Frontiers | Science News

Science News post list

12 news posts in Social media

Featured news

28 Sep 2021

Deep dive into global Twitter posts reveals possible drop in negativity towards Covid-19 pandemic

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science writer Image: Sattalat Phukkum/ An in-depth analysis of more than 120m Twitter posts across the globe has shown that users’ perception of the Covid-19 pandemic became less negative as it has progressed. In a paper published to Frontiers, its authors found a significant decrease in negativity in countries which rolled out extensive vaccination programs, such as the US, the UK, and Canada. The devastation and distress brought by the Covid-19 pandemic to millions of lives goes without question, but trying to gauge an entire planet’s changing perception of the disease over time can seem an almost impossible task. Yet with some estimates showing that almost 4.5bn people now use some form of social media online, researchers are tapping into this vast resource in an attempt to create a clearer picture of how the perception of this life-changing event has shifted since early 2020. Now, publishing their findings in Frontiers in Psychology, scientists from Vanderbilt University in the US and the Federal Technological University of Paraná in Brazil have tapped into one enormous dataset of Twitter posts (tweets) to show that the number of negative posts about Covid-19 is dropping, especially in countries which rolled out […]


06 Mar 2017

Building a Facebook of the Middle Ages

Could ‘big data’ of the past allow us to build an historical social network? The Venice Time Machine Project is finding out — by Kevin Baumer Meet Battista Nani, the Venetian ambassador to France from 1643-1668. By using new technologies to digitize, transcribe and index over 1000 years of historical documents — enough data to fill 80km of shelf space — we can now reconstruct parts of his life in much more detail. Documents such as tax returns, letters and genealogical records are now digitized and searchable, allowing Ambassador Nani to be connected to his family members, friends and colleagues in a larger network.  Nani’s life trajectory emerges out of this mass of Venetian documents, through a constantly growing network of relations with particular places (the houses he owned, the places he lived or visited) and people (family and professional relations). Expand this network to cover all residents mentioned in the Venetian archives, and you have a snapshot of a social network of the time — a ‘Facebook of the Past’. Frederic Kaplan, Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Digital Humanities, presented an early version of the Venice Time Machine Project’s vision in a 2013 TED Talk, which has since […]


25 Aug 2016

In the aftermath of disaster, social media helps build a sense of community

— By K.E.D. Coan Social media can disseminate critical information as well as unite disaster victims during their recovery efforts, suggests a study published in Frontiers in Communication. After natural disasters communities rely heavily on local governments to provide the necessary resources and information to respond to such disasters, but these approaches are not well equipped to meeting individual needs. As a complement to traditional methods, social media can provide a more personalized resource as well as fostering a sense of community in response to the crisis. “A relatively organized social media resource can go a long way to ensuring that people’s needs can be met;” said Douglas Paton, a professor of Psychology at Charles Darwin University and lead author of the study; “This is the first paper to explore whether people’s engagement through Facebook could translate into the development of more enduring, functional relationships.” Following a wildfire in Tasmania in 2013, the local community used a Facebook page developed by co-author Mel Irons, Tassie Fires – We Can Help, to relay details about disaster relief efforts and resources. The site also provided an opportunity for people to share their individual situations, needs, and reactions—and to connect with other people who […]