Masdar Institute of Science and Technology’s project for the Telecom Italia Big Data and Trentino Open Data Challenge 2014 has been listed as one of the ten finalists.   Their submission, entitled “Misery Loves Company: Twitter Sentiment Reveals Assortative Mixing of Aggregate Happiness in Urban Communication Networks”, focused on looking at the correlations between users of social media and the feelings they expressed there, as well as the amount this had an impact on those around them.

From the findings, fascinatingly, it has emerged that both positive and negative emotions – when shared publicly – spread through social connections, who in turn can then spread these further.  The goal of the big data challenge was “to stimulate the creation and development of innovative technological ideas in the field of ‘Big Data’… [and] transform existing data sets into innovative final products such as applications and ‘infographics’.”

The ‘Misery Loves Company’ project opens up new doors of scientific exploration in the field of psychology on how emotions travel and are shared through social groups.  The connection between social circles and urban wellbeing, in the context of the urban communication structure, is another area of interest that this project has opened up for further research.  With the continuing evolution of big data analytics, we can expect to see more insights into this from big data challenges and competitions such as these.

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(Image Credit:  Eva Rinaldi)

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