Twitter, Moods and a Screaming Grasp of the Obvious
In this morning’s Washington Post there is an article entitled “Tweets tweet our emotional status.” This article is both mundane and presents and screamingly firm grasp of the obvious.
The premise of the article is as our moods change, so do the tone of our tweets. Well, duh. An excerpt:
Optimism is reborn with each new day and slowly erodes as we work, study and go about our quotidian affairs. Our mood lifts as we head home to friends, family, entertainment and beer. Our outlook tends to be sunnier on weekends. And speaking of sun, when it starts to pile up in the spring or disappear in the fall, that affects our mood, too.
Well, there’s some groundbreaking news. We hate work, errands, and love to party. I know very few people who, on their deathbeds would say “Gosh, I wish I had done just one more day at work…[cue EKG sound of flat-lining].
There are a couple of things that caught my eye in the article, which to be honest, is not really worth reading unless you have not make the connection that we tend to share our emotions with others – or are perhaps more likely to do so via social media. But here’s something interesting:
A new study in the journal Science examined the contents of more than 500 million tweets sent in 84 countries over two years, looking for signs of good moods and bad. It found what a lot of us could tell by looking at our own lives.
Let me see if I get this straight: it took people or Cornell University two years, 500 million tweets and 84 countries to prove that people have emotions that go up and down and are shared via Twitter? Wow! And if you are a Cornell alumni donor, I would think carefully about where your money is going before writing the next check. I doubt that you are getting a new basketball arena any time soon.
But it was the last part of the article that caused me to spit out my (expensive) Starbucks coffee:
“This is a stone in the foundation of a new social science that is being built,” said Nicholas A. Christakis, a sociologist at Harvard University who was not involved in the research. “We’re in a similar place that we were in in the 17th century with the discovery of the telescope and microscope.”
Telescope. Microscope. 17th century? I suppose that sending a man to the moon, working on discovering a cure for cancer or eradicating such diseases as polio are way down on the list.
I think what chafes my saddle sores is that first, this is viewed as serious research rather than a firm grasp of the obvious, or second, a formerly great newspaper like the Washington Post found it newsworthy – in the A section, no less.
What’s next? “One billion dollar study from the University of Phoenix shows that giving someone the middle finger in traffic may be tied to annoyance?”
Yeah. Annoyance like reading this steaming pile of pseudo-journalism.
P.S. – I would normally state something here like “Image source: Washington Post,” but I am pretty sure they would kick my ass if they read this post.