I’m intrigued by Facebook’s “sentiment engine,” the United States Gross National Happiness application that tracks the happiness of Facebook users based on the words used in their updates – words like “happy” or “awesome” or “sad” or “tragic.”
CNET reports that it covers only English-using United States-based members, but that is likely to change.
I think I remember reading elsewhere that people tend to emphasize the positive in status updates, which is quite interesting, if true.
The larger question of how social media — like email, texting, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. — plays into our happiness is one of the big new questions in happiness. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous boon and connector of people. On the other hand, it can be a crushing weight that feels inescapable. I’m firmly in the social-media-makes-us-happier camp myself, but I understand the counter-arguments.
* If you’re interested in the creative process for writers, check out novelist Christina Baker Kline’s blog, A Writing Life. Lots of fascinating material there from many different writers. Kline’s great new novel, Bird In Hand, just came out.
* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.