• Presentation

Twitter Feeds and Google Search Query Surveillance: Can They Supplement Survey Data Collection?

Citation

Murphy, J., Kim, A. E., Hagood, H., Richards, A. K., Augustine, C. B., Kroutil, L. A., & Sage, A. (2011, September). Twitter Feeds and Google Search Query Surveillance: Can They Supplement Survey Data Collection?. Presented at Association for Survey Computing 6th International Conference, Bristol, UK.

Abstract

With networks like Twitter allowing for mass-scale sharing of thoughts, opinions, and behaviors by people worldwide, there is an opportunity to harvest these data to provide insights where survey data have traditionally been employed. Similarly, trends in Internet searches can be tracked over time, and studies have shown some correlation of search trends with results of political polls, flu outbreaks, and other phenomena. It is worth considering whether and how new sources of data may supplement traditional survey data collection. In this paper, we consider these data sources as they relate to the current and future states of survey data collection. We explore the surveillance of an emerging drug trend for salvia divinorum, using Twitter feeds and Google search trends, and compare tweet content and Google search volume to reports from publicly available survey data. We highlight the results of these comparisons and discuss the implications for future research in the survey context.