A team from Northeastern University and Harvard Medical School has been analyzing words used in tweets by American users in an attempt to gauge the public mood around the country. What they discovered was that users on the West Coast seem to be quite a bit jollier than those on the East Coast. It is not clear whether the data was collected during the summer or winter months and accordingly adjusted, for that surely would affect the readings.
Researchers were able to infer the mood of each tweet using a psychological word-rating system developed by the National Institute of Mental Health’s Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention. The system ranks words based on how they make people feel.
Tweets containing words such as “love,” or triumph,” for example, received high mood scores, whereas messages with words such as “hell,” or “death” earned low marks.
Researchers then calculated an hour-by-hour average mood score for users in each state, and geographically represented the data using a density-equalizing map in which each region is scaled to represent its number of tweets as opposed to its land area.
Here’s a day’s worth of tweets and how our mood changes throughout the day:
Press release: What’s in a tweet?