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Friday, October 4, 2013

Strategic CSR - Hedonometer

The article in the url below introduces the Hedonometer ( It is a graphical representation of people’s emotions expressed via Twitter:
“A group of Twitter-junkie data scientists launched a tool this week to measure the ups and downs of public contentment, an index they are calling the hedonometer that takes the pulse of the national mood and, the researchers hope, may even one day play a role in informing economic and public health policies. … The scientists say the measurements provide a deeper insight into public sentiment in real time. In introducing the hedonometer, the duo describe it as a ‘Dow Jones Index of Happiness.’”
The authors claim that it measures “happiness.” I am not sure what it measures, and I am certain that this is not a representative sample of the population, but the resulting graphic certainly looks cool:
“Here’s how it works: The hedonometer measures Twitter’s Gardenhose feed, a random daily sampling of roughly 50 million English-language tweets, generating usually about 100 million individual words. The entire word cache is then scored each day to determine a sliding mood scale. Drilling down to the word level, the scientists have scored 10,000 terms, weighting them for their positive or negative connotations. Words such as ‘happy,’ for example, score high (8.3 out of 10) for positive sentiment, whereas words like ‘war’ or ‘dead’ score low. The more positive words that turn up in the cache, the higher the score. (You can see where ironic tweets might skew things.)”
The results capture shifts in national attention, if nothing else:
“The scientists have been tracking public sentiment via Twitter since September 2008, the month Lehman Brothers went bust. The hedonometer assessment of Twitter chatter that day—Sept. 15, 2008—shows the term ‘bankruptcy’ trending, sinking the overall mood of the index. The ‘saddest’ day so far recorded was April 15, 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings. The most positive days consistently are public holidays, with Christmas regularly generating the highest score of the year.”
Have a good weekend.
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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Forget GDP. Data Crunchers Measure Happy Tweets for Key Economic Indicator
By Bernhard Warner
May 1, 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek