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Twitter Can Tell Whether Your Community Is Happy or Not


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Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Michigan State University recently released a study on whether a community's sense of happiness could be determined from communications on Twitter. The study examined 82 million tweets from about 1,300 U.S. counties between June 2009 and March 2010, with a minimum of 30,000 words geotagged to each county. The study demonstrates that Twitter reveals the level of well-being at the community as well as the individual level.

The study used a model of language created by tweets that were indicative of community-level well-being, measured against more traditional survey results. By combining socioeconomic data with their Twitter language model, the researchers say they developed a highly effective tool for predicting well-being, without using formal surveys.

Tweets about exercise and the outdoors correlated positively with happiness, possibly due to exercise lowering depression risk, the researchers say. In addition, tweets about problem-solving and engagement in activities are linked to well-being, while tweets about stress and boredom are tied to a low-level of well-being.

From The Atlantic 
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