Ashley Amaya, Ruben Bach, Frauke Kreuter, Florian Keusch
Measuring the Strength of Attitudes in Social Media Data

S. 163-192 in: Craig Hil, Paul P. Biemer, Trent Buskirk, Lilli Japec, Antje Kirchner, Stas Kolenikov, Lars E. Lyberg (Hrsg.): Big Data Meets Survey Science: A Collection of Innovative Methods. 2021. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley

Official statistics could be produced more quickly and less expensively than currently possible using surveys. Big Data may also provide statistics for small areas to make informed policy and program decisions This chapter uses social media data to produce similar attitude distributions as survey data. It explores deeper into each distribution to determine the source of any observed dissimilarities. The chapter uses a combination of several datasets stemming from the European Social Survey (ESS) and Reddit to measure six scalar attitudes: political ideology, interest in politics, support for gay rights, support for the European Union, views on immigration, and belief in climate change. It evaluates error, both overall and by the three commonly cited error components of Big Data: missingness, measurement, and coding. The chapter presents the results of the analysis of the datasets, showing that the ESS skewed toward more liberal attitudes and the Reddit data were more centrist and normally distributed.