Facebook's happiness index app comes to the UK

Facebook - happy times
Facebook - happy times

Facebook has rolled out its happiness index application to include the state of people's emotions in the UK, Canada and Australia.

Originally a US-only project, the Gross National Happiness index looks at people's status updates and decides what days of the year we are at our highest and lowest emotionally.

The information mined isn't exactly, well, mind-blowing but it does show a correlation between holidays and 'event' days and how people who use the social network feel.

"Although there are differences between the nations' GNH graphs, they are more similar than they are different," says the Facebook blog.

"Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are amongst the happiest days across the board.

"Negativity is trending down over time for most nations, likely due to the changing demographics of Facebook users that now include more older people, and perhaps also due to the economic recovery."

Stat of play

Some Brit-specific information which the graph shows is that the UK was emotionally on a high on dates that coincided with the X Factor final (something that frankly depresses TechRadar) and when we had the first snow day last year.

Our depression seems to be linked with that of the world of celebrity, with Cheryl Cole announcing her split with Ashley Cole one of the UK's most negative days on Facebook.

At first glance, the Gross National Happiness index may seem throwaway. But for statisticians it's gold, as it makes public vast amounts of anonymous data from one of the biggest sites in the world.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.