A unique and innovative analysis of how social media can affect the spread of a disease has been designed and implemented by a scientist at Penn State University studying attitudes toward the H1N1 vaccine. Marcel Salathé, an assistant professor of biology, studied how users of Twitter — a popular microblogging and social-networking service — expressed their sentiments about a new vaccine. He 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, and the method is expected to be repeated in the study of other diseases.
+ Full Paper (PLoS Computational Biology)
Source: Science Daily