If you haven t looked at the Internet in a while, Harambe was a gorilla fatally shot by a zookeeper after a toddler fell into his pen, but he s more than that.

Upstart analytics firms like Civis and conventional pollsters like PPP, Ipsos, and Pew Research Institute have all been hunting for new, more data-centric ways to uncover the will of the whole public, rather than just the tiny slice willing to answer a random call on their landline.

People have tweeted about Donald Trump over 22 million times since the Republican National Convention.

So to put the data to use, analysts pull together all of the relevant mentions names and handles are the obvious ones, but hashtags and memes can get parsed, too using boolean search queries, which are basically just keyword searches that use the operators or, and, and not to refine results.

Which is why there are whole companies devoted to mining social media text for clues of rising trends, often for marketing and stock research.

According to Fabio Rojas, a sociologist at Indiana University who conducted a study correlating Twitter mentions and candidate success, More tweets equals more votes.

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