Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Really Scientific Study of Blogs

" 'Happiness Meter' Analyzes Blogs, Tweets"
DiscoveryNews (July 31, 2009)

"A 'hedonometer,' or a device that measures happiness, has been created by scientists in Vermont.

"The software created by Peter Dodds and Chris Danforth collects sentences from blogs, and is now analyzing Tweets, zeroing in on the happiest and saddest days of the last few years.

" 'We wanted to capitalize on the explosion of blogs and now Twitter to build an instrument that would give us some measure of the emotional signal from a large collective of people,' said Peter Dodds, a researcher at the University of Vermont and co-author of a new paper in the Journal of Happiness Studies...."

"The scientists started at the Web site wefeelfine.org, which combs through 2.3 million blogs looking for sentences that begin with 'I feel' or 'I am feeling.'

"The words that came next were ranked on a happiness scale of 1 to 9. A total of 1,034 words were ranked, with 'triumphant' registering at 8.87 on one side of the scale and 'hostage' measuring at 2.20 at the other end...."

The article gives a pretty good overview of a project that'll probably keep the researchers busy for a few cycles of grant proposals. DiscoveryNews doesn't get into detail about just how they decided that "triumphant" should be at one side and "hostage" at the other.

Offhand, I think there could be a few problems with their conclusions: unless they took sarcasm into account, and that their software can tell then difference between phrases like "I am triumphant" and "my enemies are triumphant over me" - or "I am held hostage in a fortune-cookie factory" and "I am a hostage of love."

Oh, well: It's a cool idea.

And, selections of the (mostly American) blogs give a few interesting peeps into the blogosphere.

"...The consistently happiest days are, not surprisingly, vacation days and holidays. The overall happiest days of the last few years were election day (Nov. 4) and President Obama's inauguration (Jan. 20). On these days, people typically typed sentences with words like 'pride' and 'proud.'..."


Next, they're going to do the same thing with Twitter.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory