Twitter Has Turned Us All Into Whiny Brats

fail whale on twitterWay back when, if you were having a crappy day, you'd turn to a journal to vent. Or your best friend. You might even write a note or a letter to someone. But broadcast your problems to millions of people publicly? Helllllls no! Yet, in the last three years, I'd venture to guess the number of folks logging onto their Facebook or Twitter accounts and kvetching the hours away has grown astronomically! To me, that's the only explanation for why a new study published in the Public Library of Science’s journal claims our global happiness is in the dumps  ... at least according to what we tweet.

The researchers tracked more than 63 million Twitter users over a three-year period beginning September 2008, categorizing over 46 billion words with particular emotional meaning. Words were assigned "happiness" ratings, e.g. "food" was 7.44, while "terrorist" just 1.3. What they found is that most of the time, we're crying ourselves a river on Twitter. Boooo hooooo!

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And to that I say ... quit your whining, world!

See, what I think is going on here is that we were whiny and neurotic and depressed before September 2008, but not so many of us felt compelled to tell the rest of the world that we lost our keys today or can't stand those Occupy protesters, before punctuating the complaint with a hashtag. But in the past three years, more and more of us have found it's socially acceptable to make our gripes public, and thus, the results of the Twitter study.

Even if things are that bad, is Twitter really the place we should gravitate to to express our negative emotions? Pfft, no. Sure, sometimes all that whining leads to action -- like in the cases of the Arab Spring and Occupy movements -- but that only seems to be the case when we take a break from all this tweeting and status updating to do something about whatever's irking us. Maybe the best solution to this depressing Twitter news is to stop griping online and start doing what we can to live our best life ... offline.

Do you use Twitter or Facebook to whine or complain about your crappy days?

 

Image via playerx/Flickr

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