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Researchers Analyze Twitter To Find Happiest Parts of the United States 160

Nerval's Lobster writes "If you live in Hawaii, congratulations: according to a new study (PDF) by researchers at the University of Vermont, you live in the happiest state in the union — at least as far as Twitter sentiment is concerned. (Hat tip to The Atlantic for posting about the research.) The researchers — affiliated with the University's Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Complex Systems Center, Computational Story Lab, and Advanced Computing Core — collected 10 million geo-tagged Tweets from 373 urban areas across the United States in 2011 and ran them through a system designed to tag each on a scale from 1 (sad) to 9 (happy). According to the study, the five happiest states include Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Utah and Vermont; the five saddest are Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware and Georgia. In general, the West and Northeast seemed much happier than the Mid-Atlantic and South—with the exception of Florida, which shaded 'happier' than many of the surrounding states. While the researchers admitted their study's limitations, there are certainly a lot of opportunities for refining the model: for example, if Hawaii's status as a vacation state affects its rate of 'happy' Tweets, or if incorporating languages other than English into the dataset would affect the ultimate results."
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Researchers Analyze Twitter To Find Happiest Parts of the United States

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  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @01:31PM (#42956811)

    No if you're posting from a vacation destination you're probably happy.

  • Re:Hawaii (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:35PM (#42957345)

    Don't believe it. I live in Hawaii, and it's not paradise. There's no work, people here nuts....

    The reason Hawaii is skewed toward being the, "Happiest state" is because of all the tourists that are tweeting. There are not that many computer literate people who live here. It ain't us.


  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @02:44PM (#42957431)

    Utah is commonly associated with Mormonism, which is generally considered to have followers who are rather courteous and virtuous, if a bit annoying with their missionaries knocking on doors.

  • Re:Hawaii (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:49PM (#42958739)

    Living in Hawaii is not quite the same as visiting there. Hawaii is small - even on Oahu (the most populated island), you can't drive any further than an hour from home (any more than that and you're on your way back home again). If you have family back on the mainland, you're an expensive 5 hour plane ride to the West Coast to visit them - worse if you're going to the East Coast. Housing is expensive too - in Honolulu, expect to pay San Francisco rates for housing, other islands and areas farther from Honolulu tend to be less expensive. Everything is expensive there because nearly everything is shipped in. Salaries tend to be lower than mainland salaries. Electricity is extremely expensive - around 30 cents/KWh. Forget getting good deals online - many places don't ship to Hawaii, or if they do, they use expensive UPS or Fedex shipping (where the least expensive shipping method is 2-day air) - USPS is affordable if you can find a vendor willing to ship via USPS. It'll be expensive to ship your household goods, and you'll pay (mostly) by volume, not be weight, so you probably won't be bringing much furniture... it'll be shipped by boat so you won't have it for a month. You can ship your car for around $1200, and it might be cheaper to do that than to sell it and buy a new one once you get there. Don't expect to be welcomed with open arms by local Hawaiians -- Hawaiians have strong family ties and social bonds, and it's hard to really fit in until you've lived on the Islands for years, and even after you've lived there for a decade or more, you still won't always be treated as a "local".

    That said, for some people Hawaii really is a paradise and they are very happy there, but for others, Island Fever starts to set in after a couple years (or less). Before you pack your bags and decide to move to HI, spend a week (or more), with an eye toward what it would be like to live there (check out grocery and other household goods prices, car and gasoline prices, look at apartments, etc) make sure it's really right for you.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.