Social Media Listening

Athens, GA- Sick with Strep? Caught the flu? You post it and the rest of the world sees it. It’s not just peers and fellow social media users seeing this information, though.

Lecturer and photographer Marni Shindelman decribes social media listening, “So they’re kind of listening in to see what’s happening. And a lot of times the government is using it… for really good purposes. The CDC is tracking the flu based on Facebook status updates because not a lot of us go to the doctor. Most of us just post on Facebook ‘I’m really sick'”.

So how does the government access this information?

Assistant Professor Himelboim says, ” The best answer is that we willingly and happily give it to them.”

Despite privacy settings and blocking control features, anything you post on the internet is in the public domain. From there, information can be easily tracked.

Social media user Angela Eschbach says, “It kinda creeped me out a little bit. I wish it was more private but… it’s the internet.”

The best thing to do is be careful what you post but keep posting about being sick. You may not like the lack of privacy, but it can help keep us all healthier.

Reporter: Danielle Barker

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