Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Gross National Happines Index

I have the Facebook blog subscribed on my Google Blogger account and found the most recent post really quite interesting. It talked about this new concept, the Gross National Happiness index (similar to the Gross National Product (or the better known Gross Domestic Product) index which is used to measure money that comes from a nation) which can be used to measure the happiness of people at different times in the year.

As you can see above, and through this link, it can plot the happiness of a nation (at the moment, only the USA has been recorded) through the year. It does this by recording how many positive and negative words are used in Facebook statuses; a list of words which have been compiled by 'social psychiatrists'. Also above, you can see that certain days give a spike of GNH, the biggest of which, remembering we're in the States here, is Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, New Year and Easter (I'm guessing from the word 'happy' being used in greetings...?). Similarly, there are big troughs in the graph, the biggest being the day the Asian stock market crashed and Heath Ledger died (again I'm guessing people were more sad about Ledger's death than the global economic crisis!) and the day Michael Jackson died.

I thought it was very interesting, even now I've discovered some flaws, and is worth a look at if you have a moment. Lets make the UK's GNH fly high...!