Facebook Lexicon, the flu, and data mining

I recently found out about the Facebook Lexicon. There’s a FAQ, but in a nutshell, the Lexicon tracks and counts occurrences of words and phrases on Facebook Walls (profile, group, or even event Walls) over time. It doesn’t seem like status messages count, though maybe the new Lexicon might in due time.

Searched for “the flu“, only because I wanted to compare it with what you’d get over Google Flu Trends. Facebook doesn’t have the limitation that it has to be US only – its worldwide.

Then I thought about Twitter search, since lots of people post their updates on life, their feelings, et al – look at the results there, for the flu. Look at the mashup the New York Times built for the Superbowl on Twitter. Are there graphing tools, that track keywords? It might actually be cool.

Lots of new ways to data mine, it seems. Google shares some semblance of raw data. Facebook doesn’t. Twitter has whatever is available, that is limited by its API (what, some 3,200 entries?).

Imagine all this being used to predict flu clusters, or something more close to home, dengue clusters. Or voter turnout (status saying “voted”, even).

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