A couple of us from WIC recently attended a Digital Humanities Forum event called “Measuring Well-Being Using Social Media,” showcasing a joint project between the Department of Computer and Information Science and the Penn Positive Psychology Center. As part of the World Well-Being Project at Penn, researchers Lyle Ungar and Andy Schwartz are using “differential language analysis” on massive amounts of data from social media sources, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to gauge peoples’ emotions at the time they post a status update or Tweet. The project used a Facebook app called myPersonality to track users’ status updates. The researchers then created data clouds that show word frequencies and gender correlations with word usage.
Word clouds were grouped by the “Big Five” personality traits, which have been studied and documented in personality tests: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Contentiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness (see the World Well-Being site for further explanations); these were further categorized by gender and age group. The researchers found that college-aged students (ages 19-22), for example, used words and phrases such as “semester,” “campus” and “in_the_library,” versus the post-college group (ages 23-29), who used phrases like “at_work,” “new_job,” “library” (we’re glad the post-college folks are still referencing the library!). The discussion became very animated as everyone tried to analyze their own age group and gender based on the word clouds! Continue reading Penn DH Forum: Measuring Well-Being Using Social Media