Harvard Medical School Using Twitter To Study Food Poisoning


Using Twitter to track Food Poisoning

Twitter, Harvard Medical School, and Boston Children’s Hospital have teamed up to study food poisoning. The social network on Thursday announced the partnership, which provides both institutions with free access to Twitter’s social media data pipeline.

The two medical institutions were “one” of six institutions to receive access via the Twitter Data Grants program.  That program was announced in February 2014, and promptly received more than 1,300 grant proposals from 60 countries.

Other institutions taking advantage of the Twitter Data Grants include NICT of Japan (disaster information analysis), University of Twente of the Netherlands (effectiveness of cancer early detection campaigns on Twitter, UCSD (happiness in cities), The University of Wollongong of Australia (urban flooding), and the University of East London (exploring the relationship between tweets and sports team performance).

At this time Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital officials have not revealed plans for their grant. The information could be used to track food poisoning back to its source, or it could be used to determine which areas are most prone to incidents of food poisoning. It will be interesting to see what type of data is collected and utilized by officials at both institutions.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been used to study food poisoning. Foodborne Chicago uses an automated system to review local tweets for food poisoning symptoms. The program has identified more than 2,664 tweets since debuting on March 23. That program is focused on the city of Chicago.


James Kosur

James Kosur has worked in the new media space for the last 10 years, helping many publications build their audiences to millions of monthly readers. He currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Business2Community.com and the CEO of Aven Enterprises LLC.

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