NY is one Sick City

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My opinion of Twitter remains somewhat divided. Some days I rejoice at its utility and convenience- The Guardian keeps me updated on what is wrong with the world each day, TED, Wired and PSFK provide me with inspiration, and Theo Walcott lets me know how the Arsenal squad are feeling about their upcoming game.

However, I find myself equally dismayed by the seemingly endless barrage of Tweets about what people are having for breakfast that morning and how long the queue at the local Post Office is. Much as I care about staying connected to my friends and knowing what’s going on in their lives, I draw the line at knowing what color socks they are wearing and how many Fish Fingers they ate for dinner.

Despite my growing malaise at the constant monotony of mundane minutia that fills my Twitter Feed, it would seem that such updates can actually be put to good use.

Sick City is the latest app from the team at DIYcity. It monitors and collects key words used in real time on Twitter such as “Fever,” “Chicken Pox” and “Flu.” Under the assumption that these terms are being used on Twitter by people eager to express how lousy they are feeling, the results are plotted on a chart which shows the relative 30-day health of a particular city.

As it turns out, NY is apparently today’s sickest City, which given the amount of people in my office perpetually sucking on Halls Throat Sweets, and the number blowing their nose with such frequency that they are personally responsible for contributing to global deforestation, is no surprise.

Perhaps knowing everything about your friends’ lives isn’t so bad after all…

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2 responses to “NY is one Sick City

  1. That list of the Ten Sickest Cities — is it measuring just the number of times people mention illnesses? Because that would create a bias toward cities with large populations, wouldn’t it?

  2. Whilst comparing the health of different Cities is interesting, you are right that if this doesn’t take population size into account it’s ultimately pretty redundant. I think the service is most useful for monitoring the health of your particular City.

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