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Tuesday, 29th June 2010

Social Media: Lockheed Martin and Their Twitter Research Project

Lockheed Martin, is a company that is "principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and service." Most of their business is with the U.S. Government and U.S. Department of Defense (aka, government contractor)

From an Article:

Researchers at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Lab in Cherry Hill, NJ have begun tracking and analyzing tweets in disaster events to find how Twitter and other social networks can be of use during political unrest and conflict.

The research team, led by engineer and information specialist Brian Dennis, aims to show the federal government that social media research is worth greater investment. Since August 2009 the team has been tracking tweets on Twitter, as well as images on YouTube and Flickr.


Dennis explained that compared to more traditional mediums of communication, social networks promote users to chat more freely and openly, leading to increased exposure of political corruption and strife. Issues people had been afraid to discuss openly are now freely tweeted. The Lockheed Martin researchers want to prove "the content on these [social media] sites is worth paying attention to" and determine "how to separate relevant, useful stuff from the blabbers," said Dennis.


Dennis also plans to use demographic and behavioral data from the study to create a computer simulation of social-media user reactions to disasters.

In January when a 7.0 earthquake devastated Haiti, only a few months after the study began, the research team searched Twitter to see how much information they could gather. Researchers initially found 50 significant users tweeting about the quake. Then, by searching the users' followers and their followers' followers, the team compiled 29,000 tweets from more than 18,000 users within two hours.

Access the Complete Article

Source: OhMyGov

See Also: An Early Press Release (September, 2009) from Lockheed Martin About the Project

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