Do you see a pattern in your mood throughout the day? How about throughout the week, or through seasons? If you’re a social media user, your posts could indicate patterns in your mood changes. The New York Times recently released an article about a study conducted by Cornell University that examined “the emotional tone of people’s messages”on Twitter.
How did they do it? “In the study, they collected up to 400 messages from each of 2.4 million Twitter users writing in English, posted from February 2008 through January 2010. They analyzed the text of each message, using a standard computer program that associates certain words, like ‘awesome’ and ‘agree,’ with positive moods and others, like ‘annoy’ and ‘afraid,’ with negative ones. They included so-called emoticons, the face symbols like ‘ ‘ that punctuate digital missives.”
The results showed that in general, people’s moods tend to be more positive around breakfast time in the morning. They gradually become lower, or more negative, in the late afternoon, before rising once again near the end of the day. Moods also tended to be higher during the weekends and lower at the beginning of the week.
Social Media Strategist Caroline Melberg feels that these results show some of the effects of the social media revolution. “It goes to show how social media is really affecting more areas of our life than we might think,” said Melberg. “Social scientists using Twitter to tap into the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ is just another example. Of course, their findings weren’t that surprising (people like weekends – who knew?) but it’s still interesting.”
What does this mean about people who schedule their tweets in advance? And how does all of this affect the growing area of sentiment analysis online? Results for these questions are still pending…