With the massive amounts of status updates conducted each day on Facebook, there is no shortage of data to tell whether people are feeling happy or sad.
And over time, this data can show trends as to how the nation as a whole (the United States for example) is feeling emotionally.
That’s exactly what Facebook data scientist with what they call The United States Gross National Happiness Index. This is a project started by data scientists at Facebook to measure the overall mood of people from the United States on Facebook, based on the sentiment expressed in status updates.
Facebook’s blog posting indicates “the result was an index that measures how happy people on Facebook are from day-to-day by looking at the number of positive and negative words they’re using when updating their status. When people in their status updates use more positive words—or fewer negative words—then that day as a whole is counted as happier than usual.”
You can view the entire graph here. The graph clearly shows you things like what days people were the happiest (Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving) and also some of the saddest days (June 25, 2009 which is the day Michael Jackson died, and January 22, 2008 which was the day the Asian Stock Market crashed and also the day Heath Ledgers died).
One trend that I noticed almost immediately is that the graph has a consistent slope of up and down, looking a lot like a heart beat monitor that shows a very consistent heart beat. From the graph I saw that the ups and downs seemed to be consistent over time.
And what this “up and down” slope represents, ironically, is the days of the week. Here’s a picture of what I mean:
This is funny and ironic more than anything. But it totally makes since how in the United States, Monday’s are the lowest days from a happiness stand point, and Saturday’s are the happiest days.
People hate having to go to work on Mondays, and love it when they have the a day off to do whatever they want, which obviously peaks on Saturday.
So this graph, and study, from Facebook is really cool and definitely worth checking out.