It turns out, the comments we make online reveal a lot about us. Researchers are now analyzing online comments for a wide array of predictive patterns and signals, using Internet discussions and social media as sources of constant, easy-to-access information about what’s going on in people’s lives.
Their efforts may eventually allow health professionals to monitor patients’ well-being based on their Twitter streams and Facebook entries. Controversially, employers or insurance companies could one day screen job applicants and potential clients based on their social media status updates.
Researchers say they can predict “personality traits, or their levels of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, based on their Twitter histories”.
They say they can now predict the heart-disease mortality rates of an entire community based on the Twitter posts of people living in that community – and this is more accurate that evaluating “smoking rates, the obesity rates, the demographics, the income, the education”.