Tag Archives: David Broniatowski

What’s going on with the flu ‘epidemic’? Tweet your way to understanding

29 Jan
This map indicates the prevalence of flu in the United States in the first week of January this year, 2013, as measured by the volume of flu-related tweets. States with higher flu rates are colored in a darker red. This year, in contrast to last January, the nation is awash in flu cases.Credit: Mark Dredze/JHU

This map indicates the prevalence of flu in the United States in the first week of January this year, 2013, as measured by the volume of flu-related tweets. States with higher flu rates are colored in a darker red. This year, in contrast to last January, the nation is awash in flu cases.
Credit: Mark Dredze/JHU

As if the¬†coworkers’ sniffles, friends’ Facebook posts and frantic news headlines about this year’s flu season haven’t been enough to either educate or cause paranoia, the microblogging site, Twitter is also responsible for the heavy news feed about the illness no one wants to catch.

But, how do readers distinguish between the actual “news you can use” and people merely talking about the illness? Researchers at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine have an answer.

Mark Dredze, an assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science, along with his colleagues, created a new tweet-screening method to provide updates on the flu infection, but filter out unrelated conversations that are not useful to someone trying to be educated and aware. Continue reading

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