Between conjecture and memento: shaping a collective emotional perception of the future

Alberto Pepe and Johan Bollen
Arxiv ID: 801.3864Last updated: 1/28/2008
Large scale surveys of public mood are costly and often impractical to perform. However, the web is awash with material indicative of public mood such as blogs, emails, and web queries. Inexpensive content analysis on such extensive corpora can be used to assess public mood fluctuations. The work presented here is concerned with the analysis of the public mood towards the future. Using an extension of the Profile of Mood States questionnaire, we have extracted mood indicators from 10,741 emails submitted in 2006 to futureme.org, a web service that allows its users to send themselves emails to be delivered at a later date. Our results indicate long-term optimism toward the future, but medium-term apprehension and confusion.

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