London, April 27 : Warm, sunny days trigger happier posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while cold, wet and humid surroundings generally spoil the mood, leading to less frequent social media outings, an interesting research has revealed.
Based on the analysis of billions of Twitter and Facebook posts, the team of scientists has shown that we prefer warm, sunny days rather than days which are cold and wet.
"Our study is the first to observe and measure the relationship between good weather and frame of mind using billions of posts on Twitter and Facebook in 75 metropolitan areas of the US," said Esteban Moro, Professor in the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) in Spain.
To examine the association between weather conditions and expressed sentiments, the authors gathered 2.4 billion posts from Facebook and 1.1 billion from Twitter between the years 2009 and 2016.
They analysed the sentiment for each post using a special tool that categorises posts based on keywords as positive or negative.
To do this, they took account of the number of positive and negative words shared in the users' posts and compared the results with the daily meteorological data for each location.
"Adverse weather conditions -- hot and cold temperatures, precipitation, added humidity, and increased cloud cover -- reduce the sentiment of human expressions across billions of social media posts drawn from millions of US residents", said Nick Obradovich from the MIT Media Lab.
The study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, was carried out by researchers from UC3M in collaboration with the National Scientific Agency of Australia CSIRO; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE); University of California in San Diego (USA); Monash University (Australia) and Stanford University (USA).
"The size of this effect is so significant that it could be placed in the same order of magnitude as the change of mood that occurs on social networks following events such as the earthquake in California in August 2014 or the San Bernardino shooting of December 2015," Moro said.
The results could be used to anticipate what the effect of tomorrow's weather will be on people's frame of mind and, thus, to modify advertising campaigns, for example.
It could also enable content providers to publish news in accordance with the emotional state of their audience or certain personal assistance systems, such as Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri, to use this data in order to better tailor their messages to the needs of the user.
"Not to mention that if weather conditions worsen in the future, it may mean that our mood will also worsen," the authors noted.