Articles by

Bob Filbin

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    Liz Eddy is director of communications and events and Bob Filbin is chief data scientist at Crisis Text Line, a text messaging support service for people in crisis originally developed with Knight Foundation support. Knight is awarding Crisis Text Line, a previous winner of the Knight News Challenge, an additional $1.4 million in support as part of a $7 million funding round.Imagine you are a principal at a school: Do you know what is the worst time of day for bullying? Do you know what is the worst day of the week for eating disorders?Crisis Text Line has this data. And more.Liz EddyBob FilbinThink about the massive juicy data set Crisis Text Line has collected. More than 9 million messages have been exchanged on this free 24/7 text line for people in crisis in just over two years. The volume, velocity and variety of these messages make this data set a very interesting corpus. Better yet? It’s real time.The National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might have more data, but it takes years to collect, store and analyze. The Crisis Text Line data set is auto-tagged in real time and made available within seconds. So, that principal is looking at trends right now, with current students, teachers, vendors, social media, etc. Finally, school data can match the pace of school challenges.Same for police departments. Or, policymakers. Or, academics and researchers.Simply, Crisis Text Line is committed to leveraging its data to inform people and communities. For too long, this information has been slow, expensive and hard to consume. We believe a strong democracy depends on open data.
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    Bob Filbin is the chief data scientist at Crisis Text Line, a winner of Knight News Challenge: Health. Every day, thousands of teens face bullying, abuse and family conflicts. Many struggle with depression, self-harm or even thoughts of suicide. Launched in August 2013, Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 text support to teens nationwide. Since then, teens have exchanged over 3 million messages with trained specialists about the crises they face. Crisis Text Line is the largest service for teens on the medium they use and trust the most: texting. Many teens who use Crisis Text Line are seeking crisis support for the first time. Others tell us they’ve tried other services that offer phone support or online chat, but they prefer texting. This means Crisis Text Line is collecting unprecedented data on the crises teens face. One way Crisis Text Line uses its data is to help provide the best possible experience to teens who use our service. For example, we can see when teens struggle the most with anxiety (7 a.m. during the school week), and schedule specialists to help them accordingly. But we also recognize our data, in the hands of citizens and journalists, has the potential to prevent crises from happening. That’s why Crisis Text Line developed Crisis Trends. Using data from specialist reports, Crisis Trends empowers journalists, researchers and citizens to identify trends in how teens experience crises over time and by state.