Social reality is changing…
A fundamental trend of modern society development is a change in communication formats and popularity of social media. It is social media’s comprehensive nature and strong influence on all social groups that allows us to talk about changing the methods of studying the social reality overall and creating new alternative (instead of traditional polling) ways of public opinion research… Methods of studying the social reality are changing as well.
We can safely say that the methods of public opinion research using the people’s statement analysis in social media are becoming major. The generation of any new knowledge is based on previous experience and practice and a development of a new direction in science of public research must surely be based on the methodological foundation of computational sciences, statistics (Chebyshev and Bernoulli laws), and a number of sociological practices along with a vast amount of experiments.
Not only asking a few respondents, but carefully listening to masses of people
The methodological scheme of polling technologies looks like this: a sociologist asks the respondent a question and gets an answer. In the new reality of researching public opinion in social media, we basically get a stream of consciousness transmitted in form of texts and images. It was necessary to create the appropriate tools to filter the required sub-streams in millions of public messages and make the new analytical constructions from that material. In other words, we are not asking people, we are listening to their opinions. Modern technological solutions allow us not only to listen to people, but also to filter the required information from the general message stream, to organize, analyze, and, based on all collected data, to predict social mood.
An important feature of the new research direction is the boundless possibilities. While face-to-face survey methods are restricted by time and other resources, the social media researches are free from such limitations. On the contrary, the use of modern technologies of Big Data analysis delivers new knowledge, correlations, and insights.