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BBL Speaker Series: Data Analytics for Health: Utilizing Large Social Media Data

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Speaker: Albert Park, Assistant Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems, College of Computing and Informatics, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Location: HBK 2105 and Zoom

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Abstract: Today, I want to discuss how we can leverage the vast amount of data from social media to gain insights into mental health and community engagement. I will start by exploring the impact of online depression communities. Initial concerns focused on the potential for negative emotion spread, research reveals a surprising trend: members often experience positive changes in their emotional language use and language impairment over time. This suggests that these communities can hold unexpected benefits for both mental well-being.

Building on this understanding, I’ll introduce a study examining how to encourage active participation in online health communities. We delve into the concept of homophily, which describes our natural tendency to connect with those who share something similar. Here we look at language patterns. Our findings across diverse online communities show that shared vocabulary significantly predicts future interaction among members. This holds valuable implications for fostering deeper engagement and meaningful peer support by harnessing the power of shared language.

Bio: I am Albert Park, currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems within the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. I was a National Institutes of Health-National Library of Medicine Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Utah. I hold a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington in 2015. My research focuses on the analysis of social interactions and social networks using modern data analysis and development of novel computational approaches to study social interactions and relationships in the context of health.