Your twitter account can tell if you are feeling happy or sad

Twitter is one of the most favorite activity of all of us. We have sacrificed hours of our life tweeting and reading tweets of the global population. Now here is one more interesting reason to love Twitter.

An Interesting research on Twitter and emotions

Do you know how do those people around you feel? Twitter has the answer of that. Now who would have thought that? But it is true. A team of scientists including one Indian-American researcher has developed an algorithm to find out life satisfaction level on Twitter.

The team of researchers from the University of Iowa utilized two years of Twitter data to measure users’ life satisfaction — a key ingredient of happiness.

The researchers claim that their study is different than any other studies conducted on social media. Chao Yang and Padmini Srinivasan said most of the study look at how users feel about their life over the period of time, but the new study tells about the user’s mood in the moment.

Padmini Srinivasan said, “The traditional methods of studying happiness have been through surveys and observations and that takes a lot of effort.”

She added, “But if you can actually tap into social media and get observations, I think it would be unwise to ignore that opportunity.”

Chao Yang and Padmini Srinivasan have gathered data from about three billion tweets over the period of two years (October 2012 to October 2014).

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How they did it

They narrowed down their set of data to only first-person tweets with the words “I,”me,” or “mine” in them to increase the likelihood of getting messages that portrayed self-reflection.

The researchers developed algorithms to catch the basic ways of expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one’s life.

They used these statements to assemble retrieval templates to know expressions conveying life satisfaction and their synonyms on Twitter. A statement like “my life is great” also would include statements like “my life is wonderful,”my life is fabulous,” etc.

The team discovered that people’s feelings of long-term happiness and satisfaction with their lives remained steady over time. Their happiness and satisfaction stayed unaffected by external incidents such as an election, a sports game, or an earthquake in some foreign country.

The results of the study differ with the previous social media research on happiness, which typically has observed short-term happiness (called “affect”) and discovered that people’s daily moods were heavily affected by day to day external events.

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Satisfied people use these words more on Twitter

Chao Yang and Padmini Srinivasan noted that satisfied people who were using twitter for a longer period of time inclined to use more hashtags and exclamation marks and used very fewer URLs in their tweets. While unhappy users were more likely to use personal pronouns, conjunctions, and profanity in their tweets.

Dissatisfied users were frequently using the words like “should,”would,”expect,”hope,” and “need” that may express determination and aspirations for the future to express negative emotion, anger, and sadness. And researchers noted that dissatisfied people were 10 percent more likely to use those words than satisfied users.

Padmini Srinivasan believes that this kind of research is important because life satisfaction is a big ingredient of happiness.

She said, “With this research, we can get a better understanding of the differences between those who express satisfaction and those who express dissatisfaction with their life.”

The study was published in journal PLOS One.