If it’s not Scottish, it’s Crap!: What Twitter and the Scottish Referendum Can Tell Us




Morris, Marcella Harrison

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On September 18, 2014 after nearly two years of intense campaigning, a referendum was held in Scotland for voters to decide if Scotland would declare independence. After a contentious campaign, 55% of Scottish voters rejected independence. This thesis tackles the question of what Twitter can tell us about the Scottish referendum. This is achieved by breaking down the question in two parts: first, can Twitter have predictive qualities and had we looked in the right place could we have seen the divisions between 45% and 55% found in the results beforehand? Second, what can Twitter show an observer about national identity construction in the lead up to and wake of a referendum of this nature? On the question of predictability, we find that there is little ability for Twitter to accurately predict an election with a strong silent majority, but that Twitter does allow for superb observation of the public discourse and allows for observers to understand the construction and changes in identity as individuals are faced with serious questions that could radically change the status quo. Through this study, we begin to unpack the hugely powerful tool of Twitter and gain otherwise invisible insights into what Scottish identity definitions may now include.



Twitter, Scotland independence referendum, Election prediction, Identity recreation