Twitter, the microblogging program craze, has prompted two researchers to use it as a hedonimeter, or a device that measures happiness. Christopher M. Danforth and Peter Sheridan Dodds, both statisticians at the University of Vermont, are hoping to utilize the stream of messages flowing through the platform in order to interpret public opinion and sentiment in real time.
The ultimate goal is to establish an index, something like the Dow Jones industrial average, that is able to provide an overall idea of how a collective body of people are feeling at a given point in time. The theory is that tracking and analyzing public Web opinions could yield more accurate results than other surveys because the responses are unfiltered and therefore more genuine.
In additionto their main study, the researchers hope to observe how one user’s mood can be affected by another, as relationships and conversations are so intrinsic to how people communicate on Twitter. This could hopefully shed some light on crowd behavior as well as emotional contagion. Courtesy of NYTimes.com