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Adam Kramer has been working on a project at Facebook aggregating 100 million users’ status updates into a database and parsing it for positive and negative words. When you map this data over a timeline spanning a couple years, what do you have? The Facebook United States Gross National Happiness Index.
They have taken precautions so no one’s privacy is in trouble, but they tally a score each day based upon the status updates’ positive and negative emotion words. Some of the conclusions are obvious and expected: people are much happier (9.7% happier) on Friday than Monday—the saddest day of the week. Further, according to the study, two of the saddest days of the year were the days when Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson died.
The other fairly common spikes fell around major U.S. holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the fourth of July.
You can check out the index yourself over on the Facebook site. How accurate do you think this type of “polling” can be, and do you think its findings are credible?