PORTLAND, OR, United States – We all know folks can be moody on Twitter. That is, complaining about the weather, their food or some small issue a Twitter user decides to talk to the world about, but depending on the day of the week or type of day, how are moods and sentiment reflected by the messaging service?
Researchers looked into key words indicating positive (happy and enthusiastic) and negative (sad and anxious) moods of around 2.4 million users, and then mapped these against a clock to see when Twitter users are the most moody. Results indicate that folks wake up full of optimism and gradually get more negative through the day, recovering at around 6:30 PM. Moods are at their peak on the weekend.
The study was conducted by a technique called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, which is a program that quantifies the emotional content of statements. They program evaluated 509 million tweets that spanned two years by 2.4 million people in 84 countries. It’s most interesting that the patterns are visible across cultures.
Curious about what our readers across the globe thought about this story, I asked for opinions. Showing certain folks this story and asking whether there’s any validity to the claim that time of day or day of week, I received some interesting responses.
Richard Dorman, also known as Sheridan01 on Twitter, told me that he didn’t believe users’ messages on Twitter showed mood patterns and added that he’s British and more reserved than most, especially those from America.
Meanwhile, Shamal Harkinson hails from South Africa and said:
As a daily twitter user I find that while on some occasions my tweet-mood is affected by happenings around my life, they are less affected by the day of the week and more sensitive to the nature of the tweets I’m reading and my opinion of the subject, if I’m delighted with the news all my tweets, even those not concerning the exact subject are definitely more positive. On weekends I’ve noticed my tweets do seem to be more relaxed or exciting depending on what I’ve got planned, while on a weekday its more about the happenings of the day rather than the day of the week..
Based in sunny California, Mr. Mike Macias of The Mobile Fanatics and replied with:
I see moodiness on Twitter all throughout the day and night. I follow 500-600 people and they are from different parts of the world, so I really don’t notice a pattern of time. I mostly see… “Off work, finally!”. Or… “4 more hours left at work, horrible”. And people seem to be excited when they sign off from Twitter and go to bed. I definitely think moodiness shows through in social media. It’s even worse on Facebook.
As you can see in this sample, many do admit to having changes in their tweets based on the day of the week. It goes to show that Twitter, being a real-time conversation tool, just reflects the state of mind that is evident in every day people’s mental state. On the weekend, most citizens are away from work and the regular stressors that cause negative thoughts and negative tweets. On the flip side, weekday tweets are more negative, reflecting deadlines that may be due, bad commuting experiences and other issues.
What do you think? Do you see a swing in your tweet stream when it comes to moody or negative messages? Are you one to complain or sound negative on Twitter? Sound off below.