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Dr. Drew

Driven by current events, "Dr. Drew" on HLN focuses on the human - and human behavior - at the center of the story.

Twitter research determines happiest states

  • Research team analyzed 10 million geotagged tweets
  • They compiled a list of cities and states in the U.S. by coding certain words to measure their happiness and sadness
Twitter research determines happiest states

Feeling shocked about what just happened on your favorite reality show?  Make a post on your Facebook page.

Proud of the cake you just made?  Instagram it.

Bored on your way to work?  Snapchat.

It’s no secret that when it comes to expressing thoughts, people quickly turn to the digital world.

Twitter, however, is arguably the most convenient method for digital emotion-spewing ... and a recent study at the Vermont Complex Systems Center might may make some people think twice before talking about what's affecting them.

The research team analyzed 10 million geotagged tweets.  They ultimately were able to compile a list of cities and states in the U.S. by coding certain words to measure their happiness and sadness. 

The indicators?  Words like “nice,” “1st,” “Christmas,” “beautiful,” “wine,” “thank” and “hope” all upped the average for happiness in a specific city.  The appearance of words like “damn,” “ugly,” “hell,” “pissed,” “smoke,” “bored” and an abundance of what the researchers refer to as “geoprofanity,” contributed to a measure of sadness.

But all this could be taken with a grain of salt. The context of each tweet was entirely ignored, so it may not surprise anyone that Hawaii was dubbed as the happiest state, or Napa, CA, the happiest city.  Who wouldn’t feel more apt to make their friends and followers jealous and tweet about their vacation destination, for instance?  Nearly everyone feels happier with a coconut bra or glass of wine.

Happiest Cities

1) Hawaii

2) Maine

3) Nevada

4) Utah

5) Vermont

Saddest Cities

1) Louisiana

2) Mississippi

3) Maryland

4) Delaware

5) Georgia

But the quantification of happiness outside of survey data is fascinating, The Atlantic pointed out in an article last week.  It makes people wonder: What keeps the top 10 happiest cities happy?  What’s stopping the top 10 from being the saddest?

The key to happiness has always been a mystery, but Americans may be a step closer to finding out now.

The take-home message in the meantime? Contrary to what social media has taught us this last decade, the world wide web doesn’t revolve entirely around you.  Your tweets now apparently reflect your town. 

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