University of Vermont Twitter Study Indicates That People Generally Have Not Been Happy Since April 2009

Posted Dec 21, 2011

According to a study by researchers at the University of Vermont, the average happiness of English-speaking Twitter users has been on a downward spiral since April 2009. This decline became more rapid in the second half of 2011. The University of Vermont researchers analyzed over 60 million users since the last 3 years. How did they do that you ask?

The University of Vermont used’s Mechanical Turk service to find online volunteers and had them rate the average happiness of the 10,000 most common words in English. Then they applied scores to over 46 billion words collected in tweets from the last three years.

Why are people getting sadder? Perhaps Twitter has grown rapidly in the past two years and early adopters may tend to be optimistic. As more users joined, perhaps the average happiness of users got closer to the mean. Another reason is because we have been in tough economic times since 2008 when Obama took office.

[UVM and BI]