1.Can social media analytics be used to improve human well-being?
Yes. Nowadays, people have formed the habits of reading news on social media, such as Wechat, Twitter and Weibo. Since people can have easy access to Internet by using their smartphone, news spreads extremely rapid online. Besides, increasing number of people tend to post their health information or social event on social media. Intuitively, such information and its spreading on social media can be integrated into emergency surveillance, such like disease surveillance and infectious disease outbreak management.
Fig 1. (source: Google)
In 2015, researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory  investigated such question and their studies showed that social media did play role in disease surveillance. Moreover, in their studies, they investigated more than 33 manuscripts and found that social media assisted disease surveillance and public health management covered many diseases, including Influenza-like Illnesses, Infectious Diseases, and even Medication and Vaccines.
Some reader might cast doubt on such idea. “Why do we need it? Don’t we have experts in National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?” It is true that the CDC will post disease surveillance to the public as soon as they can. However, the CDC is somehow restricted by its time-consuming virological test results from laboratories and relatively large number of outpatient reporting. The CDC usually confirmed outbreaks within about 2 weeks after the disease began. In contrast, social media can report such emergency much faster.
2.How does social media analytics work for it?
In this paragraph, some examples of using social media analytics in disease surveillance and emergent events management will be displayed. Readers might learn from these examples and better understand how social media analytics be used to help human being.
Fig 3. (source: https://altarum.org/solution/disease-surveillance-and-data-quality)
In one study , researchers from University of Bristol discovered that health related words like “cough nigh”, “swine flu”, and “sore head” tracked with reported Influenza-like Illnesses outbreak in England. During that time, terms, including “influenza”, “symptom”, “infection” and “flu”, tracked users concerns. And they reported that data analysis on Twitter content could predict flu outbreak approximately one week ahead of CDC’s surveillance. Relevant studies were also reported by other researchers [3, 4].
Except disease surveillance, social media analysis supports government in decision-making. At the end of Jan on Wuhan city, the outbreak of novel coronavirus caused rapid consuming on medical supplies. One day, there came an emergent event that the majority of public hospitals in Wuhan City had lacked of medical supplies. The emergency spread extremely rapid on Weibo and Wechat. Since the “seeking for help” information consisted of doctors’ name and signatures, people immediately realized that it reported the truth, after simple data analysis. Partly benefited from social media analysis to identify the truth, the center government transported large amount of medical staff and all manners of medical supplies to Wuhan City.
Fig 4. (source: http://www.ce.cn/xwzx/gnsz/gdxw/202002/14/t20200214_34264833.shtml)
3.What should be minded?
However, social media is a double-edged sword; rumors can also be widely spread on it. Actually, a researcher from Medical College of Wisconsin once reported that “misleading posts were much more popular than the posts dispersing accurate, relevant public health information about the disease” . When do social media analysis, people should be cautious about rumors and fake news.