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Assessing Vaccination Sentiments with Online Social Media

14.10.2011 14:41

Branco Weiss fellow Marcel Salathé, assistant professor of biology at Penn State University, has designed and implemented a unique and innovative analysis of how social media can affect the spread of a disease. He studied how users of Twitter expressed their sentiments about a new vaccine and then tracked how the users’ attitudes correlated with vaccination rates and how microbloggers with the same negative or positive feelings seemed to influence others in their social circles.

The research is considered the first case study in how social media sites affect and reflect disease networks. The results have been published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology.