People with similar levels of happiness tweet together

Updated: Mar 15, 2011, 12:21 PM IST

London: Scientists have found that happier people tend to tweet together, as do people who are less happy, with few tweets linking the happy and the unhappy.

They made the conclusion after studying millions of tweets on the micro- blogging service Twitter, reports New Scientist.

For the study, Psychologist Johan Bollen of the University of Indiana and colleagues tracked 102,000 Twitter users over six months, analysing the 140-character-or-less text from 129 million of their tweets with standard techniques from psychology.

Specifically, they measured the emotional content of the tweets as reflected in the presence of positive or negative words from a lexicon previously established by psychologists.

From this they could assess the "subjective well-being" of the users through their tweets.

The researchers indeed found that happier people—those recording a high subjective well being—tended to be tweeting and receiving tweets from people who were also happier. The same was true for those who were less happy.

"It turns out that Twitter users are preferentially linked to those with whom they share a similar level of general happiness," said Bollen.

He admitted they don``t yet know why this is true. Happy or unhappy people may simply seek one another out, drawn by tweets expressing emotions similar to their own.

Bollen suggested it could be that the emotions expressed even in short tweets have an infectious quality, lifting peoples`` spirits or filling them with gloom, depending on what they read.