Study shows Times Square is a center for positive tweets in the city

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8/24/2013

By Ivan Pereira and Morgan Ribera

The crossroads of the world might be considered the most overrated spot among New Yorkers but it is also the city’s center of Twitter happiness, according to a report released this week.

A yearlong study by the New England Complex Systems Institute analyzed more than 600,000 tweets and determined that positive sentiment increased the closer tweeters were to Times Square.

Yaneer Bar-Yam, the head writer of the report, said that even though the area gets a bad rap from natives, Times Square still has a magical appeal for everyone.

“From the tourists to regular New Yorkers, it just is an exciting area and elicits a lot of positive comments,” he said.

Bar-Yam and his team examined tweets that were posted in the five boroughs over a two-week period last year, and looked at the text and emoticons to come up with a formula for positive and negative tweets.

Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said one didn’t need a math equation to show how people feel about Times Square.

The area was designed to entertain visitors in a variety of ways and its energy can’t be found anywhere else, even in the nearby blocks, according to Tompkins.

“When you’re in the middle of it, it is a blaze of light, and when you go somewhere else it seems naturally darker,” he said.

Tompkins added that native New Yorkers are probably the ones who tweet the most about Times Square, because it serves as a central hub for fun nights out.

“You go to a huge movie theater or Broadway show so when you tweet you’ll say how amazing it is,” he said.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street and Rikers Island had a high number of negative tweets.

But the location that took the top spot was Maspeth Creek.

“This area was the site of the largest oil spill in the country and now contains a 15-foot-thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed ‘black mayonnaise,'” the report said.

Bar-Yam cautioned, however, that the data constantly adapts depending on time and other uncontrollable factors.

“One of our most negative places was Hunter College High School. It turns out we collected data the day they returned from vacation,” he said.

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Tweet science

Researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute came up with an extensive mathematical process to determine tweets with positive sentiments.
The researchers checked out 600,000 tweets and examined them for emoticons. Smiles, hearts and tongues sticking out represented positive tweets while frowns represented negative.

The team went through the actual tweets and examined them to ensure they were positive before coming up with a mathematical formula to determine the correlation between tone and area.

Happy Spaces

Other areas that had strong Twitter sentiment
— Central Park
— Astoria Park
— New York Botanical Garden
— Brooklyn Bridge
— Penn Station
— JFK Airport

 

This entry was posted on Monday, August 26th, 2013 at 5:33 pm and is filed under amNewYork, Feature, Fun, Print Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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