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Can Twitter be used to gauge the overall mood of the world? A group of scientists at the University of Vermont has been tracking the overall mood of Twitter for years, and its findings indicate an overall drop in mood over the past year and a half. In order to take the temperature of the tweeting masses, the researchers assigned numeric values to various words.
A group of mathematicians turned to Twitter to gauge global happiness for 2011, and it seems the last 12 months have not been humanity's cheeriest.
The team from the University of Vermont gathered 4.6 billion Twitter messages from Twitter's 33 million users from around the world. Starting in September 2008, the mathematicians, led by Peter Dodds, assigned happiness grades to more than 10,000 common words with the help of volunteers who judged the words on a scale of 1 to 9. So a word such as "laughter" got an 8.5 and "food" had a 7.44 score. A word such as "terrorist" scored 1.3.
When the team plotted the numbers on a graph, the results showed a gradual downward slope for about the past year and half, except for a brief period between January and April 2009. The gloom and doom wasn't year-round, though. Researchers found that during holidays, moods generally increased, particularly on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when Twitter was trending the happiest. Mondays and Tuesdays are typically bummers.
Similarly, during significant cultural moments, the varying moods were easy to spot. The team's report, "Temporal Patterns of Happiness and Information in a Global Social Network," noted that some of the sharpest declines in happiness were during the 2008 financial bailout, which they said led to a "multi-week depression." The 2009 H1N1 outbreak, natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Japan and Chile, Michael Jackson's death, Germany beating England in the 2010 World Cup and even the ending of "Lost" all caused significant dents in happiness trending.
Originally posted by UberL33t
One can postulate that not only "moods" can be determined via this method of data extraction and comparison but I would think threat levels against the current PTB. Going so far as perhaps being able to narrow down to one particular individual based on their particular word choices.
Interesting how social media may end up being the driving force at how certain aspects of certain things can be manipulated and perhaps dealt with, if they aren't already and haven't already been for sometime that is.