Travel industry, here’s a little tidbit to brighten your Q4 earnings estimates: new research out of the University of Vermont reveals that the farther we are from home, the happier our tweets reflect us to be.
The study, released last week, titled “Happiness and the Patterns of Life: A Study of Geolocated Tweets,” reports that “expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location.”
Let’s look at this a little more closely.
The research team analyzed 37 million tweets from 180,000 individuals in 2011 that also gave their location, then characterized the movement associated with each tweeter. Unsurprisingly, the findings indicated that people tweet largely from two locations, work and home.
What was surprising (or perhaps not, given how many people are unhappy at their jobs and less than satisfied amid the tedium of their everyday home lives) was that tweets authored thousands of kilometers from an individual’s work or home were much more likely to contain positive words, whereas tweets closer to work or home were more likely to contain negative sentiment.
That said, when people are closer to their average location, they’re more likely to tweet laughing words like “hahaha.”
In the above word shift graphs, comparing the lowest average word happiness distance from home to the words authored farthest from home, the +/- symbols indicate whether the word has an average happiness score that is happy or sad.
As Mashable points out, an important caveat is that expressed happiness is not the same as actual happiness. Analyzing tweet sentiment is only slightly more than a shot in the dark in evaluating people’s real feelings.
But the research is interesting nonetheless. The takeaway? Take a vacation.