Predicting Individual Well-Being Through the Language of Social Media

Predicting Individual Well-Being Through the Language of Social Media

By
Andrew Schwartz, Maarten Sap, Margaret L. Kern, Johannes C. Eichstaedt, Adam Kapelner, Megha Agrawal, Eduardo Blanco, Lukasz Dziurzynski, Gregory Park, David Stillwell, Michal Kosinski, Martin E.P. Seligman, Lyle H. Ungar
Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing.
2016

We present the task of predicting individual well-being, as measured by a life satisfaction scale, through the language people use on social media. Well-being, which encompasses much more than emotion and mood, is linked with good mental and physical health. The ability to quickly and accurately assess it can supplement multi-million dollar national surveys as well as promote whole body health. Through crowd-sourced ratings of tweets and Facebook status updates, we create message-level predictive models for multiple components of well-being. However, well-being is ultimately attributed to people, so we perform an additional evaluation at the user-level, finding that a multi-level cascaded model, using both message-level predictions and userlevel features, performs best and outperforms popular lexicon-based happiness models. Finally, we suggest that analyses of language go beyond prediction by identifying the language that characterizes well-being.