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Team Uses Twitter to Analyze Cities' Moods

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Published on Apr 29, 2014

Be it happy, sad, or indifferent, researchers say they'll soon know the general mood of a city by studying the pictures it's inhabitants post on Twitter.

Be it happy, sad, or indifferent, researchers say they'll soon know the general mood of a city by studying the pictures its inhabitants post on Twitter.

Performing the analysis will be media theorist Lev Manovich and a team of scholars and scientists from the University of California, San Diego and the City University of New York.

They were awarded one of 6 grants offered up by Twitter. The prize is access to the social media company's data sets.

Now, UC San Diego will analyze a million photos from dozens of cities for their project titled "Do Happy People Take Happy Images? Measuring Happiness of Cities".

Algorithms will search and assess various photo features including contrast, color saturation, and symmetry, as well as study images of people.

Those results will be compared with other rich information sources such as Gallup Well-Being Index and the Peace Index.

Once correlations between happiness and image characteristics are established, the moods of the overall areas will be determined.

Said Manovich, "We believe that images can transcend the limitations of language. By studying large sets of images shared on social media, we hope to develop new ways to understand the well-being of a society and the 'what, where, and when' of a society's needs."

The other 5 Twitter Data Grants were issued to institutions in the US, Japan, Australia and the UK.

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