Is Happiness Contagious Online?
A Case of Twitter and the 2010 Winter Olympics
                    Anatoliy Gruzd
        ...
Can happiness spread from person to person?
 Christakis & Fowler (2008)                        4,739 people from 1983 to 2...
Can happiness spread online?




Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca   Is Happiness Contagious Online?   3
Gross National Happiness on Facebook
         http://apps.facebook.com/gnh_index




Kramer, A. D. I. (2010). An unobtrusi...
www.WeFeelFine.org
Tracking and visualizing human emotions in the Bologsphere




 Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca   Is Happiness Co...
Christakis' Facebook Profile Images Study
                                                                1,700 Facebook p...
Our Research Questions

●   Do Twitter users tend to post primarily positive
    or negative messages?
●   Are positive me...
Method




Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca   Is Happiness Contagious Online?   8
Dataset
Twitter messages (tweets) about
the 2010 Winter Olympics
●   Twitter Search API
●   February 12 - March 4, 2010
● ...
Method: Sentiment Analysis Tool
            http://sentistrength.wlv.ac.uk/




Thelwall, M., Buckley, K., Paltoglou, G. C...
Sample tweets
          (3; -1)

“... love the Olympics. I
never thought I could care       (2; 2)

so much for people or ...
Results




Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca   Is Happiness Contagious Online?   12
Results
     Positive vs. Negative Tweets
       40




       35




       30




       25



                         ...
Results
       # messages per day mentioning “sad”




Tragic death of a
Georgian luge competitor

      Anatoliy.Gruzd@da...
Results
Descriptive Statistics for Retweets

      Polarity          #Tweets    #reTweet #reTweet
                        ...
Results
         # retweets vs. # followers




Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca   Is Happiness Contagious Online?   16
Results
Polarity and User’s Network Position
     (green – “positive”; red - “negative”)

                                ...
Future Work
●   General sample of Twitter users
    ●   Based on location? (Confounding)
●   Collect their messages over a...
Credits
Images from Flickr by ...
●   Luc Legay
●   D Sharon Pruitt
●   Tim Dawson
●   “Search Engine People Blog”
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Is Happiness Contagious Online? A Case of Twitter and the 2010 Winter Olympics (paper presented at HICSS 2011)

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Gruzd, A., Doiron, S., Mai, P. (2011). Is Happiness Contagious Online? A Case of Twitter and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Proceedings of the 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), January 4-7, Kauai, HI, USA. Available at http://bit.ly/eer95o

*** Abstract ***
Is happiness contagious online? To answer this
question, this paper investigates the posting behavior
of users on Twitter.com, a popular online service for
sharing short messages. Specifically, we use
automated sentiment analysis to study a large sample
of over 46,000 Twitter messages that reference the
2010 Winter Olympics. We determined that there are
more positive messages than negative, and that
positive messages are 3 times more likely to be
forwarded than negative messages. However, we were
not able to confirm with a reliable degree of certainty
that the emotional context of messages is directly
related to the user’s position in the Twitter network. It
is likely that there are other factors involved as well.
For example, we found that negative users were more
prolific posters than positive users, suggesting their
more argumentative and passionate nature. This paper
concludes with some implications for the Twitter
community and a description of our follow-up study.

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Is Happiness Contagious Online? A Case of Twitter and the 2010 Winter Olympics (paper presented at HICSS 2011)

  1. 1. Is Happiness Contagious Online? A Case of Twitter and the 2010 Winter Olympics Anatoliy Gruzd Sophie Doiron Philip Mai Contact person: gruzd@dal.ca Twitter: dalprof Our website: http://socialmedialab.ca Kauai, Hawaii, USA January 6, 2011
  2. 2. Can happiness spread from person to person? Christakis & Fowler (2008) 4,739 people from 1983 to 2003 Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 2
  3. 3. Can happiness spread online? Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 3
  4. 4. Gross National Happiness on Facebook http://apps.facebook.com/gnh_index Kramer, A. D. I. (2010). An unobtrusive model of "gross national happiness." Proc. CHI, 2010, ACM Press, 287-290.
  5. 5. www.WeFeelFine.org Tracking and visualizing human emotions in the Bologsphere Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 5
  6. 6. Christakis' Facebook Profile Images Study 1,700 Facebook profiles A person who posts a picture of him or herself smiling on Facebook is more likely to have online friends who are also smiling in their profile pictures. Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 6
  7. 7. Our Research Questions ● Do Twitter users tend to post primarily positive or negative messages? ● Are positive messages more likely to be forwarded than negative messages? ● Can a user’s position within the network be an indicator of that user’s tendency to post positive or negative messages? Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 7
  8. 8. Method Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 8
  9. 9. Dataset Twitter messages (tweets) about the 2010 Winter Olympics ● Twitter Search API ● February 12 - March 4, 2010 ● Sampling: every hour, 100 most recent tweets that mentioned the word “Olympics” 9 ● Total: 46,097 tweets Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 9
  10. 10. Method: Sentiment Analysis Tool http://sentistrength.wlv.ac.uk/ Thelwall, M., Buckley, K., Paltoglou, G. Cai, D., & Kappas, A. (in press). Sentiment strength detection in short informal text. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.
  11. 11. Sample tweets (3; -1) “... love the Olympics. I never thought I could care (2; 2) so much for people or “Awesome opening on CTV sports that I just learned for the 2010 olympics, about six minutes beforehand.” so America why is NBC not showing it live?” (1; -4) “Horror at 95mph: Luger killed after smashing into concrete pillar at Vancouver Olympics [url]”
  12. 12. Results Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 12
  13. 13. Results Positive vs. Negative Tweets 40 35 30 25 Neutral 20 Positive Negative Both 15 10 5 0 % Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 13
  14. 14. Results # messages per day mentioning “sad” Tragic death of a Georgian luge competitor Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 14
  15. 15. Results Descriptive Statistics for Retweets Polarity #Tweets #reTweet #reTweet Mean Median Neutral 992 2.63 1 Positive 251 6.6 2 Negative 98 2.22 1 Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 15
  16. 16. Results # retweets vs. # followers Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 16
  17. 17. Results Polarity and User’s Network Position (green – “positive”; red - “negative”) ● Positive users have 35 more friends ● Some negative users were able to attract a large number of followers (e.g., “omgihatethat”) ● Negative users tend to post 253 more messages Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 17
  18. 18. Future Work ● General sample of Twitter users ● Based on location? (Confounding) ● Collect their messages over a longer period of time ● Try different sentiment analysis techniques ● MechanicalTurk ● Level of happiness <-?-> Network position Anatoliy.Gruzd@dal.ca Is Happiness Contagious Online? 18
  19. 19. Credits Images from Flickr by ... ● Luc Legay ● D Sharon Pruitt ● Tim Dawson ● “Search Engine People Blog”
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