An unobtrusive model of “gross national happiness”

May. 11, 2010 | by Nuria Sadurni

There is a lot of research around the happiness topic and which is the country that holds the highest index of happiness. I have read different research studies which normally provide different results and obviously different rankings.

Facebook has published a Gross National Happiness Index where you can track levels of happiness across different countries. Users rate their happiness as positive or negative. I found this at least interesting but of doubtful methodology although 400 million of Facebook users is a fair sample.

Gross National Happiness is the difference between the positivity and negativity scores.The model is taking into consideration the words used in users’ status updates breaking them out by positive or negative words, for later assess that the day as a whole is counted as happier than usual.

Additionally, the model has been calibrated differently to ensure consistency for different countries which eliminates effects due to differences in the countries’ population and language use.Computers do the calculations.

The graph below shows a positive and negative word use in status updates which covaries with self-reported satisfaction with life. Also note that the graph shows peaks and valleys on days that are culturally and emotionally significant.

Some interesting insights, Argentina has a peak for the International Woman’s day and Puerto Rico is on the contrary a country with large negative fluctuations. For the UK, anything surprising as Christmas is still the happiest day.

It would have been great to have had Greece in the list of countries.

Now we only need to understand if there’s any correlation between this graph and shopping patterns. A good source of insights during the next Football World Cup or another important sports events.

Maybe Facebook will bring in the immediate future models allowing partners to check automated brand engagement (done by computers) and how happy consumers are with a particular brand or service based on people’s status updates.

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    Comments (2)

    • Bee1965

      It's really a cool and helpful piece of information. I'm satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing it on 6, 2012 04:54 am

    • Maricruz Dobek

      The most difficult thing is to find a blog with unique and fresh content but i think you offer something different. Bravo.Dec 11, 2010 09:26 am

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