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Can Twitter Predict Your Income?

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

Everyone loves to use social media. A 2014 study conducted by the Pew Research Center reported that 52 percent of online adults use two or more social media sites. In 2013, that number stood at 42 percent.

Pew Research Center Internet Project January Omnibus Survey.
Pew Research Center Internet Project January Omnibus Survey.

These statistics serve to show the increasing importance social media has in today’s world. People are expected to be proficient on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Forbes has even provided a guide for potential job seekers to use social media to land a job.

One of the most widely used social media websites is Twitter.

It’s been used for presidential campaigns, surveying opinion, and has been the source of some of the biggest breaking news stories in recent memory.

But now there’s a new use for the popular social media site.

Your tweets can tell how much income you earn according to researchers from University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, University College London and Microsoft Research.

Your tweets can predict your income, according to a recent study.

The team of researchers analyzed 5,191 Twitter users, and more than 10 million tweets. Researchers created an algorithm that pulled in words that people in each code class used distinctly.

Here’s a summary of what they found:

  • People who make more money, express more fear and anger on Twitter. Optimists tend to earn less.
  • Tweets from lower income brackets included more swears, while higher brackets discussed politics, corporations, and the nonprofit world more frequently.
  • Lower-income people use Twitter primarily for  communication while higher-income people use Twitter for disseminating news, and professional aspects.

Some of these findings are particularly interesting. For instance, why do people with more money express more anger/fear, while people with less money express more optimism?

The study does show, however, the value society has given social media. In a short time, social media has gone from an unknown to a mainstream component that is scientifically studied by top researchers.


By: Jackson Rioux