Is it me or is everyone else sick too? Demonstration with Sina Weibo data


View the chart and data tables (may not appear if syndicated on Facebook)

I have a slight sore throat, but nothing to worry about. But my colleagues have been coughing and wheezing most of this week, and I was coincidentally talking about sentiment analysis with my boss yesterday… What makes it easy on Sina Weibo is that emoticons have been codified, such that a happy face is now [呵呵] (“hehe”) and the crying face is a [淚] (crying) [see the Weibo API file]. I ran a database query that summed the number of tweets found containing the sick face [生病] (being ill) emoticon and got the previous graph.

I divided the number of total posts and distinct users by 100 for sake of visibility. I didn’t plot the proportion of users who used the sick emoticon versus the total for sake of clarity, but the raw data is available here.

The blue/red is the line for people who posted the sickness emoticon and sees a steady increase relatively compared with the total number of posts in the week following the new year. There’s also a strange peak on December 16th, but we think it’s maybe sickness towards studying for final exams. 😛

Leave a Reply