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Summary:

It’s a beautiful thing to watch people tweet. Especially when you try to figure out what they’re tweeting about and how they feel, put it on a map or where they’re tweeting from, and animate the change over time.

It’s a beautiful thing to watch people tweet. Especially when you try to figure out what they’re tweeting about, how they feel, and where they’re tweeting from — then put that all on a map and animate the changes over time.

Researchers from Northeastern University and Harvard College recently built a pretty and captivating visualization of U.S. Twitter users’ moods, as determined by sentiment analysis. You can watch two days worth of tweeted moods in this video:

Watching the cartogram pulse as it indicates the proportional volume and sentiment of tweets is probably more interesting than the researchers’ conclusions about their data: people are happier on weekends than weekdays; West Coast happiness trends are usually about three hours after East Coast happiness trends. Still, it’s neat to learn that Thursday evening — aka just about the time I’m posting this — is the time of the week Twitter users tend to express the most negative sentiment.

Meanwhile, over at Betaworks, they’ve just posted a visualization of the record-setting sustained volume of tweets from around the world during the World Cup. There’s no sentiment analysis here — just counting of relevant hashtags — but you can see the volume of tweets corresponding with the occurrence of games that people in a country are interested in.

People seem to tweet less about being frustrated than being triumphant; for the championship game, Betaworks noted an “immediate lack of traffic in the Netherlands after losing while the attention in Spain persisted through the next morning.” Or it could be that disappointed tweeters just left off the proper hashtag formulation when lamenting their team’s loss.

These aren’t the first Twitter geography-plus-time visualizations videos, of course. Here’s one from last year that maps tweets with the words “just landed” and “just arrived in”:

Just Landed – 36 Hours from blprnt on Vimeo.

Here’s another of tweets from people who were pleased about Barack Obama’s inauguration. And here’s one from the New York Times depicting tweets during the Super Bowl. (Those two aren’t embeddable, so you’ll have to click through.)

Perhaps the data geeks who made these were too busy thinking about the visuals, but for some reason or another none of them include a soundtrack. So it’s up to you to put some trippy music on, chill out, and watch the Twitter visualizations.

  1. Great visualisations indeed! Already had my headphone on for the music but indeed: not there at all, whereas some music could only raise the suspension :-) Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Excellent thinking. Whoever has created these statistics have done a great job. Such graphs can be created not only for the Twitter alone, but for the entire internet itself, when required to analyze internet usage statistical data.

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  3. i consider this is a waste of time…both readers and researchers

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  4. Paul Fenwick Friday, July 23, 2010

    Another excellent example.

    World Cup 2010 Twitter replay
    Guardian Tech Twitter visualization – A high-speed replay of the World Cup and find out how Twitter reacted to every game

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/world-cup-match-replay

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  5. My concern is that mood that is listed during hours normally used for sleeping.. assuming that less people are expressing their mood when asleep, the visualization does nothing to indicate the level of activity which is being visually compared to other time periods which I presume have great volume of activity.

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