The researchers found that sustained periods of low Twitter activity were correlated with sleep patterns, while the nightly lull in Twitter activity shifted to later times on weekends relative to weekdays – an indication of social jet lag. The magnitude of "Twitter social jet lag" varied seasonally and geographically. It also corelated with average commuting schedules, and disease risk factors such as
"When we look at how social jet lag changes throughout the year, we find that the dominant effect by far is the social calendar," said Michael Rust from The University of
In the new study, reported in the journal
The evidence is consistent with the notion that those patterns are driven primarily by social pressures, including shifting school schedules, and less so by the direct seasonal effect of altered day length. "This is consistent with some studies that suggest that the effect of the sun on our lives may be getting weaker over time, perhaps as we spend more time indoors looking at our phones," Rust said.