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INSPIRE

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

BRITISH PEOPLE DRANK AN AVERAGE OF

3 LITRES PER CAPITA IN THE 1930’S

7-10 LITRES PER CAPITA TODAY

Their paper of the research findings, entitled “Towards tracking and analysing regional alcohol consumption patterns in the UK through the use of social media,” won an ACM Web Science Conference Best Paper Award. “Historically, this type of research has been managed by NHS Digital,” explains Patrick, “which is manual, and thus labour-intensive, and expensive. Our method is not historical – it monitors the pulse of alcohol consumption, in real time.” One question at the back of their minds was: Could they match or even outperform the NHS ‘ground truth’? Using a carefully selected “bag of words”, they wrote an algorithm that would highlight any tweet that contained one or more of their keywords (the top seven were: pissed, wasted, wine, vodka, drunk, hungover, hangover), and the more keywords present in any given tweet, the more ‘alcoholic’ it was deemed to be. They termed these ‘bragging tweets’, as the users seemed to be boasting about

how drunk they were or how much alcohol they had consumed. After analysing this data, they were able to come up with a prediction of drinking patterns. Not surprisingly, Friday and Saturday nights were easily spotted as having a pattern. “What was surprising,” says Patrick, “was how good Twitter was in capturing rigorous data. Using the textmining approach we were able to map out a reflection of British culture and behaviour prediction.” So, where are the most ‘alcoholic’ areas of the UK? According to Patrick’s research, they are:

Patrick Stacey is Senior Lecturer in Information Management, Senior Editor of IT and People, and a member of the Centre for Information Management. He can be reached on p.stacey@lboro.ac.uk

1. Scotland 2. Yorkshire 3. Humberside 4. Wales

Patrick says that their source code is available to anyone who wants to use it for similar data collection, available at GitHub: https://github.com/danjamker

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Profile for Loughborough University

Inspire issue 13  

Loughborough University School of Business and Economics Bi-Annual Magazine

Inspire issue 13  

Loughborough University School of Business and Economics Bi-Annual Magazine