Bloomberg News

Twitter Posts Show Workers Worldwide are Stressed out on the Job

September 29, 2011

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Need proof that your job stresses you out? It’s in your Twitter feed.

Workers worldwide wake up happy, then lose that good mood once their jobs begin, according to a two-year review of Twitter posts by 2.4 million people in 84 countries released today in the journal Science.

While scientists have long known that work, sleep and sunshine can affect emotions, the study is among the first to mine social-media for real-time evidence of the connections, said researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The universe of people using social-networking sites such as those run by Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. will almost double to 1.85 billion by 2015, according to research firm IDC, ushering in a new era of Internet-based study of human behavior.

“Twitter almost records everything that happens in life,” said Scott Golder, the lead study author and a graduate student in sociology at Cornell, in an interview. “Mundane, inconsequential, and conversational tweets are a massive archive of digital traces.”

San Francisco-based Twitter, with more than 100 million users worldwide, is a micro-blogging service that lets people post 140-character messages online. The updates are time- stamped, offering a rich trove of data, Golder said.

Today’s study used text-analysis software to track mood fluctuations in the Twitter posts. Messages in the early morning and late evenings were most likely to contain happier words such as “awesome,” “super” and “fantastic,” Golder said. During the workday, missives tended to be peppered with negative language including “panic” and “fear.”

U.S. workers spend an average of 62 minutes each day using social media for personal reasons, compared with 37 minutes for business purposes, according to a survey conducted in July by the Ponemon Institute.

--Editors: Lisa Rapaport, Christian Nicholson

To contact the reporter on this story: Xu Wang in New York at xwang206@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at


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