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Month December 2010

Guestpost for “Politik nach Zahlen” on Twitter Election Forecasts

With Pascal Jürgens [@pascal], and Harald Schoen I wrote a short blogpost for “Politik nach Zahlen“, a blog focused on empirical research on elections, hosted by the German newspaper Die Zeit. In “Twitterprognosen, oder: Warum die Piratenpartei beinahe die Wahl 2009 gewonnen hätte” we addressed the claim made by Andranik Tumasjan, Timm O. Sprenger, Philipp G. Sander, and Isabell M. Welpe in their paper “Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment” presented at the AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, that Twitter would serve as a valuable instrument in forecasting election results. In their paper they found that the mentions of political parties on Twitter during a given time interval would closely mirror the election result. As the embedded diagram shows our results were not so encouraging.

More on that here.

Stats on Internet Use in Germany

While researchers of online communication or internet enabled social behavior strongly believe in the growing importance of the internet and its significant effect on social processes this believe is not always shared by more traditional social scientists. But data speaks louder than beliefs. So who is doing regular studies on internet use in Germany and what are important one-shot studies? Here is a short list to get this started. But the more important question is: What studies have I missed? I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d add to this list in the comments.

ARD/ZDF Onlinestudie
One of the probably most comprehensive sources of data on internet usage behavior in Germany are the ARD/ZDF Onlinestudien. Since 1997 the German TV stations ARD and ZDF regularly conduct a representative telephone survey with the aim of documenting the development of internet use in Germany. Since 2009 the results of the studies get regularly published in the journal Media Perspektiven. On their website you can find documentation on the ARD/ZDF Onlinestudien since 1997.

Forschungsgruppe Wahlen
Since 2000 the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen each quarter collects data on internet use in Germany in their report Internet-Strukturdaten. They base their reports on representative telephone surveys. They collect data on internet use, the demographics of internet users (i.e. age, education, occupation), the political preferences, political uses, and usage intensity.

Statistisches Bundesamt
Another source for information on internet use in Germany is the Statistische Bundesamt. The Amt regularly publishes information on internet use in enterprises and private households. Also they publish data on the demographics and the way how the internet is used.

JIM: Jugend, Information, (Multi-)Media
Since 1998 the Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest publishes a yearly study into the media usage of 12 to 19 year olds in Germany called JIM: Jugend, Information, (Multi-)Media. In this study they regularly document the use of the internet by that demographic. The study is based on telephone interviews with approximately 1000 12 to 19 year olds. The studies are available for download on their website.

KIM: Kinder und Medien Computer und Internet
Since 1999 the Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest also conducts regular studies into the media usage of 6 to 12 year olds in Germany. This study is called Kinder und Medien Computer und Internet. These studies are also availble for download.

So, what else is out there?