Although most Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users probably already have an idea about which of their friends are the happiest, there’s now a tool that can help out with that. According to Time, the tool uses analytical measuring tools to determine which users are more positive than others and how the attitude of others affects us.
Weighing Facebook relationships
Whether this tool is better than each Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) user’s own intuition may not even be up for debate since it can’t understand sarcasm or context. But here’s how it works. The tool looks at the relationships users have on the social network. It determines who each user’s top 25 friends are using photos users appear with their friends in. It also looks at how often you like the posts of certain friends.
Then to measure the number of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) posts which are positive or negative, it examines each word in the post and compares it to blatantly positive and negative words. The tool is based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count system, which a researcher at the University of Texas designed.
Seeing patterns in Facebook posts
So when are Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users happier? The tool found that posts from over the weekend tend to be more positive than those from during the week. Posts also tend to be more extreme—either to the positive or to the negative—around holiday seasons. In addition, researchers found that rain affects moods, as posts tend to be more negative while it is raining in their area. In order to determine this, they used time stamps and users’ locations and compared them to the weather data from their areas at the time of the posting.
Of course there are some big holes missing in what this tool can do. It’s based entirely on the words which are used in the posts, so it misses the true emotions which are behind the words. It does, however, highlight again how Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can affect our emotions, just as past studies have indicated that the social network may actually be making people miserable.