Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Researchers at the University of Iowa are turning to social media to answer these questions and more. In a study published in March in the journal PLOS One, UI computer scientists used two years of Twitter data to measure users’ life satisfaction, a component of happiness.
Chao Yang and Padmini Srinivasan mined data from about 3 billion tweets from October 2012 to October 2014.

Chao Yang, lead author on the study and a graduate of the UI Department of Computer Science, says this study is different from most social media research on happiness because it looks at how users feel about their lives over time, instead of how they feel in the moment.

'In countries like Bhutan, they are not satisfied with current measures of success like GDP, so they are measuring the Gross National Happiness Index,' Yang says. 'They want to know how well their people are living; we saw an opportunity there.'

Yang, along with his faculty adviser Padmini Srinivasan, a UI professor of computer science, mined data from about 3 billion tweets from October 2012 to October 2014. They limited their data set to only first-person tweets with the words 'I,' 'me,' or 'mine' in them to increase the likelihood of getting messages that conveyed self-reflection. [...] Srinivasan says this research has a lot of potential for future collaborations. She hopes to continue her research by looking at other features that might separate satisfied and dissatisfied social media users, such as the use of medications or linguistic capacity, and to eventually make predictions that could help identify people who are at risk for changing from satisfied to dissatisfied."