news & insights.
Harvard Study: The West Coast Tweets Happy. East Coast, Not So Much
Jul 19, 2010 // Jonah Seiger
Can you glean the mood of the nation from looking at Tweets? Researchers at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science think it’s possible, and have recently released an interesting analysis that sheds light on the emerging science of using social media as an alternative to traditional telephone survey methods.
Researchers took a sample of over 300 million tweets originating in the United States between September 2006 and August 2009, and mapped them based on the “location” line in users’ Twitter profiles. They also analyzed each tweet for mood, based on a word list that values “affective norms in English words.”
The data is summarized in this video, which seems to suggest that people in California are are happier than New Yorkers. As a native Californian who spends a lot of time in New York, I think it's probably the weather. But no matter, the results are interesting and the visual is pretty cool in-and-of-itself.
This data visualization is intended to be as much a proof-of-concept as it is meaningful insight into the overall mood of people on west coast vs. east coast. And as a proof the concept that Twitter data may someday be harnessed to track the mood of specific segments, it’s compelling to us. The study’s authors describe this video data-visualization as follows:
blog comments powered by Disqus