- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A team of U.S. scientists have discovered that the day of the Boston Marathon bombings was the saddest day Twitter had seen in five years, according to a financial-style graph the team calls a “happiness index.”

The hedonometer gathers over 50 million tweets from around the world each day and analyzes for “happy,” “sad” and “neutral” word content, The Daily Mail reports.

“Reporters, policymakers, academics, anyone, can come to the site and see population-level responses to major events,’ said Dr. Chris Danforth, from the University of Vermont, co-developer of the hedonometer.

A dramatic hedonometer dip can be seen on Monday, April 15, the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, and it turns out to be the saddest day since the scientists started gathering their data five years ago, The Daily Mail reports.

“Many of the articles written in response to the bombing have quoted individual tweets reflecting qualitative micro-stories,” Dr. Danforth said.

Trending words such as “explosion,” “victims” and “kill” pushed the hedonometer down to its lowest ever level .Positively scored words such as “prayers” and “families” also spiked, but not for positive reasons, The Daily Mail reports.

“If we remove ‘prayers’, ‘love’, and ‘families’ it’s not going to change the day’s overall deviation from the background because of all the other words,” Dr. Danforth said.

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