“A life lived online” Brubaker’s work highlighted in ReadWriteWeb

March 20th, 2012  |  Published in News

Jed Brubaker’s recently published ICWSM paper was highlighted in the ReadWrite Web Article, “A Life Lived Online: How We Talk About Death on Social Media”.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Rather than take an obvious, trendy turn toward Facebook, the study looks at MySpace users, many of whom died young. Using a coding system, the researchers identifies emotionally distressed content and an analysis of that language, which lays a foundation for natural language processing (NLP) tasks, including automatic detection of bereavement-related distress. The researchers discovered that linguistic style can also indicate messages demonstrating distress in the space of post-mortem social media content.

After a user dies, friends visit the page and express their sadness, shock and grief. Later many return and continue updating and conversing with the user, often times sharing events and feelings as if the person were still alive. It’s kind of like talking with a ghost.

By examining user-generated content, the researchers were able to observe the grieving process in a naturalistic, public setting. What’s more is that this study focuses on “extreme expressions of grief and mourning in SNS following the death of a friend or loved one.” This means more than just a few Twitter-esque RIPs, trending topics and the dead popping up in one’s Facebook friend list. The researchers sought to expand the current knowledge base around the use of language in online grieving, rather than focus on the fact that people do express their grief on social media.”

Please read the article for further details, “A Life Lived Online: How We Talk About Death on Social Media”.

(Congrats, Jed!)

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