What More Can We Do with Social Media Data? Library’s Data Literacy Series Introduces a New Tool

Check the recent news featuring Prof. Bruno Abrahao, CITIES Co-Investigator. 

From posts to tweets to chats, likes to shares, humans are producing a massive amount of data on social media every day. The microblogging site Twitter, with 400 million users alone, allows users with programming skills to extract data from their site through a number of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). What can we learn from this data – and can it be used safely to make the world a better place?  

On November 18,  four speakers from Toronto, Seattle, Jakarta, and Shanghai gathered to consider these questions at the panel sponsored by the NYU Shanghai Library, Social Media for Social Good: Twitter API Deciphered in Small Bytes. The speakers described how analyzing data extracted from Twitter informed their research on issues such as migration, mental illness, and disaster prevention and relief. 

“Despite its limitations, publicly-available big data like Twitter provides researchers an opportunity to understand deep problems at low cost without intruding on individuals’ privacy. It can transform the way we understand ourselves and the world,” said Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Business Analytics Bruno Abrahao, who shared how he and his team used Twitter as a“giant clinical trial on the web” to develop methods to aid the treatment of depression

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