A new Cornell University study of tweets confirms that people are happiest on weekends and lowest during the workday hours.
Up in the morning. Down during the day. Rebound by dinner. Twitter messages reveal how our moods shift during the day, say researchers.
There, in 136 characters is the gist of an epic new Cornell University study that seeks to capture the planet’s mood swings as reflected in tweets. Millions of them. Researchers looked at some 509 million tweets gathered between February 2008 and January 2010 from nearly 2.5 million individuals from 84 countries. Linguistic software scored each tweet’s positivity based on word choices, reported The Boston Globe.
What they found was tweets posted in the morning tend to be more upbeat, but then, the proverbial “case of the Mondays” sets in as the day unfolds. Tweets then rally around dinnertime and beyond.
Launched five years ago, Twitter claims more than 100 million users who post 230 million tweets (140-character dispatches) every day. It is presently, though, the least-used of the social networks, according to a 2011 social media and mobile technology study conducted by Millionaire Corner. Among nearly 1,300 surveyed households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence), 25 percent are familiar with Twitter, but only 5 percent said they used it compared with 55 percent who use Facebook and 22 percent who engage with LinkedIn.
Of these, 11 percent were under the age of 55. Younger people, usually the first adopters of new technology and gadgets, are the most likely to view, say, a financial provider or advisor negatively if they weren’t using the state of the art tools such as social networks, at their disposal.
Twitter is evolving beyond random musings to become a cultural force. It is playing an emerging role, for example, in reporting breaking news. There were 5,500 tweets per second issued in the wake of the freak earthquake that shook the east coast last August, according to New York magazine's cover story this week about Twitter.
And as the Cornell study reveals, it “provides a peek inside the collective mind, its moods and opinions, all in time-stamped text blocks, ready-packaged for computer analysis,” the Globe observed.
But Twitter moods do not so much reflect work dissatisfaction as they do our shared biological rhythms. The tweets suggest that work as well as sleep and the amount of daylight all play a role in shaping emotions. The study found we are happiest in the morning with the fresh start of a new day. Our mood darkens during the day, which, coincidentally or not, coincides with the time millions are at work. At the end of the work day, things begin to look up. The study also found that people are happiest on weekends. A small percent of so-called “night owls” post upbeat messages around midnight. The study also found that people are happier from December to late June, when days gradually become longer.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.