ANALYSING REGIONAL ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
TWITTER TO PREDICT
UK DRINKING BEHAVIOUR Interview with
Dr Patrick Stacey’s research is centred on psycho-social processes in digital contexts which includes language use and emotion in social media. Recently, Patrick has focused on alcohol consumption in the UK, using Twitter to try and predict drinking patterns and behaviour. The bad news for the government and public services – especially the health services – is that alcohol consumption might be increasing once again. In the 1930s, British people drank an average of 3 litres per capita; today, that figure is between 7-10 litres, depending on what data you look at. Despite recent reports that fewer people are binge drinking, when Patrick and colleagues were writing up their analysis, data was showing that more people were consuming alcoholic beverages, and certainly there is much more content on social media now than ever before focused on alcohol and drinking. Drinking puts a strain on public services across the board and with drinking potentially on the rise, how will they be able to cope with the additional pressures? Looking at individual users’ tweets, Patrick and colleagues Daniel Kershaw and Matthew Rowe at Lancaster University Management School, trawled millions of tweets – 31.6 million to be exact – over six weeks, segmenting by postcode to get regional data in relation to alcohol consumption trends.
Loughborough University School of Business and Economics Bi-Annual Magazine