Twitter’s data grants will be used to research food poisoning, cancer, happiness

Photo from Shutterstock/1000words

Twitter announced on Thursday the six winners of the data grants program that the social networking platform announced in February. The winning researchers will get access to the entire history of tweets to search for posts relevant to their studies.

Here is the list of winners and winning projects, as described by Twitter:

However, as interesting as these projects might be, they represent just a small fraction of the types of questions that could be researched using data from Twitter and other social networking sites. As I wrote when Twitter announced its grant program, there’s a bit of tension between researchers who want access to data and companies that want — often for good reason — to keep it largely under wraps. For this program alone, Twitter says it received more than 1,300 submissions.

Gnip, which Twitter bought this week and which runs a service around letting users access social data, is supplying the data for the grant recipients. One can only imagine the volumes of data they’ll be receiving: Gnip recently supplied me with one month worth of bitcoin-related tweets, which numbered more than 1.3 million and spanned dozens of metadata categories. Measuring tweets about sports for any prolonged period? Ouch.

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