Germans top table of happiest tweets

April 5, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The country rated highest on the map which rated words and icons used to describe happiness on social network site Twitter.

It was closely followed by Mexico, the US, the Netherlands and Denmark. Sweden lived up to its depressive reputation and rated lowest, although the map only tracked those countries where there was enough tweeting going on to make a rating possible. Other countries which scored among the lowest on were Colombia, Argentina, Malaysia and Canada.

The UK was fairly unhappy, rating 18th out of the 25 countries measured. This compared with India, which rated 7th. In Africa, Egypt was several places ahead of Nigeria.

The map was compiled by Gates scholar Alex Davies who determined levels of happiness from looking at high-level correlations between words and emoticons. Due to the high number of from the US and Brazil, Alex was able to break down the happiness rating by regions. It shows that in the US, Tennessee and Colorado are the happiest states with Nevada and Mississippi the least happy. New Yorkers and Californians are somewhere in the middle with New Yorkers slightly more upbeat than their West coast counterparts.

Alex looked at where people were and what they were Tweeting and created language models to assess the distribution of words and icons associated with happiness and unhappiness.

“It was important to have a model that was not just tied to English words, so it is in part based on smiley faces,” he says. “As tweets are very short, emoticons in them provide a good indicator of whether a person is happy or sad. But for tweets without emoticons, we have learnt to predict sentiment from the complex interactions between emoticons and words.”

This involves tracking tweets with words that appear together more often as well as those that appear with particular emoticons. This explains, for instance, why the late footballer Dean Richards is listed among the sad terms on the UK map.

In addition, since Twitter is a very multi-lingual site, even within countries, various languages often appear in words for any given country. Alex, who is from Australia, started his PhD in Engineering in October. He says his work on the happiness map may not form part of his PhD. His main interest is in statistical modelling.

Explore further: What's in a tweet? Researchers use social media to measure national mood

Related Stories

Unions make both members and nonmembers happier

November 5, 2010

It’s no coincidence that American workers have never been more dissatisfied with their jobs, and labor unions’ membership keeps dropping, according to a new study co-authored by University of Notre Dame political ...

Unions make both members, nonmembers happier

February 25, 2011

As the Wisconsin battle over union benefits continues to rage, the passion and commitment of people on both sides reflect that the activists are fighting over “a perennial ideological debate in American politics: whether ...

'Happiness gap' in the US narrows

January 26, 2009

Happiness inequality in the U.S. has decreased since the 1970s, according to research published this month in the Journal of Legal Studies.

Poll: British want to be happy

May 3, 2006

British residents find their level of happiness dropping and many want their government to step in, a poll concludes.

The UK is a nation of happy couples

February 14, 2011

Researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research asked both individuals in the couple to rate their happiness on a seven point scale; from the lowest score of 'extremely unhappy' to the middle point of 'happy', ...

Recommended for you

Study on prehistoric violence published

February 20, 2017

A longtime Cal Poly Pomona anthropology professor who studies violence among prehistoric people in California has been published in a prestigious journal.

'Tully monster' mystery is far from solved, group argues

February 20, 2017

Last year, headlines in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American and other outlets declared that a decades-old paleontological mystery had been solved. The "Tully monster," an ancient animal that had long defied ...

Mathematical models predict how we wait in line, traffic

February 17, 2017

As New Jersey drivers approach the George Washington Bridge to enter New York City, a digital sign flashes overhead with estimates of the delays on the upper and lower levels of the bridge. Most drivers choose the level with ...

Remembering the need to forget

February 17, 2017

We are built to forget – it is a psychological necessity. But in a social media world that captures – and, more importantly, remembers – everything we say and do, forgetting is becoming a thing of the past. If we lose ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.