The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The evolution of researchers

By Bethany peterson/editor-in-chief

We have all been warned, “Be careful what you post online, you never know who will see it!”

Well, another group has joined the hackers, identity thieves and stalking ex-significant-others using your social networking post to gather information — researchers.

That’s right. After years of crediting social networking with all kinds of evil, academia finally found the bright side by joining the dark side.

To researchers tired of long, fruitless days conducting phone questionnaires or the lack of funds that limit studies to small groups of starving college students, social networking sites are a dream come true.

For instance, using a computer program that scans tweets for words indicating the tweeter’s mood, researchers at Cornell University analyzed 400 tweets from each of 2.4 million posters in 84 countries over two years. The program looked for words like awesome, agree and annoy as well as emoticons like :).

They found people across the globe have a positive peak at 9 a.m., and then negativity increases as the day wears on until another positive peak close to midnight.

Researchers found the midday slump held steady on weekends though the general mood was better overall, leading researchers to conclude the slump has less to do with work and more to do with biological factors or internal rhythms, according to Scott Golder, one of the study’s authors.

It should be noted using social networking sites for research has many limitations. Some include people posting what followers want to hear rather than true feelings and the inability to know special circumstances in an individual’s life.

Research conducted only on social networkers is not a universal study since many people don’t use social networks.

Also, unless a human reads all the tweets, sarcasm and unusual wordings will be missed and pollute any findings.

But this use of social networking sites shows an established field embracing change. With appropriate guidelines and co-studies using new and old techniques to establish credibility, a new field could open up.

And if you don’t want your postings analyzed, use the privacy settings.

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