About the Project

Do you follow politicians, parties, news, and any other opinion reader on Twitter?

You follow them probably because you are curious what they are saying. But following someone doesn't always mean that you support him, her, or the institution. Previous research reveals that Twitter users are following or followed by other users who tend to have similar political stance [1]. Thus, even though Twitter is the resource to earn political issues very fast, your information may be limited within your followers and even biased.

Do you reply to or retweet some of their tweets?

Another research tells us that people usually retweet when they agree with the message of tweets. In contrast, mentions appear to be mixed with positive and negative additional text [2].  It is also uncovered that the mere numbers of retweets and mentions may be a predictor of an election [3]. However, the number of these actions of all people doesn't exactly represent the popularity or seriousness of the problem.

We wanted to know what you really think on the tweets beyond mentions and retweets.

We believe what is important is how people actually think about the politically influential people and their tweets.
Thus, we let you vote on those tweets.

On the Political Grid Project, you can vote on a tweet based on the two questions

  • Do you agree with the tweet?
  • How important is it to you?

More importantly, besides the voting, through various visualizations you can investigate the voting results including questions like

  • Who I agree with most? Whose opinions do I think the most important?
  • What all other citizens think? How different are their opinions from mine?
  • Which politician is more popular? Who is more controversial?
  • Which tweets got the most votes?
  • What issues do citizens have interests in?

With this motivation, the Political Grid Project has started as a research project. It's led by Tanyoung Kim, a Ph.D. candidate in Digital Media program at Georgia Institute of Technology. We research on how people engage in data generation, how they explore the data through visualization, and what insights they obtain through these holistic exploration.

Beginning in spring 2012, the Political Grid Project particularly focuses on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.


This website was developed through collaboration with Tom Bellitire, Michael Dandy, Thomas Lester, and Justin Roberts.


Many thanks to John Sharp, Ian Bogost, Jay Bolter, and John Stasko.

Related Paper

A provisional idea of this project was published at Workshop on Social Media Visualization (SocMedVis), affiliated with the 6th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-12).
See the paper. [PDF]


[1] Golbeck, J. and Hansen, D. Computing Political Preference among Twitter Followers. In Prof. of CHI 2011.
[2] Conover, M. D., Ratkiewicz, J., Francisco, M., Goncalves, B., Flammini, A., and Menczer, F. Political Polarization on Twitter, In Proc. of ICWSM 2011.
[3] Tumasjan, A., Sprenger, T.O., Sandner, P.G., and Welpe, I.M. Predicting Elections with Twitter: What 140 Characters Reveal about Political Sentiment. In Proc. of ICWSM 2011.