The Social Data Behind Scottish Independence

David Cameron – “I have no time for those who say there is no way Scotland could go it alone. I know first-hand the contribution Scotland and Scots make to Britain’s success – so for me there’s no question about whether Scotland could be an independent nation”

Well, it’s come round quicker than we imagined, tomorrow (18th September 2014) could see the dawn of a new era. The polls will open, ballot boxes will be filled and woad covered Scots will certainly be marching in droves.

But can we predict the outcomes of tomorrow from the social data? Facebook thinks it can.

In the past 5 weeks Facebook has analysed over 10 million interactions that have discussed Scottish Independence. Including comments, posts, likes and shares, the majority of the discussion was from Scotland (a total of 85% in the five weeks up until 8 September)[1].

Although the analysis of referendum mentions has been based on quantity and not sentiment, the figures are still interesting. Here some points to consider:

  • The yes campaign page on Facebook has attracted 258,000 likes to the 182,000 of the no campaign and grew by 27% in the five-week period, compared with Better Together, which grew by 17%.
  • There were more than 1m interactions in Scotland around the phrase “vote yes” across the period – almost double the number of interactions around the phrase “vote no”.
  • Research also showed the first minister, Alex Salmond, drew 700,000 interactions in the UK as a whole, compared with 250,000 for the leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling.”[2]

Facebook will be launching a vote button tomorrow on the social feed so you can share your view with your friends and network. Hopefully this won’t deter people from actually voting! My view? Either way there will probably be another wall.

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[1] http://www.theguardian.com/politics

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/politics

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