While most people are addicted to social media these days, did you know that something good could actually come out of it? According to an Indian-origin study conducted recently, it was found that tweets made by people could help decipher if these people were lonely. Yes, you read that right. Looks like your tweets might be doing some good after all.
Loneliness has never been taken as seriously as it should be since it has been tied to multiple health ailments like depression, cardiovascular disease and dementia among other conditions. For the study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the US tried to figure out what kind of topics and themes could be associated with the feelings of loneliness.
The researchers then applied certain linguistic analytical models that helped figure out that lonely people often tweeted about struggles with relationships, insomnia, substance abuse and even checking up on the mental health of close ones. What's great about this model is that it could help identify potentially lonely people and could extend support to them to help tackle their issues.
“Loneliness can be a slow killer, as some of the medical problems associated with it can take decades to manifest,” said the study’s lead author Sharath Chandra Guntuku, a research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. “If we are able to identify lonely individuals and intervene before the health conditions associated with the themes we found begin to unfold, we have a chance to help those much earlier in their lives. This could be very powerful and have long-lasting effects on public health,” Guntuku said.
“Social media has the potential to allow researchers and clinicians to passively measure loneliness over time,” said study co-author Rachelle Schneider, also from the University of Pennsylvania. “Through validating our data, we can develop a reliable and accurate tool to do this monitoring,” Schneider said. “On Twitter, we found lonely users expressing a need for social support, and it appears that the use of expletives and the expression of anger is a sign of that being unfulfilled,” Guntuku said.