Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Pulse of the World

One thing that the Internet has allowed is the ability to take the pulse of world trends by monitoring web-based forums, Twitter, and blogs, among other public things online:

This massive, real-time combing of social media and open (to anyone) message traffic has yielded a much more accurate and timely analysis of political, religious, cultural, and military trends worldwide.

I find this rather fascinating.

Indeed, years ago I noticed that this site was on one trend-spotting company's data-mining effort.

I was listed as a conservative-to-moderate leaning site. Which fits with my self image. But since I was a staunch supporter of the Iraq War, I wondered what flaming liberal positions dragged me more to the middle? After all, when I'd answer surveys of roll-call votes that were used to judge conservative versus liberal state legislators (restricted to domestic issues), I always ranked to the right of the most "conservative" Democrat but ranked to the left of all but a few of the most "liberal" Republicans.

Which is always odd to think about since in Ann Arbor I'm considered a neo-Nazi, or something, relatively speaking (I think being a "moderate" means being a Swedish social democrat).

While it may be nearly impossible to sift such a vast beach of sand for the grain that provides actionable intelligence, quantity has a quality all its own and allows for the identification of broad trends.