Facebook Monitoring User Moods


The company’s data team on Monday launched a trippy new application called the “Gross National Happiness Index.” Taking a similar format to its “Lexicon” trend-tracking product, the “GNH” currently displays a graph of data tabulated over the course of the past few years to track the “happiness” of Facebook users based on words picked up in their status messages.

“Earlier this year, data scientists at Facebook started a project to measure the overall mood of people from the United States on Facebook, based on the sentiment expressed in status updates,” explained a company blog post by Facebook’s Adam Kramer–who is also a Ph.D. student in psychology:

Examples of positive or happy words include “happy,” “yay,” and “awesome,” while negative, or unhappy words, include “sad,” “doubt,” and “tragic.” We also did a brief survey of some Facebook users, which showed that people who use more positive words, relative to the number of negative words, reported higher satisfaction with their lives.

Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day tend to generate spikes in happiness, as do days of historical significance like the election of President Barack Obama. There are notably “sad” days, too, Kramer pointed out, like the double whammy on January 22, 2008, when the Asian stock market took a dive and young actor Heath Ledger was found dead.


Your Thoughts?  (Warning: Your Thoughts may yield an index measuring general happiness and anger levels of Camels With Hammers readers)

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://atheists-and-christians.blogspot.com/ Mike aka MonolithTMA

    Facebook is mother, Facebook is father.
    Facebook is your friend. Trust Facebook.
    We Are Everywhere For Your Convenience.
    Protect Facebook.
    We know what you’re thinking.

  • Boz

    Do you know the cause of the weekly cycle?