Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. If my team has access to the full Twitter feed, can we use that instead of the Twitter API?

    The ultimate end goal of the Challenge is for State and Local health departments to be able to use this product for situational awareness without hassle or additional expense.  If you were to use the full feed in your app, the use of this feed would need to be available to the states and locals (i.e. they should not be required to purchase the Twitter feed in order to use your app).  If you keep that consideration in mind when creating your app, you may use the full feed.  See the Rules tab for complete submission requirements.

  • Q. Can students at a US university that are non-US citizens compete?

    Non-US citizens cannot compete as an individual or member of a non-workplace affiliated team, regardless of whether they are a student or not.


    If a student that is a non-US citizen is an employee of a US affiliated company (including if they are employed by their college/university), they can be a member of a team that is headed by their place of employment.  For example, if University ‘X’ (which is a US based university) enters a team for the Challenge, a non-US citizen employee at that university may be on University ‘X’s team.


    See the <a href=”/rules”>Rules</a> tab for specific details related to eligibility.

  • Q. How is the Now Trending: #Health in My Community Challenge different than anything else out there?

    There have been many impressive retrospective studies on how closely social media reports of disease match with surveillance system reports. This challenge aims to take existing research and technology approaches a step further to detect emerging illnesses as they happen. Additionally, the winning app is intended to serve as an accessible and useful tool for public health situational awareness for Health Departments at all levels.

  • Q. Can my app look at international trends in health?

    All apps submitted must be able to be used domestically since the aim of this challenge is to enable State and Local public health practitioners to use Twitter data for health situational awareness.  However, if you have an interest in having your app look internationally as well, we highly encourage you to build it that way.  One of the judging categories it innovation beyond the basic requirements, so this would be an excellent addition!

  • Q. Can non-US citizens participate in the challenge?

    Unfortunately, by our legal limitations, all participants must be US citizens or non-US citizens that participate as an employee of an entity that is properly incorporated in the United States. The complete rules and wording for this requirement can be found under the “Rules” tab.

  • Q. Why is the Now Trending Challenge Important?

    The uses and benefits of social media are quickly expanding far beyond the realm of “social.” Social media has become a source of news and data collection in and of itself. Now, studies are showing that trending topics on social media can serve as an early indicator and warning of emerging health issues within a community. At a recent Forum hosted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, state and local health practitioners expressed their desire to more easily access social media data.

    The Now Trending Challenge was created to help fill this need. The data collected on a daily basis would be sent to state and local health practitioners to use in a variety of ways including building a baseline of trend data, engaging the public on trending health topics, serving as an indicator of potential health issues emerging in the population, or cross-referencing other data sources. This challenge will offer the opportunity for an individual or a team of technology savvy individuals to showcase their skills at the national level while helping to advance the field of health analytics.

  • Q. Will the winning tool collect or store personal information about people who sent Tweets?

    That is not the intention of this Challenge at all. No personal information will be collected or stored from Tweets.

  • Q. If I do not win, will my code still be used?

    No. If your entry is not selected as the winner, you will retain full ownership of your code. We hope you will be able to use it for innovations in the future!

  • Q. Can I have multiple submissions?

    Absolutely! You may enter as many times as you want, either as an individual or as a member of a team.

  • Q. How old do I have to be to enter?

    You must be 18 years old to enter. For complete eligibility requirements, please visit our Rules page.

  • Q. What is the Now Trending Challenge?

    The Now Trending Challenge is a contest that aims to make Twitter a more user friendly information source for public health practitioners at all levels, from local health departments all the way up to the Department of Health and Human Services. Twitter can be a “noisy” place to look for data, but this challenge aims to make it easier to pull out the relevant health information from Tweets in a specified area and make sense of what health concerns exist in a community. For a complete description of the Challenge, look under the “Requirements” section on the Rules page.

  • Q. What if I still have questions?

    You can contact us with questions through the Contact Form or by sending us an email at .