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People as 'sensors': Twitter Messages Reveal Nfl's Big Plays and Fans' Excitement

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Football fan


Researchers at Rice University and Motorola Mobility have developed SportSense, software that monitors Twitter posts of National Football League fans to determine to their level of excitement and keep track of the big plays.

The program can tell within seconds when touchdowns, interceptions, and other big plays occur, and it can show how excited fans are about each game that is being played. SportSense also can tell which team benefited from the big play by monitoring fans' emotions and their team loyalties via the tweets.

SportSense displays three graphs, one that shows the big plays and the overall excitement level of the fans watching the game, and two others that highlight the excitement level of the fans of each individual team. The researchers want to use the software to sense other events that happen in the world.

"People don't often think of themselves as being sensors, but each of us constantly senses and reacts to our environment," says SportSense co-creator and Rice professor Lin Zhong. "Thanks to social media sites like Twitter, it is now possible to capture those reactions--for millions of people--in real time."

From Rice University
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