Twitter has given the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a $10 million grant to help study social networks and how they help users achieve goals with one another. The Laboratory for Social Machines will analyze Twitter, Reddit and other online social forums to help build tools for researchers and journalists over the next five years.
The lure of social media has evolved from regular users sharing personal thoughts into a long-term effective business tool - and MIT's access to Gnip, the Twitter-owned website that also stores older tweets, will give MIT researchers a large library of data to analyze.
"Social feedback loops based on analysis on public media and data can be an effective catalyst for increasing accountability and transparency," said Deb Roy, MIT Laboratory for Social Machines associated professor and chief media scientist at Twitter.
"With this investment, Twitter is seizing the opportunity to go deeper into research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex societal issues," said Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, in a statement.