Using Social Media to Gauge Iranian Public Opinion and Mood after the 2009 Election

Using Social Media to Gauge Iranian Public Opinion and Mood after the 2009 Election

Using Social Media to Gauge Iranian Public Opinion and Mood after the 2009 Election

Using Social Media to Gauge Iranian Public Opinion and Mood after the 2009 Election

Excerpt

The role of social media in the protests following the 2009 Iranian presidential election has been widely reported. This report presents an analysis of Iranian public opinion and mood as expressed over Twitter in the nine months following the election. The research represents an initial case study of a novel methodology developed to analyze politically oriented social media content. In addition to policy-relevant findings regarding Iranians’ attitudes toward a variety of topics (e.g., President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the United States), our methodological approach is described in detail. The results should be of interest to analysts and policymakers concerned with Iranian politics and public opinion in closed societies, as well as social media researchers.

This paper is a product of the RAND Corporation’s continuing program of self-initiated independent research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by donors and by the independent research and development provisions of RAND’s contracts for the operation of its U.S. Department of Defense federally funded research and development centers. The research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD) of the RAND Corporation. NSRD conducts research and analysis on defense and national security topics for the U.S. and allied defense, foreign policy, homeland security, and intelligence communities and foundations and other nongovernmental organizations that support defense and national security analysis.

For more information on the International Security and Defense Policy Center, see http:// www.rand.org/nsrd/ndri/centers/isdp.html or contact the director (contact information is provided on web page).

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