Troubled #hearts -- in 140 characters

October 20, 2014 7:22 PM

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I joined Twitter in 2008, and I've always been impressed by the diversity of this floating conversation. People will just as soon tweet about dinner as the sorry state of American politics, and they are by turns thoughtful and shallow, original and fraudulent, snide and generous of spirit. In 140 characters or fewer, users reflect the range of human emotion, from joy to rage, wonder to boredom, cynicism to hopefulness.

Individual Twitter users can obviously reveal a lot about their lives and feelings, even in terse tweets. But what about very large numbers of tweets, by many people in many places? Is it possible that aggregate Twitter patterns might also be revealing in some useful way? Could Twitter offer snapsho...

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