Twitter data analysis reveals the happiest and saddest London boroughs

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Amy Swales
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Londoners can have a love-hate relationship with the city: one moment, sandwiched between businessmen with questionable hygiene on a delayed morning train, and another, sipping a glass of wine at 5pm on a summer's eve surrounded by world-famous landmarks and feeling like there's nowhere better.

Now new figures taken from analysis of a staggering 1.5 million tweets have revealed not only where in the capital people appear to be happiest and saddest, but when.

The research, commissioned by Somerset House's Big Bang Data exhibition, points to Bexley as the place people (or Twitter users with their location turned on at least) are happiest, followed by Haringey and Redbridge.

The residents of Sutton however will no doubt be (further) dismayed to learn that their borough is the unhappiest in London, followed by Enfield and Lewisham.

However, the analysis also found that positivity fluctuates around the capital over the course of the day, so waking up in Wandsworth, breakfasting in Barking and Dagenham, having lunch in the City, followed by an afternoon stroll through Bexley before sitting down to dinner in Haringey should see you right.

Meanwhile, afternoon tea in Lewisham should be avoided, and fans of Celebrity Big Brother and Liverpool F.C. didn't fare too well either. The results of the research can be seen in full below.

A data visualisation studio gathered information from tweets across all 33 boroughs between 15 December 2015 and 14 January 2016, determining the sentiment of a message by checking words against a list of 2,500 rated on a sliding scale as positive or negative.

Claire Catterall, Director of Exhibitions at Somerset House, commented: “It is interesting that it is the outer boroughs which all take the top spots at both ends of the happiness scale.

“Before we analysed the data, one might have assumed that people would be posting the happiest tweets from the top attractions of London in the centre of the city. But with the likes of Bexley and Redbridge, you have the bright lights of London only a few miles away, but also a distinctly countryside feel too.

“It seems like in order to be truly happy in London, you need to experience the best of both worlds.”

A live, constantly updating social media map of London, drawing from Twitter, Instagram and Transport for London, is on display at the Big Bang Data exhibition, showing the most popular words being tweeted around the capital.

Big Bang Data runs until 20 March 2016 and tickets are available here.

The happiest boroughs of London

1. Bexley

2. Haringey

3. Redbridge

The unhappiest boroughs of London

1. Sutton

2. Enfield

3. Lewisham

The happiest boroughs of London on average throughout the day

Night (12am-6am): Wandsworth

Morning (6am-12pm): Barking and Dagenham

Lunchtime (12pm-2pm): City of London

Afternoon (2pm-6pm): Bexley

Evening (6pm-12am): Haringey

The unhappiest boroughs of London on average throughout the day

Night (12am-6am): Sutton

Morning (6am-12pm): Lewisham

Lunchtime (12-2pm): Ealing

Afternoon (2-6pm): Lewisham

Evening (6pm-12am): Hackney

Main topics associated with happiness in all 33 London boroughs

1. #christmas

2. #happynewyear

3. #love

Main topics associated with unhappiness in all 33 London boroughs

1. #cbb (Celebrity Big Brother)

2. #lfc (Liverpool Football Club)

3. #davidbowie


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.