Are you happy? Facebook wants to know.(Read article summary)
Facebook attempts to measure the nation's overall mood.
What does your Facebook status update say?
If it includes the words "awesome," "happy," or "tragic," Facebook is paying close attention.
The social networking site, with more than 300 million users, is scouring status updates for these key words and more, to compile a Gross National Happiness Index (GNHI). (Facebook started looking for these words in status updates earlier this year.)
Facebook intern Adam Kramer, who is studying for his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Oregon, says the index is being compiled from a "collection of positive and negative emotion words built by social psychologists":
Examples of positive or happy words include "happy," "yay" and "awesome," while negative, or unhappy words, include "sad," "doubt" and "tragic." We also did a brief survey of some Facebook users, which showed that people who use more positive words, relative to the number of negative words, reported higher satisfaction with their lives.
To create the index, Facebook is keeping a tally of the days where English-speaking, US users have been at their happiest. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day made us smile. So did Barack Obama's election.