POST 6: Scraping the web for data


By Jansie Vo

Social media has become an integral part in the interaction of people. In a world is becoming dependent on the Internet as it is today, Twitter effectively brings people and community closer to their interests and is a great social-networking tool to update the information including daily conversations, information sharing, news critiques, and updates about an user’s life in real time without the need to read newspapers or watch television. It is also used by the very popular movie stars to connect with the audience and fans. Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.22.57 PM

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In order to gain a border understanding of mental health by using web scrapping data techniques such as Twitter archivers and Data Pipeline, I have documented different data sets to assist me with my research on my mental health issue. From Twitter achievers in google sheet with the hashtag #mentalhealth, the result is fetched over thousands tweets in the world and up to 500 tweets in Sydney including positive and negative tweets.  Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.02.09 AMScreen Shot 2016-09-04 at 11.07.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.33.58 AM

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To fully understand the depth of this research, I took a closer look at mental health tweets on Twitter avandced search. I found these hashtags #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #ChangingMinds were among the most popular hashtags related to mental health. These collected tweets contain content where the individual appears to be sincerely writing tweets about their depression and anxiety, yet some phrases may come up as negative, in the overall context, they may not actually carry a negative message. In the case of mental health tweets, they are sometimes raising awareness of the impact an illness has on people’s lives. Additionally, the imageries, quotes and linked websites are used to aim users who might be in need of psychological help. Because when a user searches a topic or a hashtag, they can be linked to a conversation with others who suffer the same difficulties and find a community that doesn’t seem to exist in the real community around them. This is especially helpfull way in the mental and behavioral health space, where not only individuals, but organizations, institutes, and departments are busy tweeting the most interesting news, positive advices and thoughts on treating and understanding mental illness

Five points summary of finding:

  • Twitter has been used to create outreach opportunities for those seeking help, providing information with hashtags that link to awareness and fundraising campaigns.
  • A social network efficiently connects those who suffer from mental illness
  • Raising awareness of the impact mental illness has on people’s lives.
  • Mental health issues are more common than you think.
  • Mental health conversations often go hand-in-hand with discussions about individuals mood, anxiety and substance abuse

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