Hack My Mood: New Tool Maps Mental Health Using Tweets

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Having insight into one’s moods can be difficult. For people who struggle with anxiety or depression, the ability to do so might make the difference in being well. At the Disrupt Hackathon over the weekend, programmer Allison Nelson debuted Hack My Mood, a tool that analyzes a person’s tweets and maps their mood against external factors like weather.

The idea is that people who take an interest in their mental health may be reluctant to keep a mood journal, but using Hack My Mood, they can now gain insights into their psychology using the small, diary-like entries we choose to share everyday — our social media posts.

The tool uses the IBM Watson-Alchemy API to create a chart that shows fluctuations in positive and negative emotions. The data is then cross-referenced with seasonal data from the Weather Underground.   

According to Tech Crunch:

After comparing it with data from Weather Underground, [Nelson] found that her tweets often became more negative when the temperature was cold. This can help people with seasonal affective disorder anticipate which specific climate conditions will impact their mood, which is important because patterns are sometimes counterintuitive (as in the case of reverse SAD, when people feel worse in summer).

It will be interesting to see where this technology will take us. While weather is perhaps one interesting influence on mood, it is surely not the total decider of moodiness. One can think of other data sets that might pair well with Hack My Mood. Instagram photos, for example. Was the hike you photographed truly fun, or did your tweets say differently?

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