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Monday, October 5, 2009

Are We Happy?

Posted by on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 4:50 PM

This shit is just getting creepy.

Facebook is even more omniscient than you thought: it can now chart the world's collective hopes and dreams and highs and lows—sort of, at least.

The company's data team on Monday launched a trippy new application called the "Gross National Happiness Index." Taking a similar format to its "Lexicon" trend-tracking product, the "GNH" currently displays a graph of data tabulated over the course of the past few years to track the "happiness" of Facebook users based on words picked up in their status messages.

Facebooks Gross National Happiness Index
  • Facebook's Gross National Happiness Index (Click to Enlarge)

Gross National Negativity:

Gross Negativity Since Oct. 2007 (Click to Enlarge)
  • Gross Negativity Since Oct. 2007 (Click to Enlarge)

h/t: Cnet


Comments (16) RSS

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treacle 1
Yes. We. Are. Happy. .. You. Would. Do. Well. To. Stop. Questioning. Our. Overlords. .. Don't. Worry. Be. Happy. .. Or. Be. Reported.
Posted by treacle on October 5, 2009 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Looks like facebook took a page from the King of Bhutan's book: He made Gross National Happiness his number one goal. The endeavor is beautiful in its optimism.
Posted by Davey on October 5, 2009 at 5:09 PM · Report this
That Happiness chart probably tracks accurately with alcohol sales.
Posted by DOUG. on October 5, 2009 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
Wow. I want some of what they're doing.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on October 5, 2009 at 5:19 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
People in Vancouver BC are probably way happier than us here in Seattle.

They have single payer national health care at $54 a month, a multi-city elevated light rail system, and don't have Seattle Syndrome.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 5, 2009 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Alicia 6
We now have data to support the hypothesis that Thanksgiving is awesome.
Posted by Alicia on October 5, 2009 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 7

Turkey farms are clearly plumping the birds with pills of ecstasy.

Posted by Dominic Holden on October 5, 2009 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf 8
That's not omniscience. It's masturbation. Stroke the data hard enough and any old thing you want will come out of it.
Posted by Fnarf on October 5, 2009 at 5:42 PM · Report this
Dougsf 9
Is anyone that perpetually fiddles with their Facebook "mood" really happy?
Posted by Dougsf on October 5, 2009 at 5:53 PM · Report this
Renton Mike 10
@9 Dougsf, you are on a roll.
Posted by Renton Mike on October 5, 2009 at 6:03 PM · Report this
Dougsf 11
I'm overcompensating for posting here, yet not actually living there anymore. Tomorrow, I'll post something that completely misses the point, replete with typos.
Posted by Dougsf on October 5, 2009 at 6:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 12
It's not like people would have a FB status of Happy Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, or people like me with lots of family, friends, and so on would have a lot of status updates that say Happy Soon To Be Birthday, Nephew Antonio!
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 5, 2009 at 6:22 PM · Report this
rob! 13
I assume the regular, respiration-like oscillations mark the expected blue-monday/TGIF roller coaster. But I can think of a lot of ways this doesn't seem to square with real life, and then there's the obvious selection bias for people who are idle enough or anal enough to bother updating their FB status.
Posted by rob! on October 5, 2009 at 8:12 PM · Report this
several years ago a couple researchers did this with blog posts etc. It's a fascinating look at our collective mood. You can find their presentation on Here is the website:
Posted by Feeling Good on October 6, 2009 at 9:15 AM · Report this
Facebook made me miserable, so I got off it. Now I'm happy! Track that, facebook.
Posted by DizMixen on October 6, 2009 at 10:39 AM · Report this
borgboi 16
Ummm... it must be broken. Happy spikes at Christmas, Valentines Day, etc?!? I find that hard to believe... I hope they're not including the words HAPPY and MERRY in their searches; otherwise they’re catching all us lonely Facebook-ers wishing others enjoyable holidays -- FAIL!
Posted by borgboi on October 6, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this

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