"When we look at how social jet lag changes throughout the year, we find that the dominant effect by far is the social calendar," says Michael Rust of The University of Chicago. "It suggests that humans in modern societies, at least people who used Twitter in 2013-2014, have biological rhythms that are somewhat disconnected from the changing hours of sunlight throughout the year."
Previous researchers have measured social jet lag by surveying for differences in wake and sleep times between weekdays and weekends and by using specialized activity monitors. Rust and his colleagues instead simply collected readily available Twitter data for more than 1,500 US counties throughout the 2012-2013 calendar years in 15-minute intervals. Those geographically tagged tweets represented about 240,000 people. The ability to monitor how Twitter activity patterns change season to season and county by county allowed them to separately assess the influences of the socially defined calendar and changes in daylight hours throughout the year.
Researchers - Periods - Twitter - Activity - Patterns
The researchers found that sustained periods of low Twitter activity were correlated with sleep patterns as measured by conventional surveys. The nightly lull in Twitter activity shifted to later times on weekends relative to weekdays, an indication of social jet lag.
The magnitude of this "Twitter social jet lag" varied seasonally and geographically, with the West Coast experiencing less Twitter social jet lag compared to the central and eastern US. It was also correlated with average commuting schedules, including how many...
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