A global mood ring called Twitter

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

In a follow-up to their mood maps, Scott Golder and Michael Macy of Cornell University look at mood cycles during the hours of the day:

They found that, on average, people wake up in a good mood, which falls away over the course of the day. Positive feelings peak early in the morning and again nearer midnight, while negative feelings peak between 9pm and 3am. Unsurprisingly, people get happier as the week goes on. They’re most positive on Saturdays and Sundays and they tend to lie in for an extra two hours, as shown by the delayed peak in their positive feelings. The United Arab Emirates provide an interesting exception. There, people work from Sunday to Thursday, and their tweets are most positive on Friday and Saturday.

It's strange that good mood peaks around midnight. Maybe the people who are in a bad mood slowly go to sleep, leaving only those in a good mood to tweet. Then again, negative mood also seems to peak around midnight. Peculiar. I don't have access to the full article, so if anyone does, I'd be interested to hear Golder and Macy's interpretations.

[Discover Magazine via @albertocairo]


  • Looks like someone put the article up here. http://minus.com/mbe1lfWjEu

  • I would expect that if you’re up at midnight, you’re either doing something you really want to be doing, or trying to finish something that just has to get done before going to bed.

  • The vertical scales don’t start at 0, which is a trick that invariably distorts vertical axises. Also the axis for positive feelings goes in steps of .002, while the axis for the positive feelings goes in steps of 0.01. Finally, the two graphs are stacked, leading to the misleading impression that their profiles are comparable.

    Mind you this whole graphic is based on correlations of 0.001. If the value were 0.1 (100X more), it would still not be much to talk about. I assume the vertical axis represents correlations.


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