Tweets helped team predict ‘American Idol’ winner
Northeastern team used popular show to test Web forecasting theory
As social media has grown in popularity and smartphones and wireless access have become ubiquitous, major events like the Arab Spring or the outcome of political elections appear, often in retrospect, to have been foreshadowed by activity online. There has been growing interest in figuring out how to use data to augur the future, whether it is the ups and downs of the stock market or the spread of disease. But as the datastream grows, so has the debate over whether and in what circumstances Twitter predictions are possible.