With flu season on the horizon, the CDC is trying a new way to track flu outbreaks around the country…by using Twitter! The CDC has realized that when people are sick, the tend to talk about it through social media. With using Twitter to find out where people are getting sick, hospitals have more time to prepare for an influx of patients. Their traditional way of tracking outbreaks was by physically asking people, which worked, but would take at least two weeks to tally the results. With Twitter, they can get results right away.
Here is a short audio piece from NPR that explains the idea.