Landing : Athabascau University

Diurnal and Seasonal Mood Vary with Work, Sleep, and Daylength Across Diverse Cultures

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6051/1878.full.html

An interesting study analyzing tweets to identify the average mood of people tweeting throughout the day (spoiler - mood tends to deteriorate throughout the day).

Large-scale social media make possible analytics research of this sort that would have been virtually impossible before they emerged, but there are some notable limitations to this kind of study and there are, at the end of the article, a fair number of very well-considered provisos about the reliability and meaningfulness of these results. I am particularly intrigued by the possibility of affective contagion. There is some fairly compelling evidence that our social circles have a huge effect on our moods and behaviours, from how fat we are (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmsa066082) to whether we smoke (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa0706154) to our happiness (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600606/. Correlation and causation are complex things to unravel, however. The study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600605/ which notes, amongst other implausible things, that height of our friends might be seen as affecting our own height, shows there are big risks in such analyses. The complex recursive linking that binds social networks is not easy to unpick and examine. None the less, as this article suggests, there are plausible grounds for suspicion that social media might be having large scale effects on mood that might, in the past, have only affected local networks. Given that people engaged in such networks will also be affecting those around them who are not part of the first-order network, it is possible that such systems are, quite literally, changing the world. This is not exactly collective intelligence as it is not smart. This is about emotion and mood. But it does emphasize that there is a higher level of organization at work here than can be found by looking at simple individual interactions. From a bunch of interacting small superorganisms in the form of local networks and communities, via a largely centralized mass-media culture over the past couple of centuries, through to social media today, we may now be heading towards becoming more of a world-wide superorganism.

Note: registration and login required

 

Comments

These comments are moderated. Your comment will not be visible unless accepted by the content owner.

Only simple HTML formatting is allowed and any hyperlinks will be stripped away. If you need to include a URL then please simply type it so that users can copy and paste it if needed.

(Required)

(Required)