northeastern university seal
Seed Grant Projects | Funded Teams
Developing a social-media based methodology for measuring and observing the social resilience of communities


We will develop a set of methods that leverage social media data—specifically Twitter activity—to quantify the social networks and processes of geographically-based communities. Social networks and processes are central to the question of resilience, but they are often measured using surveys, which are both expensive to conduct and take extended periods of time. This greatly limits our ability to track them over time or to observe the activation during disruptive events. Our project will provide a novel vantage point on social resilience that is both cheaper and potentially capable of observing the social dynamics of communities in real time. It will enable original research and policies that seek to understand and support communities under both long-term and acute duress. The interdisciplinary team, which features representatives from the Colleges of Social Sciences and Humanities, Engineering, and Computer and Information Science, combines ways of thinking about the social organization of urban neighborhoods, networks and resilience, the proper use and interpretation of modern digital data, and computer-scientific gathering and processing of such information.

Team Members

Daniel T. O’Brien

Daniel T. O’Brien

College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Qi (Ryan) Wang

College of Engineering

Alan Mislove

College of Computer and Information Science