Who Are Your Happiest Facebook Friends?

By David Cohen 

HappiestFriends650Have you ever wondered which of your friends on Facebook make you the happiest? Wonder no more: This tool from Time will tell you.

Chris Wilson of Time described how the tool works:

To determine your top friends, this tool takes into account mutual friends who you appear with in photos, and whose posts you’ve frequently liked. Then it analyzes the posting behavior of the top 25 people on this list, discarding anyone who has written fewer than 10 status updates in the past year or whose privacy settings hide their posts from applications.

To measure the positivity and negativity of Facebook posts, this app uses the same method as the researchers who first announced the effect of emotional contagion on Facebook in March. For any given status, it compares each word in that status to a list of hundreds of positive words, like “hilarious” and “thoughtful,” and hundreds of negatives words, like “disaster” and “pathetic.” While it is blind to context and does not understand sarcasm, this method has been empirically shown to correlate to the emotional content of a written message. (This system, known as Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, is a technology pioneered by a researcher at the University of Texas. Time is using it with permission.)

Readers: Did you try Time’s tool, and were you surprised at the results?