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Swedes among the ‘gloomiest’ on Twitter

Rebecca Martin · 30 Sep 2011, 08:39

Published: 30 Sep 2011 08:39 GMT+02:00

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In order to look at mood changes in connection with daylight hours, scientists have spent two years analysing 509 million tweets from 2.4 million people in 84 countries around the world.

Computer software has then analysed the data and graded its emotional content, reading emotional states like enthusiasm, worry, fear, joy and anger.

The study shows that only Belarusians, Moroccans, Indians and people from a few tiny East Asian countries are more melancholy than Swedes when tapping in the 140 characters.

Swedes, Danes and Finns seem to be among the gloomiest bunch, based on the tone of the tweets.

Scientists also found that, based on their tweets, people across the globe tended to wake up in a good mood, which would deteriorate as the day progressed, and that in general, most were happier at the weekends.

“Many lay people who I talked about this said, ‘Of course, people go to work and they don’t have very high positive affect at work,’” said graduate student Scott Golder, one of the scientists behind the study, to CBC news.

“It turns out that this isn’t the whole story. We saw that the shape of the rhythm was exactly the same on Saturday and Sunday when many people are not at work. So clearly something else is playing a role here, whether it’s sleep or biological rhythms,” he continued.

A surprising discovery was that the total amount of daylight hours didn’t seem to make a difference on the mood of the tweeters.

Story continues below…

However, a decline in happiness was noted, as the days got shorter, regardless of where on the planet the tweet was sent.

The study was published in the September 29th edition of Science

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:05 September 30, 2011 by Da Goat
Scandinavians are not an emotional mob at the best of times and if you are in the dark for too long you do tend to be gloomy like the weather!

probably the only thing not accounted for, the weather has the biggest influence!

sunny days in winter are fun and wet cloudy days in summer are not , I think this study was a waste of time as they probably were barking up the wrong tree!
10:51 September 30, 2011 by glenquagmaire
hmm... so this is what everyone was warning about invasion of privacy by data theft.... now all marketing companies will use this to launch products, sell stuff and government agencies would also use the same for thier benifit...
11:46 September 30, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
Scandinavian "humour" is also gloomy and dull. Patagonia (Argentina) is a pretty gloomy place as far as weather is concerned but they're a far more lively and humorous lot than Scandinavians.
12:08 September 30, 2011 by Rishonim
Swedes tend to shine at funerals
13:13 September 30, 2011 by fikatid
Swedes are boring, in addition to being gloomy, predictable (everyone leaves town for the summer houses in summers or going to the same all inclusive resorts in Spain, Thailand or India), anti-sociable (unless they are with their own group of friends or if they are drunk)....and most of all, always make excuses for being unfriendly (such as respecting others' personal space).

Maybe it's not just the weather. It could be the culture in general.
13:17 September 30, 2011 by skumdum

Or maybe it's you.
13:40 September 30, 2011 by Kibitz
I think if you told swedes they could not talk about the weather, they wouldn't have anything to talk about. Also, there are cold regions around the world and people dont spend their free time complaining about snow, or rain . In the in , I just think this shows how people in this region are incapable of connecting to one another, let alone new comers.
14:27 September 30, 2011 by Tysknaden
Maybe it's the feeling of living in a sold out country.
15:40 September 30, 2011 by kreed_uk
I used to think that it had a lot to do with the weather. If that's the case how come it doesn't seem effect the Canadians?
17:50 September 30, 2011 by Indignerad
The Local always has the most spectacularly dumb comments.
19:16 September 30, 2011 by missjane30
I can't wrap my mind around why a university would take the time to study people on Twitter! Who the heck even wastes their time on Twitter? I don't personally know anybody that does. If I have something to say, I text it to the person I have to say it to, but that's besides the point.

I don't think Swedes are a rude or gloomy bunch at all. Maybe the problem lies within the people that post such things? Is it possible that they are the rude ones?
21:51 September 30, 2011 by Kibitz
Really, . .. , what is there to wrap your head around, this study was silly, and humorous but more ironically has some degree of truth. Most of the swedes I know can't maintain a conversation beyond talking about the weather or work. My wife is swedish, and when I look at here Facebook wall from time to time, the topics are almost pointless , I dont understand taking the time to type and post most of what I read.

" I have to work this weekend" , I think it may rain today , today is my day off, ....

Just one absolute boring post after another. And what really surprises me the most, is that comments like this seem to present a great deal of interest and generate even more replys? ??
02:36 October 1, 2011 by shahislam
Wrere are you dear "infoseeker" i appreciate your judgmental keen ability!

Future legalization of drugs is a must and sooner is better.

Just consider the fact: In Holland / the Netherlands drug is legally cheapest and there almost no deaths and crimes related to drugs.

Thanks Mr. Barry for your smartness of adding Drugs with the other two top business items of billionaires (as I am able to logically relate all these three hot items): Oil and Weapons.

We the top thinkers of Western Tank may choose to ban weapon business and free the oil and drug businesses from the grip of bill / millionaires' grip by lifting production regulations on these items, despite the risk of losing some of mankind's suicidal minds who happily choose to die happily by suicidal acts including drug abuse. Some suffering guys even in UK begging others to let them die because our Laws do not approve self chosen death. What our policy makers can do when deaths are caused by nature or Cosmic creator?
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