News & AnalysisSociology

Social Scientists Wade Into the Tweet Stream

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Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1814-1815
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6051.1814

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The 5-year-old social media Web site Twitter now claims that more than 100 million users post 230 million "tweets" (text messages up to 140 characters long) every day. In that torrent of data, some social scientists see an unprecedented opportunity to study human communication and social networks. On page 1878 of this week's issue of Science, researchers report their effort to use Twitter to study the collective moods of millions of people in diverse cultures around the world in real time. Their findings paint a portrait of humanity's mood swings.