Monday, July 27, 2009

Tracking happiness in the blogosphere

Researchers from the University of Vermont have been analyzing people's blogs in an attempt to measure levels of happiness over time. They have developed a web site - - that combs through people's blogs analyzing sentences beginning with "I feel," or "I am feeling." Based on previous research words are assigned a score ranging from 1 to 9 with 9 being positive and 1 negative. Although the system is not accurate enough to measure individual's levels of happiness it can track changes over time and differences between age-groups and places. The election of Barack Obama led to a big increase in happiness, mostly based on the use of the word 'proud,' whereas there was a big downturn in the mood of the blogosphere after Michael Jackson's death. September 10th and 11th are also associated with a wave of negative mood each year as people remember the events of September 11th, 2001. Teenagers are the most unhappy bloggers with people generally getting happier as they get older until levels of happiness drop off slightly with old age.

You can find out more about this research at


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