by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 14th 2009 4:17am
Jeremy Wagstaff has done a fascinating (if morbid) little analysis using Google Trends to track the popularity of the search phrase "commit suicide painlessly." Perhaps not too surprisingly, it appears to track the economy. That is, it was relatively flat for a while, but spiked in October 2008 through March 2009 -- though, it's since come back down. As he notes, this isn't exactly a small blip -- it was over an extended period of time. He digs down a bit in the data, which suggests that while the US is a lot less suicidal these days, things are still a bit on edge over in the UK (you guys doing ok?). What would be interesting now would be to correlate that data with actual suicides. Oddly, Wagstaff notes that a similar boost is not seen in just the basic search of "how to commit suicide." That makes me wonder if the "commit suicide painlessly" search is suffering from a small sample size problem. Still, it's yet another fun little "economic indicator" found from public data, similar to the post we had recently on analyzing job trends via Facebook status. While the data might not mean much yet, the fact that there is so much more data so easily accessible is really powerful.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- 5 Year Old Who Drew A Gun In Crayon Forced To Sign No-Suicide Contract With School
- Everyone Agrees They Don't Know Why Teenager Committed Suicide, So Helpful Coroner Shouts Video Games
- Court Tells Ex-Wife Of Husband Who Killed Himself To Use Copyright To Delete Anything He Ever Wrote Online
- Police File On Student 'Bullied Into Committing Suicide' Strangely Lacking In Evidence Of Bullying
- Sheriff Determined To Find Some Reason To Arrest Parents Of Girls Who Are Accused Of Bullying Girl Into Suicide