Monday, October 3, 2011

Twitter and science: The forbidden love

Sociologists at Cornell University, in the longest bow ever drawn for science, have been caught spending too much time on Twitter. They fed millions of tweets into a computer, and based on key words, determined and mapped moods of tweeters throughout the day. Scientists found that after breakfast Monday to Friday, people’s general mood starts going downhill. Who would have thought, people do not like being at work. Shock horror.

In the article written for Science magazine, moods were even likely to drop during the weekend, but on average a couple of hours later in the afternoon and not as much. “It could be that the elevated mood on the weekends [and later dip] is because they did not get woken up by the alarm clock,” said Professor Macy who penned the article. Maybe because it’s the fucking weekend Macy. Do we need to a study to tell us we are happier on the weekend? The later dip in the afternoon could be from the realisation that the weekend is coming to an end and the return to work is imminent, or we’re trying to decide what to wear that night.

If we consider the demographic of the average twitter user, self obsessed enough to broadcast every single waking thought that passes through their brain and spam everyone everything they think is “lol” worthy, you would expect to read a lot of tweets intending to be sarcastic. Macy did state that while the computer program could identify words, the context of the words would be lost. It would be something they might be interested in looking at in the future; with cutting edge research like this you would want to eliminate all possibilities of error. For example, “just watched Jessica Black’s Friday, my life is complete :S” should never be misinterpreted.

Macy said that Twitter and like social media is a new and interesting time for the social sciences as it presents a different way to farm data and observe interactions, and that when they slack off it looks like they are working. On a side note, it’s good to see that the stupid fad of having a press release about unconfirmed and unverified experimental data, such as neutrons travelling faster than the speed of light, was only an isolated incident. (NOTE: if the international community verifies that objects can in fact travel faster than light, I am willing to eat my words. Because time travel and light speed engines are so much cooler than my pride)

And it is good to see that scientists obtain data from non-niche sources; who cares if a farmer in Zimbabwe suffers from 3:30-itis? He’s not going to buy an iPhone 5 or even get good reception, therefore not worthy of study. They would have to print more currency for him for a start.

Do you think your tweets or Facebook status updates represent your mood?


  1. People aren't happy being machine cogs? Capitalist blasphemy!

  2. If you're talking about acne-factories - AKA teenagers - who tweet emo shit like "life sucks," yes, I suppose it does reflect their emotional state.

    But because I'm judgmental like that, I cannot stand saccharine Facebook statuses or tweets so I only tweet to entertain.

  3. Do you have a Twitter? I would love to follow you there as well.

  4. My studies with the adult social network Twatter indicate that people are happier after having had sex.