My name is Jordan Graham and I am a rising senior at UGA pursuing an English/Linguistics double major and a Cognitive Science minor. I am also a participant in the Linguistics Dual BA/MA program and intend to complete my MA by 2021. My main areas of interest include syntax, computational linguistics, and neurolinguistics. I am especially interested in the effect of different forms of media on language use.
For my project I would like to investigate how politicians interact on various platforms with their constituents, with an emphasis on their syntax structure and politeness norms. Specifically, I will be looking at the difference in syntax between tweets and other forms of address, such as interviews, formal statements, and posts to other social media platforms.
Mozdeh is a program that allows users to perform “keyword, issue, time series, sentiment, gender and content analyses of (mainly) social media texts.” The strong points of this tool are that it can search for posts on different social media platforms, such as Twitter and Youtube, which could be useful for further research into how people use language differently on social media. It also has the benefit of allowing keyword searches and searches by user on Twitter, which is just what I need to investigate the tweets of specific politicians. It also includes data on sentiment and allows users to create time series graphs using the collected data. This program is limited, however. It is a bit confusing to learn at first and can be difficult/overwhelming to use. Also, the size of keyword searches are limited to tweets from within the past two weeks by Twitter’s policies. Overall, this tool is probably the best choice for collecting my Twitter data automatically, although twitteR and R will be more useful for actual data analysis, as R is capable of performing many different kinds of tests of significance and generating useful charts.
twitteR is a R program package that allows users to access Twitter’s API in order to do tasks such as searching for and collecting tweets and accessing timeline information. This program is useful because it allows users to collect tweets automatically instead of having to record them by hand. It also allows users to search for different kinds of tweets, such as retweets and favorite tweets. The downside is that it requires another program to run in (R), and users can only gather a sample of tweets using a keyword style search (not allowing the user to search for tweets from a specific twitter handle). This tool is still useful, however, as it will allow me to work with twitter data directly in R without having to convert any files.
Census reporter is a tool that allows users to view the demographics of different places in the US using US Census data. A search for a specific location, such as a city, state, or Congressional district, will yield information about that place’s population, including breakdowns of age, gender, race/ethnicity, income, household type, education, language, etc. You can either type your desired location into a search box or use an interactive map to find what you are looking for. It is a useful tool not only for it’s easy to understand graphics (backed up by tables of the exact figures) but also because it allows users to search for different types of areas, not just cities or states. It is also useful because information about how each place’s statistics compare to the statistics of the state and the US as a whole is also available. This tool is specifically useful for me because knowing the demographics of the congressional districts of the politicians I am investigating will allow me to make insights about how the makeup of their constituency might affect a politician’s use of Twitter. The drawback of this tool is that, because the data is taken from the US Census, the margin of error for some of the statistics can be as high as 10%, and the data is only as recent as the 2017 census. Also, not all of the statistics are based on the 2017 census data, making them less useful because they are less current. Still, this tool gives me a good basis to work off of for my project.