Special Presentations on Social Media Research

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stuart W. Shulman, PhD

Dr. Stuart W. Shulman is founder & CEO of Texifter, LLC and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding Director of the Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP) at the University of Pittsburgh and at UMass Amherst, as well as Associate Director of the National Center for Digital Government.

Hands-on training 9am, Location TBA

Hands-on training in using social media research tools.  Students are welcome to bring a laptop and join us.  Interested students should contact Jeanette Castillo jlcastillo@fsu.edu if they want to participate.  Participants will receive free trial access to the DiscoverText software and training on how to design social media research.


12pm, UCC 4400  : Coding the Twittersphere

About 20,000 influential individuals and organizations are thought to dominate the current micro-blogging forum of choice, Twitter. As a result, more people are finding reasons to follow, gather and analyze the streams of hyper-textual digital consciousness produced by these oracles. Beyond the influential thought leaders in every domain, there is a growing army of content curators and producers who collectively are the long tail of the Twitter crowd. Computer science students love the data; it is big and can be very rich with network and linguistic clues. Marketing firms love the data; there are many leads for trackers of consumer sentiment. Social scientists would like to learn to love the data, but they often feel overwhelmed by its enormity and peculiarities, especially when they lack the right machine support for the task. However, when equipped with the right tools, visionary researchers like Scott Golder and Michael Macy of Cornell, help us to see global patterns, for example, in the diurnal rhythms of Twitter users across cultures. This talk is about how and why to gather, filter, search, human code and machine classify the Twittersphere. Based on 10 years of NSF-funded research, Dr. Shulman has developed and commercialized software, DiscoverText, which gives social scientists the human language tools required to code the Twittersphere.

3pm, LSB 006 :  Fear and Loathing on the Social Campaign Trail

What were voters afraid of on the eve of the 2012 election? Fear is one of the most freely expressed forms of sentiment in social media. This “Voice of the Voter” presentation looks social data collected in the final week of October and speaks to the nature and salience of fear among the electorate. Bridging political and computational science, Dr. Shulman will present a frightening array of scenarios predicted in the Tweets and Facebook updates as the final phase of the campaign transpires.


Dr. Stuart Shulman is a political science professor, software inventor, entrepreneur, and garlic growing enthusiast who coaches U11 boys club soccer for FC Massachusetts with a national D-license. He is the founder & CEO of Texifter, LLC, Director of QDAP-UMass, and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics. Stu is the proud owner of a Bernese/Shepherd named “Colbert” who goes by ”Bert. You can follow his exploits @stuartwshulman or @DiscoverText.

Dr. Shulman is the sole inventor of the Coding Analysis Toolkit (CAT), a free, open source, Web-based text analysis software project, as well as the Public Comment Analysis toolkit (PCAT), and a new analytic network known as DiscoverText. The QDAP labs are fee-for-service coding labs that work on projects previously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Mental Health (NIMH), the Smithsonian, and other U.S. funding agencies. Dr. Shulman has been the Principal Investigator and Project Director on National Science Foundation-funded research projects focusing on electronic rulemaking, human language technologies, manual annotation, digital citizenship, and service-learning efforts in the United States.

As Director of the NSF-funded eRulemaking Research Group, Dr. Shulman has organized and chaired federal agency-level electronic rulemaking workshops at the Council for Excellence in Government (2001), the National Defense University (2002), the National Science Foundation (2003 & 2006), and The George Washington University (2004). In 2006, he chaired a NSF-funded workshop at the University of Pittsburgh titled “Coding across the Disciplines,” which brought social and computer scientists together to discuss annotation and computational science. He has recently chaired workshops on YouTube and the 2008 Election in the United States (2009), the Politics of Open Source (2010), and The Future of Computational Social Science (2011).

For six years, Dr. Shulman was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, and he currently serves as Editor Emeritus. He was the 2004-2005 President of the American Political Science Association’s organized section on Information Technology & Politics and for three years was Editor of the section newsletter, The ITP News. Stu is a former Oregon Tilth certified organic farmer and garlic enthusiast who teaches courses on American national government, environmental policy, sprawl, information technology, qualitative research methods, digital citizenship, governance, and service-learning. In the fall of 2009, he launched a software start-up, Texifter, LLC, which aims to help individuals, organizations, and crowds when they are archiving, filtering, searching, classifying, and analyzing large numbers of documents. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston University (Political Science and English) and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (Political Science).