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In what will likely fuel linguistic class discussions for the next decade, Twitter claims its algorithm can predict a user's gender with 90% accuracy just by analyzing word choice, behavioral patterns, and other factors. BoingBoing dives into the analytics data, which was released to every user on August 27, instead of just verified users and advertising accounts. You can now see your followers broken down by gender, even though gender isn't listed with Twitter accounts.
So how does Twitter know the genders of users? Twitter didn't reply to a request for information for the BoingBoing article, which describes a study of gendered writing. Researchers have found that "OMG" is used four times as often on Twitter by women than men, and that anyone tweeting about "my yoga" is more likely than not a woman.
Interestingly, BoingBoing reports that the Twitter follower data often skews overwhelmingly male, but is that because the algorithm is wrong or because there are more male Twitter users in the first place? "One has to ask, after all this scrying of gender, whether it matters a bit? For advertisers who know their products skew to one gender or another, or produce better results with gender-tailored marketing for the same market, sure. For the rest of us, it's hard to say," Glenn Fleishman writes.
· An algorithm to figure out your gender [BoingBoing]
· Brands Will Not Give Up on Twitter Shopping [Racked]
· Creepy: Tumblr Will Scan Your Photos for Brand Names [Racked]