Happiness on Twitter declined during 2009-11

Happiness on Twitter declined in the last Three Years

Sociologists consider the ampleness of ‘words in any language or culture defining positive, happy, empathetic and creative acts and behaviors’ as the litmus test of its level of advancement. In simple, those cultures/languages having troves of words for positive, happy, aesthetically & mentally pleasing, creative (non-necessary) acts and behaviors are seen superior to those cultures/languages, which have lesser numbers.

In addition, a language/culture is seen at a higher level of advancement, if a single positive act or behavior, can be expressed with many words (synonyms).

The above benchmarks are not baseless. It has been observed that cultures at lower levels of advancement, are seen to have loads of words defining negative, cruel and destructive acts and behaviors (anger, killing etc.); but very few to express the positive ones.

An inference derived further from the above considerations is that – The ampleness of Happy words in any language, makes for a Happy culture.

Putting to use the same reasoning, researchers at the University of Vermont, tried to measure the Happiness on Twitter, the micro blogging site which has revolutionized online communication, in the past three years. Their idea was to ascertain the worldwide mood by measuring the happiness of a platform used by people across the world.

What are the findings?

The study in particular found that, Twitter has seen a steady decline in happy words and an increase in negative words since 2009.

The point of steepest decline beginning in early 2011 with no sign of improvement.

The researchers assigned a happiness score of 1-9 to the 10,000 most common words in the English language; with positive and happy words getting a higher score compared to the negative ones. For example, “laughter” was given a relatively high average happiness score of 8.5 and “food” a 7.44, while “greed” and “terrorist” scored much lower, with scores of 3.06 and 1.30 respectively.

After assigning each of these words a particular happiness score, the researchers tracked these words in 4.6 billion (460 crore) tweets posted by more than 63 million (6.3 crore) Twitter users during a three-year period to ascertain people’s overall mood.

According to the results, it seems Twitter Happiness (which in turn means societal happiness) is on the decline.

For instance, the death of Osama bin Laden resulted in the increase of words like “death” and “killed” on the Twitter-verse – making the point the unhappy words used on Twitter during the entire study.

[ Although some will attribute the increased incidence of the “death” and “killed” words, to simply the importance of the news; but still the researchers tagged it as the most unhappy points of their study period; as people chose to talk about and circulate very unhappy words.]

The study found that the happiest days during the study period were weekends and holidays. The happiest non-annual day during the study was April 29, 2011, the day Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot and words like “wedding,” “beautiful” and “kiss” abounded.

NOTE: The study clearly stated, “There is an important psychological distinction between an individual’s current, experiential happiness and their longer term, reflective evaluation of their life.” --------

No comments