Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have shown that Twitter can serve as an indicator of a community’s psychological well-being and can predict rates of heart disease. Previous studies have identified many factors that contribute to the risk of heart disease: traditional ones, like low income or smoking, but also psychological ones like stress. The Penn researchers found that Twitter can capture more information about heart disease risk than many traditional factors combined, as it characterizes the psychological atmosphere of a community. Expressions of negative emotions such as anger, stress, and fatigue in a county’s tweets were associated with higher heart disease risk. On the other hand, positive emotions like excitement and optimism were associated with lower risk. The study was recently published in the journal Psychological Science.

You can read more about this research at UPenn’s website here.