An interesting study published in the journal Science sought to determine the pattern of emotions over the course of a day, week and even year. By analyzing the tone of tweets, researchers identified certain patterns.
Researchers collected up to 400 messages from the 2.4 million Twitter users writing in English over a two year period.
Certain daily patterns were identified:
- Positive posts were highest around breakfast time (between 6:00 and 9:00am)
- After that, mood tended to decline
- The lowest emotions were noted in the 3:00pm hour
- Then things turned around again
- With a boost in positive emotions around bedtime
- This pattern remained on weekends, just with a 2 hour shift later (probably reflecting people sleeping in)
Other trends included:
- Better mood towards the end of the week and on weekends (no surprise)
- More positive emotions around spring with a drop towards fall, to which the researchers attributed anticipation of shorter days
The validity of the study, however, has been called into question. Mood was determined by a computer-analysis of the words in each tweet.
As Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert so eloquently stated, “I suspect that if you counted the good and bad words people said during intercourse, you’d mistakenly conclude that they were having an awful time.”