What Twitter Tells Us about Health
According to a recent study, researchers may be able to use information from Twitter to improve public health. It seems people’s tweets may provide helpful insight into how healthy their lifestyles are.
Researchers at the University of Oregon and the University of Washington collected a percentage of randomly selected tweets tagged with a geographic location in the U.S. between April 2015 and March 2016. Then they created an algorithm using about 25 search terms to classify and sort the tweets by happiness level, activity level, diet, etc. Using this information, the researchers built a map of the United States, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Interestingly, high numbers of tweets about happiness, physical activity, and healthy foods corresponded with areas that have lower rates of chronic health problems like diabetes and obesity. Researchers admit Twitter users are not a perfect sample of Americans, but social media may soon become an important source of health information.
Image Credit: Thinkstock