Loneliness is a prevalent global public health concern with complex dynamics requiring further exploration. This study aims to enhance understanding of loneliness dynamics through building towards a global loneliness map using social intelligence analysis.
Settings and design
This paper presents a proof of concept for the global loneliness map, using data collected in October 2022. Twitter posts containing keywords such as ‘lonely’, ‘loneliness’, ‘alone’, ‘solitude’ and ‘isolation’ were gathered, resulting in 841 796 tweets from the USA. City-specific data were extracted from these tweets to construct a loneliness map for the country. Sentiment analysis using the valence aware dictionary for sentiment reasoning tool was employed to differentiate metaphorical expressions from meaningful correlations between loneliness and socioeconomic and emotional factors.
Measures and results
The sentiment analysis encompassed the USA dataset and city-wise subsets, identifying negative sentiment tweets. Psychosocial linguistic features of these negative tweets were analysed to reveal significant connections between loneliness, socioeconomic aspects and emotional themes. Word clouds depicted topic variations between positively and negatively toned tweets. A frequency list of correlated topics within broader socioeconomic and emotional categories was generated from negative sentiment tweets. Additionally, a comprehensive table displayed top correlated topics for each city.
Leveraging social media data provide insights into the multifaceted nature of loneliness. Given its subjectivity, loneliness experiences exhibit variability. This study serves as a proof of concept for an extensive global loneliness map, holding implications for global public health strategies and policy development. Understanding loneliness dynamics on a larger scale can facilitate targeted interventions and support.