Indiana University Observatory on Social Media tools

Indiana University Observatory on Social Media tools
The power to explore online social media movements — from the pop cultural to the political — with the same algorithmic sophistication as top experts in the field is now available to journalists, researchers and members of the public from a free, user-friendly online software suite released today by scientists at Indiana University.

The Web-based tools, called the Observatory on Social Media, or “OSoMe” (pronounced “awesome”), provide anyone with an Internet connection the power to analyze online trends, memes and other online bursts of viral activity.

An academic pre-print paper on the tools is available in the open-access journal PeerJ.

“This software and data mark a major goal in our work on Internet memes and trends over the past six years,” said Filippo Menczer, director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and a professor in the IU School of Informatics and Computing. The project is supported by nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation.

“We are beginning to learn how information spreads in social networks, what causes a meme to go viral and what factors affect the long-term survival of misinformation online,” Menczer added. “The observatory provides an easy way to access these insights from a large, multi-year dataset.”

Some of the tools:

  • Trends, which shows how memes rise and fall in popularity.
  • Networks, which creates interactive graphs showing who is tweeting a meme and how they’re connected.
  • Movies, which generates animations on YouTube showing how memes spread and evolve over time.
  • Maps, which creates a map pinpointing where in the world people are discussing a meme.
  • Hoaxy, helps visualize the spread of claims and fact checking.
  • Botometer, checks how bot-like a Twitter user behaves.

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