Could Twitter help predict a bank run? That was the question a group of us were tasked with answering in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum. To investigate, we built an experimental system in just a few days, to collect and analyse tweets in real time. In the end, fears of a bank run were not realised, so the jury is still out on Twitter. But even so we learnt a lot about social media analysis (and a little about American Football) and argue that text analytics more generally has much potential for central banks.
On 18th September 2014, Scottish residents went to the polls to answer the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” At the time, concerns were raised about the potential impact a ‘yes’ result might have on the UK financial system. Indeed, the Governor highlighted that “uncertainty about the currency arrangements could raise financial stability issues.”
The group pioneered an innovative approach using social media as a unique lens through which to observe developments in real-time. We analysed traffic on the Twitter micro-blogging platform in the run-up to the vote, searching for tweets including terms or phrases that may have indicated depositors preparing to withdraw money from Scottish financial insti...