2013 Flu Symptoms: How Did I Know You Were Sick? A Little Bird Told Me

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Flu symptom data (and everything else you Tweet) is available to the general public. Image courtesy of Twitter

Flu symptom data (and everything else you Tweet) is available to the general public. Image courtesy of Twitter

What Makes Twitter Data Better for Scientific Community?

Broniatowski goes on to explain why Twitter data is preferable for the scientific community, when it comes time to aggregate and sort data.

“… our Twitter data is publicly available, whereas Google Flu Trends is a private algorithm so we can’t really know what’s going on under the hood. This means that we can never really understand *why* Google Flu Trends works, whereas the Twitter data allows us to collaborate with the wide scientific community.

Not only is the algorithm private, Google doesn’t tend to release search data either – so the entire data pool would only be accessible for Google applications, as useful as they may be.

2013 Flu Symptoms: Novel Methods for Tracking Influenza Spread

The public is no longer entirely reliant on the CDC to report the spread of the flu or other infectious diseases. With current research, and online tools such as the Flu Trends map, your can check for flu in your area and work to avoid getting sick.

Resources

Hay SI et al. Global mapping of infectious disease. (2013). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Accessed February 5, 2013.

Sneiderman, P. Using Twitter to track the flu. (2013). Johns Hopkins University. Accessed February 5, 2013.

Google. Flu Trends Map. (2013). Accessed February 5, 2013.

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