Twitter has just awarded MIT's Media Lab with $10 million (to be completed over the course of five years) to pore over, analyze and scrutinize every public tweet ever made, all for the sake of science. This new MIT project called Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM) will study patterns of online communication through social media. The researchers then plan to build data visuals and develop mobile apps and other tools (such as one that journalists can use to monitor trends), based on what they learn from studying the social network. According to Bloomberg, one of the project's major plans is to look into social media's power to generate negative energy a lot better than it does positive energy.
This isn't the first time Twitter has offered its users' content to researchers -- back in February, the company launched the Data Grants program, which scientists can access for free. Even before that, many researchers came up with their own methodologies to dig up tweets for an assortment of reasons, such as to track earthquakes or to figure out which restaurants to avoid. Also, if you didn't know, the company has been selling public tweets to advertisers and marketers for quite a while now. The difference this time is that Twitter's handing over millions on top of its tweet compilation, something that'll immsensly help MIT's Media Lab, which has a current operating budget worth $45 million.