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Facebook Measures How Happy We Are

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?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
But what if my status said I wasn't happy? teehee! that's silly. they should just come up with some "how are you feeling today?" kind of thing if they reeally wanna know. that's a bit myspace/livejournal but hey, it's accurate :P
BuffBabe6108 BuffBabe6108 7 years
I just found it interesting that the peak 'happy' days were Thanksgiving. I guess because that is more 'universal' (in the US) than Christmas or any other religious based holiday? Anyone know why that would be?
jossfan23 jossfan23 7 years
Minor comment - but Heath Ledger died on 1/22/08 not 1/28/08. Following - I couldn't figure out how to tell exact dates (except the obvious up spikes on holidays) from the facebook blog - does some else understand? 1/22/08 is a very important date in my personal life so I wouldn't mind knowing whether the 22nd or the 28th was the saddest day. But, to the main point, I am an experimental psychologist and I think that this is one of the silliest operationalization of happiness or sadness I have ever seen. As the staple salad said - sarcasm, "Happy Holiday", etc. are all in there.
staple-salad staple-salad 7 years
That doesn't really sound like a good way to measure happiness. I mean, does their algorthym have exceptions for "not happy" and sarcastic remarks? As well as people wishing their friends "happy + "?
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