The proliferation of social media – such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Web forums – has created an unprecedented, continuous stream of messages containing the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of millions of people. In addition to the primary benefit users of this technology enjoy, a secondary benefit is emerging as scientists discover how to analyze this new data source to provide insights into society. Evidence is mounting that such analysis can be valuable in understanding public health, finance, politics, social unrest, and natural disasters.

The goal of our research is two-fold: (1) to leverage this unprecedented source of data to advance research in automated processing of informal human communication; and (2) to apply these techniques to analyze trends in social media and produce socially beneficial technology.