By combining tweet data with telecommunications data, researchers at MIT and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi discovered that, in Milan, happy neighborhoods talk to happy neighborhoods; and unhappy neighborhoods talk to other unhappy neighborhoods. They published their results in the journal EPJ Data Science in an article entitled “Misery loves company: happiness and communication in the city“.
In response to Telecom Italia’s Big Data Challenge, Aamena Alshamsi, Edmond Awad, Maryam Almehrezi, Vahan Babuskin, Pai-Ju Chang, Zakariyah Shoroye, Attila-Péter Tóth, and Iyad Rahwan first analyzed the communications patterns among Milan neighborhoods, and then collated those data with sentiment data derived from tweets from those neighborhoods. Using various algorithms, they were able to plot both the communication density between neighborhoods and the happiness sentiments of those neighborhoods. And not only did they find that happy neighborhoods tended to talk to other happy neighborhoods (and likewise less happy neighborhoods with less happy neighborhoods) but also that smaller communities are happier than larger ones.
Looking toward further developments, the authors say,
We have taken a first step towards understanding the interplay between communication and happiness in urban areas at a high resolution. We found evidence of assortative mixing (homophily) in communication between different urban areas based on their happiness level. We also found that the mean of happiness seems to vary with community size, where community is defined in terms of communication structure.
You can read the entire article here.