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Make Antarctica Great Again? Feel the (Freezer) Bern?: Who is Winning the Antarctica Primary

Antarctica What do you know about it? Aside from knowing that it is frozen and cold (recent and horrifying news aside). You might not know that it’s actually a fairly popular tourist attraction. Or that there are several countries with territorial claims on the world’s seventh continent. Or that although no one can really claim that “they are from Antarctica,” plenty of people still spend a good portion of their year there as researcher. It might surprise you then to know just how active Twitter users from Antartica. Well Twitter users who SAY they are from Antartica anyway.

Tourists look at glaciers onboard the Hurtigruten hybrid expedition cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen at Chiriguano Bay in Antarctica.

Antarctica. Perhaps not as remote as it seems, but not really home to many Twitter users. Source: New York Times

Social Studio can be used to identify tweets from specific locations. The challenge with this tool (particularly for efforts to fight misinformation) is that it depends on users to tell the system where they are. So Twitter users claiming to be tweeting from the arctic depths are probably hanging out in Fresno or Milwaukee…but one can hope and use Social Studio to see what they are tweeting about!

 

On Tuesday, the Democratic Party had its last debate prior to the South Carolina primary which will be this Saturday and Super Tuesday next Tuesday in which several states will vote and a third of all delegates for the primary race will be awarded. Twitter has been talking about the election and “Antarcticans” are no different!

 

A total of 338 tweets from “Antarctica” over the past week show a variety of opinions on the 2020 Presidential election. Some of the usual suspects appear in the “Top Words” section such as Sanders, Trump, and Bloomberg. Using Social Studio, it would be possible to download the tweets and analyze the results to identify pro and anti-candidate tweets in order to see who “Antarctica” voters support.

 

The search for Antarctica commentary on the upcoming US presidential election serves as a reminder of potential pitfalls in completing social media studies. Researchers have to be careful in their claims of what areas social media users represent. But why besides misinformation do people say they live in Antarctica? It might be interesting to talk with these users to get a sense if they are trying to stand out on social media, or perhaps stay hidden from people who may be looking for them to identify with a certain country or city? There may be other reasons too that may be of interest based on your study.

 

This absurd example is meant to show how versatile Social Studio can be and how many different ways there are to explore and analyze data within it. If you are interested in learning more about Social Studio, reach out to the center today. And if you are one of those Antarctican voters, stay warm this election season!