Twitter Study Measures Day to Day Happiness of Last 5 Years

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"Emotional expression is key to being human and emotional expression over social media is becoming part of the 'plugged in' human," said Reuther.

Image credit: Christopher M. Danforth/University of Vermont

So does the overall dip in the Hedonometer from 2008 to present mean the level of sadness amongst tweeters has increased?

Danforth said, "The demographics have certainly changed during this time period, so some of the decline is a result of the shift in population. We do see simple negative words (e.g. 'no', 'never', "won't") being used more frequently now than a few years ago."

As for the big picture aim for the project, Danforth said his team would really like to provide an alternative measure of population level well-being to complement more traditional measures like GDP and Consumer Confidence.

"Our next improvements will be to include a dozen other languages, as well as information about what people are searching for (Google Trends), reading (traditional news media), and sharing (bitly) online."

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