Those clever data scientists at Facebook are at it again. They’ve developed a computer program that crawls through Facebook status updates counting positive and negative words. The program then adds the words and gives each day a sentiment score. You can actually view the year 2009, by going to The Gross National Happiness Index, and pick out those ‘happy’ days we apparently all shared. The whole of us (the USA anyway). One giant heaving mass of Facebookers, publishing our deepest thoughts to the world, one witty update at a time.
But are they truly ‘happy days’? I question how accurate this type of sentiment scoring would be. For example, if you post mainly sarcastic messages, your abuse of ‘happy’ words could easily sway the results. You might rate as much ‘happier’ than you actually are. And what about all your friends who prefer to post with bitter irony and dry humour, who use the innocuous word ‘yay’ to denote their disappointment in life, ie. “oh, yay, off to the dentist again”?
So how do you feel about a computer program sizing up your day? About automated sentiment scoring in general? Let us know.