Who needs a crystal ball when you have social media?

Social media is becoming an ever growing part of culture, because it’s an instant way of viewing news and public opinion. Data miners are constantly looking at ways to use this information to turn social networks into digital crystal balls. So can trends predict things such as awards for example the Oscars?

Yesterday evening saw the 85th annual Academy Awards and whilst the stars and crew of the nominated films nervously awaited the results, should they have instead just looked to social media for the answer?

For example last year, as this infographic by webtrends design (via mashable) shows, social media was correct in predicting the awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress.


With that in mind did this year fare any better? Well according to this infographic by The credits, via social media buzz, social media predicted that the following nominees would be big winners:

Although it’s not foolproof, by monitoring analyses interactions across a variety of social networks and analysing how people interact and comment on various subjects, it is clear that social media is becoming an increasingly more useful and an accurate indicator of public sentiment and a potentially powerful tool in predicting what happens next.

With the results in it appears that out of 18 categories social media managed to predict 15 winners correctly.  Whilst Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway were the undoubtedly the critics and public’s choice for Best actor and Best supporting actress, the social media buzz was able to outguess  the critics by correctly predicting Best Supporting Actor (Christophe Waltz) and Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence).

So with that in mind is there value in using social media as a way to predict things like award ceremonies, outcomes to elections, or even terrorist attacks?


Image courtesy of Disney ABC Television Group under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license 

Infographics courtesy of Mashable via Webtrends Design Lab and Joel Windels, Business 2 Community

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