Researchers use Twitter tweets to measure moods

Using millions of Twitter messages, or tweets, from the popular social networking site, researchers at Northeastern University in Boston have created a Twitter Mood Map to measure the moods of the US. People are happiest in the morning and in the evening, with happiness peaking on Sunday morning and dipping Thursday night, they found. Twitter users appeared most gloomy at mid-afternoon, shifting to better moods in the evening. Not surprisingly, people appeared happier on the weekends, with residents of California, Miami and southern states among the most content, they learned. A colorful time-lapse video on the website here shows the happy moods pulsating from the U.S. east coast to the west coast and back again. The researchers are the first to admit the findings are not terribly scientific – Twitter users tend to be tech-savvy, live in large cities and are a fraction of the total population – but according to the results they have potential as a tool for providing real-time analysis of critical issues. They used a psychological word-rating system to analyze key words in some 300 million Twitter messages as happy or sad. They then created maps based on the location of the messages and the general moods they evoke. The map could be useful not only to collect public opinion but to mobilize users quickly, such as in a drive for emergency relief donations


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