Fun fact: Research has shown that Facebook can actually make you happy (or rather, that the emotions your friends share in their Facebook posts might actually have a measurable effect on the emotions expressed in your own status updates). Curious about who might be boosting your mood and who might be your very own personal Debbie Downer? There’s a tool that will tell you.
This little creation cooked up by TIME does a little word analysis and number crunching to determine how your friends rank on the happiness scale — at least according to their Facebook posts. First, it selects mutual friends, who you appear with in photos, and whose posts you click “like” for most often. Once it’s compiled this list, it analyzes the posting behavior of the top 25 friends for positivity and negativity: Each word in every status is compared to extensive lists of positive words and negative ones; then an overall score is determined based on the percentage of positive posts as opposed to negative ones. Oh, and don’t worry — the app won’t post anything to your timeline without your permission or save any of its data.
I’m not going to name names (just because I write on the Internet for a living doesn’t mean my friends automatically volunteer themselves as Tribute to be written about), but I will say that the list made a certain amount of sense: My friends with the sunniest dispositions top the list with scores in the 80s and 90s, while those who tend to be a little darker in their outlook hover at the bottom, mostly in the 60s. As for myself? Apparently I sit on the lower end of things:
So, um… sorry to anyone I’ve caused to be in a bad mood? Or something?
Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind the fact that the results are likely to be a little skewed; for example, the app discards people who have written fewer than 10 status updates in the past year or whose privacy settings hide their posts from apps. There’s also no accounting for, say, people who are generally pretty happy, but like to bitch on Facebook as their primary outlet for frustration, or for those who use a lot of sarcasm. I’m not overly active on Facebook myself — it’s only recently that I’ve started posting on a regular basis, and for many years the only photos of me that existed on the site were taken and uploaded by other people. So, y’know… there’s that.
As always, take it with a grain of salt — but regardless of the outcome, it couldn’t hurt any of us to try to be a little more positive in general, right?