I love being able to measure this. These are the most popular links followed from my Twitter feed over the last 30 days, with a few provisos. It only includes links I inserted in posts after shortening with ow.ly. So links I left in their original form or which were re-tweeted as shortened by someone else, are not included.
How can we track how happy we are? Just look at blogs and song lyrics, two professors say.
Peter S. Dodds and Christopher M. Danforth, a mathematician and a computer scientist from the University of Vermont, downloaded more than 230,000 songs composed since 1960, along with 2.3 million blog items posted to WeFeelFine.org since August 2005, and State of the Union addresses. Using a nine-point “happiness” scale for words from the Affective Norms for English Words study, they looked for what sentences using the word “feel.”
Their results are reported this week in the Journal of Happiness Studies in an article titled “Measuring the Happiness of Large-Scale Written Expression: Songs, Blogs, and Presidents.”
And what the two scholars found certainly was interesting. The last U.S. presidential election produced the happiest day in four years. Among the least happy were the day of Michael Jackson’s death last month, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the day before.
It is an intriguing study.
Mr. Danforth thinks data on happiness could help in the future. “A gross national happiness index could help design public policy and understand people’s reactions,” he says.
For their next project, the two professors are looking at people’s Twitter accounts, taking in 1,000 tweets per minute. Unlike blogs, which are typically daily reflections, tweets are constantly updated and can show people’s immediate feelings, Mr. Dodds says.
Read more at The Wired Campus