IX.4 Pulse of the Nation

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Alan Mislove

Sune Lehmann

Yong-Yeol Ahn

Jukka-Pekka Onnela

James Niels Rosenquist

Conceived and created by computer scientists Alan Mislove and Sune Lehmann, network scientists Yong-Yeol Ahn and Jukka-Pekka Onnela, and psychiatrist and economist James Niels Rosenquist, this map makes a persuasive case for Twitter as a repository for our collective state of mind. Every second, up to tens of thousands of tweets are composed. Individually, each tweet is mostly interesting to friends or fans of the tweeter. But taken together, they add up to something more. Analogous to individual neurons firing together to add up to the human consciousness, these billions of tweets may constitute meaningful macro-states containing information about the system as a whole, rather than merely information about individual tweeters. This map studies the mood of over 300 million public tweets in the U.S. sent between September 2006 and August 2009. The sheer number of tweets is represented by a density-preserving cartogram—the true land area of states sized by the number of tweets. The mood of each tweet was inferred using ANEW (Affective Norms for English Words), an affective word list where individual words are rated for their emotional valence. Each state was then color-coded by its mood per hour, averaged over the three years. To witness the national mood rise and fall before your very eyes, view the time-lapse video of Pulse of the Nation at http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/amislove/twittermood.


Mislove, Alan, Sune Lehmann, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Jukka-Pekka Onnela, and James Niels Rosenquist. 2010. Pulse of the Nation. Boston, MA. Courtesy of JanysAnalytics. In “9th Iteration (2013): Science Maps Showing Trends and Dynamics,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Todd N. Theriault. http://scimaps.org.

Mislove, Alan, Sune Lehmann, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Jukka-Pekka Onnela, and James Niels Rosenquist. 2010. "Pulse of the Nation: U.S. Mood Throughout the Day Inferred from Twitter." Alan Mislove Home Page. Accessed December 5, 2013. http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/amislove/twittermood.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.