Social Web

Happy People: Researchers Pinpoint Smiles (And Frowns) Using Twitter

A group of researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard collected 300 million tweets, analyzed them for sentiment and found some telling things about American happiness.

Here are the results in a time-lapse video, where green is happy and red means, well, less happy:

Perhaps it's obvious that happiness peaks on the weekends and hits a low point Thursday afternoons. During a typical day, people are most happy in the late afternoon and early morning. Look closely at that video and you'll find that the west coast of the United States is almost exactly three hours behind the east coast in peak happiness during the day.

Anyone could have told you that people are more happy when work lets out than when we're chained to our cubes. But some interesting bits came when the researchers looked at geography.

Take some time with this graphic. It's a cartogram, so areas with more data look bulging. Here's what I got from it: Throughout the day, Florida never comes close to the lowest measurement of happiness. Even California and the Pacific Northwest go lower on the happiness scale.

The Mid-Atlantic, which is where I happen to live, seems to be pretty grumpy — all the time.

But Florida — with its palm trees and beaches and warm temperature all year round — stays in the upper regions of the happiness scale for 12 hours a day.

That's all to say, if we're smart, we'd all be stepping toward South Florida.

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