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What is NowTrending.HHS.gov?

NowTrending.HHS.gov mines Twitter data looking for disease and disaster Twitter conversation trends. We have found that every term and condition trend tracked on our site has a band of “social noise”. This social noise is the everyday ebb and flow of tweets associated with a certain term. Spikes in volume and duration signal events that occur related to these terms. These events could be both positive and negative. NowTrending.HHS.gov seeks to foster awareness of these spikes through various mapping and analytical views.

Why has HHS/ASPR created NowTrending.HHS.gov?

This website was created as an informational tool for public health in communities. All information on this site is pulled from Twitter. The statements made in Tweets are the views and opinions of their author and may not represent the official positions of the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response or the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, HHS does not review or verify any information before it is posted on this site. Increased tweets about any topic do not necessarily indicate an illness outbreak. Always contact your local health department with any health questions or concerns.

How does NowTrending.HHS.gov work?

We fetch real time data from Twitter (via the streaming API) associated with the terms we track. We then analyze each tweet to determine which of the condition sets it matches. We then determine which of the qualifier words we track are contained within the tweets. This provides our visitors with the ability to see disease and disaster trends focused on certain topics such as vaccination, have, don’t have, etc. All of the trending, and filtering is accomplished via a series of algorithms and map-reduce jobs.

Once our analysis is complete, we present this information to the visitor in various ways, providing a versatile utility to visualize and research disease trends. Our information is global; however at this time we are tracking only tweeters who have a primary language of English.

Why do I see a lot of noise and re-tweets in some spikes?

We have chosen not to filter out content related to the terms tracked at this time. This means that from time to time a spike can be caused by significant number re-tweets, slang, and media effect. For example we have seen spikes attributed to celebrities, significant news events, and slang associated with one of the terms tracked.

What is the difference between sensor based location tweets and user profile location tweets?

Sensor based location tweets are gathered based on geo-location data provided with the tweet. These geo locations are associated with our map view and aggregated in several ways.

User profile location tweets are gathered based on profile location data entered into the Twitter profile of a user. This information is not geo location based. This information is not confirmed nor required by Twitter when a user sets up a profile.

I am looking for my city or state and do not see trends for my location?

We only provide on the site the top 150 locations based on Twitter volume.

How do you classify popular user profile locations?

We have found Twitter has millions of user profile locations. Some of these profile locations are erroneous and present false data. We have also found that most events associated with a disease or disaster trend produce hundreds if not thousands of tweets a day. If an event were to occur in a certain location that event would most likely produce similar results. Our user profile location statistics are based on locations with > 1,000 associated tweets in our data store. This helps us to filter out lower utilization locations while still producing data on a plethora of locations. On our profile location page, a user can search the top 500 locations for what’s trending.

What is the best way to view this site?

While we have tried our best to make the website accessible by all internet browsers, we find that Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer version 8 and newer work best.

Is this site sponsored or affiliated with Twitter?

No. Our site is not endorsed, sponsored, or associated with Twitter. We abide by the Twitter API terms of service.

How do we contact you with a question?

We ask that you contact ASPR Fusion Cell via their website. For further information on ASPR’s Fusion Cell, please visit https://www.phe.gov/about/oem/fusion/Pages/FusionInquiry.aspx