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A bake-off for sentiment analysis

As a grad student trying to understand the emotional content of some unreadably large collection of texts, a typical night can often go something like this: You’re up late at night planning a new research study, thinking about trying some of this fancy sentiment-based text analysis. You resort to your favorite search engine with the query “sentiment analysis package python.” We …

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Socio-technical instruments for public health

How do we quantify the well-being of a population in real time? Traditionally, we’ve done so with a mixture of key economic indicators, from GDP to consumer confidence indices. But are people happy? Do they believe their lives—their personal stories—are going well? Do they have hope for the future? More than 2 billion people use social media such as Twitter, …

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The shapes of stories

Stories help us encode and understand our collective existence, underpin cultures, and help frame the possible. Describing the ecology of all human stories is an essential scientific enterprise.  With the advent of the internet and massive digitization this vital work has become, in part, a data-driven one. There are many aspects of stories to characterize and here we take …

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Where does Twitter stand on climate change?

There is an overwhelming consensus among scientists that anthropogenic climate change is real. However, politicians often benefit from disagreeing with this consensus, and media coverage tends to confuse the general public. With a myriad of different ideas, opinions, and sentiments surrounding this controversial topic, we were curious, what does Twitter think about climate …

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The happiest character on Seinfeld was …

... Kramer! Ohhh YEAHHHHH! Whether he was analyzing underwear performance (“My boys need a house!”), advising a friend on marriage (“Is it alright if I use the bathroom now?”), or unabashedly offering his honest opinion (“You just need a nose job!”), Jerry Seinfeld’s awkwardly outspoken neighbor brought the funny. Inspired by writer Larry David’s real-life neighbor Kenny …

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Hedonometer 2.0: Measuring happiness and using word shifts

With our Hedonometer, we’re measuring how a (very capable) individual might feel when reading a large text—a day’s worth of tweets from New York City, the first chapter of Moby Dick, or the music lyrics from all UK pop songs released in 1983. We’ll describe two fundamental pieces of the Hedonometer in this post: How our simple measure works; …

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Exploring Hedonometer 2.0’s global Twitter time series

In this post, we'll run through the basic features of our new interactive happiness time series for Twitter. We'll first use words and pictures to orient your experience, and then finish with a video explanation. Our method for measuring happiness, which we describe in a companion post and more fully in our foundational papers, relies on perceived happiness …

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Hedonometer 2.0

Over the summer of 2014, we have worked very hard to bring many new pieces to our Hedonometer, and we're pleased to tell you about what we've done, and where we're going next. All along, one of the central goals for the Hedonometer has been to provide a new instrument for society's dashboard, one that measures population-level happiness in real time from …

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Now online: the Dow Jones Index of Happiness

Total excitement people: our website hedonometer.org has gone live.  We're measuring Twitter's happiness in real time.  Please check it out! If you're still here, here's the blurb from the site's about page: Happiness: It’s what most people say they want. So how do we know how happy people are? You can’t improve or understand what you can’t measure. In a blow to happiness, …

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