social listening for bullying

Viraj Puri, a 13 yr old teenager in Virginia is working to create a “bullying” heatmap using social listening data derived from conversations on Facebook and Twitter. He looks for conversations using the terms “bully” or “bullying”, looking at where and how they are used (positively or negatively) and is working with researchers at Georgetown and University of Wisconsin to better track the national conversation about bullying.

By: rick

This heatmap or forecast could then be used for a number of things – from helping policy makers identify areas where bullying is present, allowing for intervention from health orgs, school administration, community groups etc. to parents looking to assess quality of life and schools in a move and more. I imagine you could even extrapolate it or try and see how it relates to other interesting things like house prices, financial forecasts, investment in the arts in an area – it would be interesting to see how these correlate.

In the same vein – you could look at online conversations regarding primary care, or a chronic disease like Type 2 diabetes symptoms  to develop heat map of the quality of health care by region.

For creating a search like this – the terms you use in your search query matter. I imagine they spend a lot of time manually reviewing the results as the term bully can be used in so many ways, many of which don’t pertain to the definition we associate with schoolyard bullying.  This assumption is verified by Puri as he states,

“The media world use the term bully and bullying extensively to describe Chris Christie’s actions in New Jersey,” Puri said. “As you can imagine, that has nothing to do with how a 13 year old feels about being bullied at school or on the playground.”

What other uses could you see for a bullying heatmap – how / where could you apply it?

For more info: Puri edits the teen bullying blog Bullyvention