Using Facebook to Measure "Gross National Happiness"


Image: Facebook


Jason Kinkaid writes at Tech Crunch that Facebook has developed a new application that aggregates the published emotional states of users over time. The relative contentment that users express constitutes "Gross National Happiness":

Data is collected from “public and semi-public forums” on Facebook, which is all anonymized before its analyzed. To determine if a particular status message is happy or sad (or neither), the app searches for popular phrases and words that the engineers have associated with each sentiment.

You can adjust the graph by sliding the bar at the bottom of the screen. You can also adjust the zoom by dragging the handlebars on the slider, and can actually watch happiness jump hour-to-hour, though it’s a bit difficult to navigate when you’re zoomed in that far. It’s fun to play around with, but you aren’t going to find many surprises: happiness generally hits a low on Mondays, then gradually grows up through the weekend when it drops again as the work-week begins. Peaks are all found around holidays, with Thanksgiving drawing the most happiness. Also worth nothing: this year there was an abrupt drop in happiness in late June, which is likely associated with the tragic death of Michael Jackson.


Link via Fast Company

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