25 Mar What can we learn about happiness from Facebook?
Facebook Measures British, Canadian, and Australian Happiness, Serious Case of Mondays
Facebook is a friendly distraction for most of us, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a tool: Facebook’s been exploring those billions of status updates as a social data source for example. The data on happiness indices around the world are fascinating.
Back in October 2009 Facebook began this experiment, using anonymized status updates from its U.S. users and correlating key words inside them with the Gross National Happiness Index (a movement dedicated to assessing how cheery or upset a nation’s citizens are.) Essentially Facebook’s data team picked key phrases that relate to positive or negative emotions, made a frequency count of their occurrence and look at how the resulting data trends over time.
Some of the data isn’t all that surprising, but it does prove the validity of the experiment: For example the “happiness” count tends to go up towards the end of each week and peak at the weekend. Nobody, but nobody, prefers workdays and Mondays. Facebook had to tweak the key words it searched for due to different populations in each of the new nations it’s been analyzing (the U.K., Canada, and Australia) and to obvious “cultural differences in how people use language,” as their blog posting puts it. It would be unusual to see Brits saying they had a “bonza” morning, just as for a Canadian to note their afternoon was “a little sub-par.”
But the headline conclusions are actually amusing…to read more just click here