New Web site measures global happiness

Web site pulls keyword data from Twitter to measure happiness around the world on any given day. Is the globe feeling good today?

Oh happy day (or not so much). Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

There are many measurable quantities in the universe, but we would not have called "happiness" one of them.

Since 2008, however, a team of scientists from the University of Vermont and the Mitre Corporation, led by mathematicians Chris Danforth and Peter Dodds, have been figuring out a way to try.

Together, they've been working on a piece of software called the Hedonometer that measures -- and graphs -- data pulled from Twitter Garden Hose, a random sample of 10 percent of all tweets, to gauge how happy the world is on any given day.

A paid team of volunteers from Amazon's Mechanical Turk service analyzed 10,000 of the most-used English words on Twitter, assigning a numerical value to the happiness level of key emotional words, such as "sad," "party," "scary," and "win." Each day, the tool crawls through the random tweets -- some 100 million words -- for these key terms, tallying up the overall score. And it seems to work -- the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, for example, was the saddest day in the nearly five years the team has been collating data.

Read more of "New website measures global happiness" at Crave Australia.

About the author

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

 

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