Sickweather’s Graham Dodge has come up with an interesting study that he made after analyzing 17 million Facebook posts and tweets which all mentioned illness in serious sense, and not in a way users mention Bieber fever. His findings include that diseases spreads quicker between Hartford and Washington, D.C. and hence he dubbed it “contagion alley”. Also, peculiarly, people get sick mostly during the Super Bowl season, especially this February.
There have been many such studies on social media, which suggests that social media does in a way predict an outbreak of a disease or tracks its patterns in different demographics. But however, it could not be relied upon as scientific data, because most people who do not use social media, but suffer from medical conditions like anyone else, do not count in such reports. May be in a time when everyone in the world might have a social media account, like an identity card, then it might be a good source to track where diseases are leading to.
In fact, it will be a good source to check up for public health administration officials. However, such a time has not come yet, but Dodge thinks that it will be very soon the case. Sickweather is a consumer-facing product that tracks disease through social media interactions of users. It uses technology to scan mentions of different symptoms and the semantic analysis indicates which should be taken seriously. The result of all of this is generated in the form of a map that pinpoints locations and illnesses. The researchers want to use it as a prediction mode to help them provide healthcare.
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