“Where does the word ‘hedonometer’ come from?” The economist Francis Edgeworth coined the term hedonometer in the late 1800’s to describe “an ideally perfect instrument, a psychophysical machine, continually registering the height of pleasure experienced by an individual.”
Happiness, it’s what most people say they want. So how do we know how happy people are? You can’t improve or understand what you can’t measure. In a blow to happiness, we’re very good at measuring economic indices and this means we tend to focus on them. With hedonometer.org we’ve created an instrument that measures the happiness of large populations in real time.
Our hedonometer is based on people’s online expressions, capitalizing on data-rich social media, and we’re measuring how people present themselves to the outside world. For our first version of hedonometer.org, we’re using Twitter as a source but in principle we can expand to any data source in any language (more below). We’ll also be adding an API soon. So this is just a start — we invite you to explore the Twitter time series and let us know what you think.