped box. And after turning in my project for IS 452 I plan to continue this research using non-traditional sources, including interviews with people using these methods and tools.
Because the most interesting stuff happening in the “hack an election” space is being done by people who don’t write papers. They either try to hack elections, or try to bust people who try to hack elections. If that’s you, please give me a shout.