Many of us spend so much of our time tweeting about what we’re up to, what we’re eating, who we’re with and how we feel that it’s no surprise some data companies are hoping to tap into our tweets in order to find out important information about our lives. Of course marketers want to know what we’re doing so they can target products and promotional materials at us, but over the past year or so those concerned with health trends have realised that Twitter (and the social web generally) is a valuable resource when it comes to tracking illnesses, diseases and just general health sentiment.
One such company is Mappy Health, which admittedly sounds a bit fluffy but the team fetches realtime data from Twitter associated with more than 200 specific terms, which are then analysed to find 27 different conditions. A set of algorithms are used to identify the terms and then further analyse what’s being said in each tweet so that information can be visualised and used as part of research in disease trends.
To date more than 4.5 million tweets have been gathered by Mappy Health and you can browse through them by location and condition to visualise what people are talking about or which diseases they’re getting. Even if you’re not a health company or government official, the data is still pretty fascinating, so go check out the website and have a browse.
Although there’s admittedly a lot of pointless noise on social media platforms (particularly Twitter), it’s good to see a company devising effective way to mine data, weed out the rubbish and actually do something valuable with the data that’s left.