Scientists Turn To Twitter To Track 'Social Jet Lag'

Indira Datta - Nov 19, 2018

Scientists Turn To Twitter To Track 'Social Jet Lag'

"Social jet lag" is a laggard syndrome of human development, which makes the watch inside the biological clock unsuited to the daily schedule of the day.

New research shows that Twitter contributes to the rise of the social jet lag, which disrupts the human circadian clock.

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Twitter Contributes to 'Social Jet Lag'

"Social jet lag" is a laggard syndrome, in which human biological clock is not in line with the daily schedule. This greatly affects the health and longevity of people.

As discovered by researchers, low Twitter activity periods are correlated with our sleep. On the weekend, people use Twitter later at night compared with weekdays.

The difference in "Twitter social jet lag" depends on time, season and geographic location. It also corresponds to the average travel time and schedule, work shift, and diseases like obesity.

Coming from The University of Chicago, Michael Rust has said that they have been tracking the syndrome throughout a year, they saw that the most key factor is currently daily schedule.


Researchers have previously studied the syndrome through specialized screens conducting surveys to find out the difference between sleep and awake time on weekdays and weekends.

Unlike previous research, this new study collects data on Twitter in just 15 minutes, which covers about 1,500 US counties during the 2012-2013 period, according to a report by Current Biology article. There are 240,000 people tagged geographically through tweets.

Most counties had the highest Twitter social jet lag in February, while June and July were the lowest social jet lag months. This clearly shows that the social jet lag pattern is largely dependent on social factors such as job rotation schedules. The change of season and the length of day change have less direct effects.

Rust thinks that over time, people's circadian clocks are less affected by the solar cycle. Most people will spend most of their time looking at their phones.


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