According to the first results of a high-tech computing center's "hedonometer," Napa is the happiest town in the U.S.A.
The researchers the Vermont Complex Systems Center, who posted their new analysis of 10 million geotagged tweets to to arXiv.org, looked at the "tweets" of users of Twitter.com for terms that were "happy (rainbow, love, beauty, hope, wonderful, wine) or sad (damn, boo, ugly, smoke, hate, lied)," according to "The Geography of Happiness According to 10 Million Tweets"in The Atlantic by senior editor Alexis Madrigal.
While the researchers admit their technique ignores context, they say that for large datasets, simply counting the words and averaging their happiness content produces "reliable" results.
State by state, Hawaii comes out the happiest of the 50, and Louisiana the least so. In general, the Bible belt stretching across the American south and into Texas was less happy than the west or New England. Second happiest state was Maine.
"The saddest town of the 373 urban areas studied was Beaumont in east Texas. The happiest was Napa, California, home of many drunk people [sic] wine makers."
As Madrigal points out, there are several caveats to the study that bear notice: ethic and regional vocabularies were not accounted for, Spanish tweets were not counted, and places like Napa and Hawaii have more tourists on vacation - note the tweets were geo-tagged, based on the location and not the subscriber. Still, Napa beat out the next happiest town, Longmont CO, by a significant amount, and who wouldn't be happier being in Hawaii than Maine?
There are other conclusions to be drawn from the study, but make sure your local tweets are about hoping to see a beautiful rainbow while drinking a lovely wine. That would be wonderful - because that hedonometer is listening.
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