In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than a thousand tweets will have been twittered and dozens of blogs posted (according to Jim Giles @NewScientist). Most of it is fluff, yet possible this information will be used to make predictions about our society. And you thought you were just rambling senselessly…
Okay, so a rather serious post for Restless Writers, but hey – you’re still reading! And this IS a blog! It’s true, research scientists are analysing the population’s state of mind by looking through blogs and tweets. They are being used to forecast sales of homes, cars, products and even how the stock market may behave. Blogs are providing a sample of what is going on in society.
Even more bizarre, your words (a.k.a. web data) are being analysed to create an index of national “mood.” This is called the Anxiety Index—a measure of frequency with which a range of words related to apprehension (e.g. nervous) appears in your posts. Same goes for twitter; it holds similar predictive power.
I am relatively new to the whole blog & tweet world, and of course, once online, it’s inevitable that we are all being mined. So knowing this, will I change my tweets or blogposts? Absolutely not. Nor should you. What a wonderful world we live in that we may speak and express ourselves freely.
Blog away. Tweet til dawn.
In the words of Voltaire, “think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”