Apparently this is a real metric: Facebook recently announced it would begin to track our gross national happiness via status messages. The social networking company worked with a team of social psychologists to come up with lists of positive words ("yay," "happy," and "awesome," for example) and negative words ("sad," "doubt," "tragic.")It then published an index of how we are collectively feeling day-to-day. Turns out we're happiest on national holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and social holidays like Halloween. Our "saddest" days were Jan. 22, 2008 — the day of the Asian stock market crash/actor Heath Ledger's death and Jun. 25, 2009 — the date of Michael Jackson's death.
Apparently no one at Facebook actually reads your status updates; instead they rely on computers to find relevant words and measure data. You can check out the full happiness graph on the Facebook blog.
I think it would be funny if they started tracking other words, too. Perhaps Facebook could report on how happy we are in our relationships — or even at work. Could you imagine them coming up with a set of "angry" or "frustrated" words? Any other status trends you'd like to see?