Studies

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
suicide, trends

Companies:
google trends



The Google Trends Suicide Watch

from the well,-that's-depressing dept

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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread



Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
New And For A Limited Time
New Gear By Techdirt: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.