January 10, 2015 4:46 pm
Updated: January 10, 2015 7:47 pm

Edmonton is the saddest Canadian city on Twitter: study

Research from the University of Ottawa suggests Edmonton is the "least happy" city on Twitter, of the six major cities studied.

File, Timur Emek, The Canadian Press
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EDMONTON — New research out of the University of Ottawa suggests Edmonton is the “least happy” Canadian city on Twitter.

Researchers compiled data from six major Canadian cities: Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax. The research looked at 132,181 tweets from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10, 2014.

The team used emoticons and hashtags to collect the data. They categorized 47 different “emotion-word hashtags,” like #angry, #happy and #disgusted, as well as their relationship to the other words in the tweet.

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The team’s findings showed Edmonton is the least happy of the six cities studied, with most cities surpassing the “proportion of happy tweets in Edmonton” by five to 12 per cent.

While it’s not known exactly why Edmonton is the so-called saddest city, the lead researcher, Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, has said falling oil prices and a losing hockey team may be contributing factors.

“Twitter is rich with emotional content,” said Abdulmotaleb El Saddik, a professor at the Faculty of Engineering who led the study. “It has been used successfully in studies about disasters and emergencies, to monitor public health as well as in exploring events and, more recently, in sentiment and emotion analysis.”

“Social networks have been shown to provide more reliable information than traditional and time-consuming data collection methods like questionnaires. Think of it as implicit feedback,” added Benjamin Guthier, a researcher at the university’s Multimedia Communications Research Laboratory.

While it didn’t fall in the research time frame, many Edmontonians may remember back to March 2014 when #SadDonIveson was trending on Twitter following disappointing news about LRT funding in the Alberta budget.

Watch below: #SadDonIveson trends on Twitter

READ MORE: Iveson disappointed with lack of direct LRT funding in provincial budget

The University of Ottawa research also found the following:

  • When the Montreal Canadiens beat the Vancouver Canucks in early December, Montrealers’ happy tweets were 69 per cent higher relative to those by their western counterparts.
  • Halifax is Canada’s party city, with happy tweets on Friday evening and the weekend 17 per cent higher relative to those posted by Vancouver residents during the same time.
  • Positive tweets were 13.8 per cent higher in the morning in Vancouver and Montreal compared to Edmonton, while Ottawa (7.8 per cent higher than Edmonton) and Toronto (8.6 per cent higher than Edmonton) take over during the day.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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