This Is What Loneliness Looks Like on Twitter

November 6, 2019

(The Atlantic) – According to new research, for instance, a tweet like “I’m up at 2 a.m. drinking wine by myself” says one thing pretty clearly: “I’m lonely.” For a study in BMJ Open, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 400 million tweets by people in Pennsylvania between 2012 and 2016. The authors scraped together the Twitter posts of users whose tweets contained at least five mentions of the words “lonely” or “alone,” and compared them to a control group with similar demographics. (The authors did not explicitly ask those who often tweeted about loneliness if they actually were lonely.)