Jolly Good! Facebook Tracks Happiness Trends Amongst English-Speaking Users
We've talked before about Facebook's tracking of the overall happiness of their users. Now, the Facebook Data Team has expanded their study to look at three more English-speaking nations: the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada!
Their new studies have revealed some fascinating trends in international happiness. Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are amongst the happiest days across the board for English-speaking countries. The weekly increase and decrease in Gross National Happiness is visible in all countries, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday being the happiest days of the week for everybody.
More good news: the English-speaking world is feeling more jovial! "Negativity is trending down over time for most nations," cites the Facebook Data Team, "likely due to the changing demographics of Facebook users that now include more older people, and perhaps also due to the economic recovery. " The latter is in keeping with the four pillars of Gross National Happiness index: the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance. However, the former assertion - that an increase in older users results in an increase in the relative happiness registered on Facebook - is a bit more mystifying. Is teen angst really that big a factor in bringing down a nation's collective mood?
So, who's happiest? Facebook isn't going to tell, and due to their methodology, they couldn't figure it out anyway. "Each nation is analyzed separately to control for differences in population, and for cultural differences in how people use language," they explain. "However, this methodology precludes us from making meaningful comparisons between nations' happiness levels: We don't know which nation's citizens are the happiest." In other words, don't count on Facebook to help you decide who to bet against the next time you're wagering on a cricket match.
Ironic and hilarious happy Japanese globe from Oikos
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