Dude?!? You were reading our #HIV Tweets?

UCLA researchers publish a study in peer-reviewed journal Preventive Medicine, reading 550 million tweets linking HIV, drug use with prevention and incidence rates.

Ever feel like someone is watching you, or ‘all in your Kool Aid’ or even…– reading your every tweet in the new version of an old-school ‘Facebook-stalking’?  Well, YOU’ve been under an watchful eye.  No, not the CIA, this time. (I don’t think as I’m looking over my shoulder.)

Dude! You were reading our tweets?

 Honestly, some privacy people have a bit of issue with the study — examining tweets, etc.  I say: who cares?  If I wanted you to not RT me– I’d have made them, there tweets– private. Right?

I mean we all wear underwear for a reason, right?  Keep that junk on lock-down!  Except for those cool kids that… you know!?!



Anyways, UCLA researchers were looking and reading… in a massive “big data” kinda way.  But, all is cool in candy-tweet land– UCLA politely tweeted that they’re respecting privacy. Sounds good to me.




This new study published and peer-reviewed by peeps way smarter and probably that use way less #hashtag for their tweets than I do #overkill #slowmyrole #aintnothangbutachickenwang collected a whopping 550 million tweets between May 26 and Dec. 9, 2012 and then created some #amazing algorithm to connect words like “get high” “sex” and other words– probably too “bow-chicka-wow-wow” to publish and then compared those mapped tweets against a statistical model to see if the location matched places where HIV cases had been reported.  WHEW!  I’m following myself, too.

So– let’s see if we can find a few “uh oh” tweets out there:


OH, people be tweeting nasty stuff.


Pretty interestingly to mention, they found a significant (and my little bit of research knowledge is that the word “significant” and “insignificant” in study results is pretty– significant!) relationship between the two.  So, does social media really parallel our lives — and if they used current data instead of tweets from 2009, could that help preventative efforts at HIV infection reduction or treatment? Well, that’s another study.  But this one rocked, in my opinion. Here’s some stats if you’re competitive and love your state:

The states with the largest proportion of geo-located tweets, both general as well as HIV-related, were California (9.4 percent), Texas (9.0 percent), New York (5.7 percent) and Florida (5.4 percent). On a per capita basis, the largest raw number of HIV risk–related tweets came from the District of Columbia, Delaware, Louisiana and South Carolina. States with the highest per capita rate of tweets were Utah, North Dakota and Nevada. Caitlin Rivers and Bryan Lewis of Virginia Tech co-authored the study.  A grant from the National Institutes of Mental Health (KO1 MH09884) funded the study.

Twitter didn’t respond in time for publication with a comment, or even a response to my email.  (HINT: They never do!)


[box style=”orange comment shadow” ] Show your support and TWEET TO UCLA RESEARCH!  They’ll LOVE IT! #loveIT!



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