18 October 2013

Fridays from the Archives: Twitter Data

Did you know that there's a whole archive of past ISDS webinars, easily accessible and searchable by key terms? My new bi-weekly series, Fridays from the Archives, will select one webinar from the ISDS vault and summarize its content.

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Friday, October 18, 2013: Twitter Data

This morning on the bus I found myself mindlessly scrolling through my twitter feed, inspiring my first Fridays from the Archives keyword search of "twitter data". That brought me to the June 28, 2012 webinar, "Application and Visualization of Twitter Data for Disease Surveillance". Presented by Courtney Corley (US), Marcel Salathe (US), and Mark Cameron (Australia), this webinar looked at a variety of details that are integral to effective surveillance using twitter.

In particular, the presentations focused on:

  • Filtering and processing;
  • Analysis; and
  • Presentation of findings.

For me, the highlight of this webinar was seeing the myriad and differing ways in which twitter data was utilized by the three presenters. For instance, Mark Cameron's presentation notes twitter's use in surveillance of the February 2009 Victorian bushfires, whereas Courtney Corley summarized the importance of understanding twitter's unique terminology and presenting data visualizations. Finally, Marcel Salathe described how you can use twitter data as part of a health behavior assessment.

If you're interested in twitter, crowd sourcing, or social media in general, this webinar will provide you with ideas for effectively using new data sources without ignoring potential drawbacks of social media data.

A video recording of the full presentation and copies of the slides are available in the ISDS Webinar Archive (http://www.syndromic.org/component/content/article/29/218).

I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of Fridays from the Archives. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for improving this series!

Written by Becky Zwickl, MPH, ISDS Public Health Analyst (bzwickl@syndromic.org)

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