Where’s the Happiest State in the Union? Twitter May Hold the Answer

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Twitter Happiness Map

Where can you find happiness? In a bunch of different places, as this Twitter map shows.

Alex Davies, a doctoral student in machine learning at Cambridge University, created this map that fetches words with a happy connotations from Twitter and groups them together. It does the same with sad or negative ones. And surprises abound.

(More on TIME.com: See 140 accounts you should follow on Twitter)

New York, reports New York Magazine, is just the 16th happiest state in the U.S. But when NewsFeed checked the ranking again, it had moved up two places, to the 14th happiest. (One more reason to be happy?) Yet another surprise: Tennessee seemed to be the place where the happiest Tweeters live.

“Using a statistical model, we try to determine which tweets are happy and sad, and then look at the amount of happy and sad tweets for a given country.” writes Davies on the website. The positive and negative word clouds are displayed next to the maps.

But what happens around the world? Germany seems to be the place where most Twitter users express positive feelings. The Netherlands and Mexico follow close by, while the U.S. is just 4th.

This idea reminds NewsFeed of an art project called We Feel Fine, created by artist Johnathan Harris. Since 2005, We Feel Fine harvests the web for prhases that contain the word “I feel” and I am feeling” and displays information about how people feel, based on what they write. Feelings float on the screen and they are clickable.

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