The Happiness Project

Facebook Has a Gross National Happiness Index

I’m intrigued by Facebook’s new “sentiment engine,” the United States Gross National Happiness application that tracks the happiness of Facebook users based on the words used in their updates—words like “happy” or “awesome” or “sad” or “tragic.”

CNET reports that it covers only English-using, United States-based members, but that is likely to change.


I think I remember reading elsewhere that people tend to emphasize the positive in status updates, which is quite interesting, if true.

The larger question of how social media—like e-mail, texting, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.—plays into our happiness is one of the big new questions in happiness. On the one hand, it’s a tremendous boon and connector of people. On the other hand, it can be a crushing weight that feels inescapable. I’m firmly in the social-media-makes-us-happier camp myself, but I understand the counterarguments.

* If you’re interested in the creative process for writers, check out novelist Christina Baker Kline’s blog, A Writing Life . Lots of fascinating material there from many different writers. Kline’s great new novel, Bird in Hand , just came out .

* Interested in starting your own happiness project? If you’d like to take a look at my personal Resolutions Chart, for inspiration, just email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com . (Sorry about writing it in that roundabout way; I’m trying to thwart spammers.) Just write “Resolutions Chart” in the subject line.