"Identifying Policy Opinion Shapers and Trends in Turkey" (I-POST) is a collaborative cross-faculty project with the ambition of redefining the frontier in employing social media in public opinion research. The project is designed to exploit Twitter as a data resource to define who is shaping political public opinion in Turkey. With more than one hundred million daily tweets, Twitter users create a barometer of political and economic sentiment that is as reliable as well reputed polls designed by Reuters, Gallup and other online services. The team comprises of two political scientists from FASS (Brooke Luetgert and Emre Hatipoğlu) and one computer scientist from FENS (Yücel Saygın).
The team hopes the project has the potential to put Sabancı University on the "academic map" as a center of excellence in high technology data collection and political opinion tracking research. I-POST will have a high impact in research as well as in society by capturing and reporting trends on popular issues such as constitutional reform, education, and foreign policy in real time. This real-time monitoring of trends increases the transparency of the opinion formation process and contributes to both societal and academic awareness of changes in popular political rhetoric.