A graphic posted on Facebook Thursday morning.
ALBANY, Ga. — Using a sophisticated ranking system analyzing a bank of more than 10,000 words, a new study delves into Twitter use, ranking cities based on the words its residents tweet to determine the “happiest” and “saddest” in the country.
Napa, Calif. was the “happiest” city on the list, based on words that researchers deemed to be positive or happy. Beaumont, Texas, was the “saddest,” based on tweets containing words deemed to be negative.
Albany cracked the list as the No. 2 saddest city with the nearest other city, Dothan, Ala., coming in at No. 15.
Speaking to U.S. Today, Beaumont, Texas, officials naturally disagreed with the survey saying that judging an entire city’s happiness based on twitter alone is far from fair, given that, on average, only 15 percent of a city’s population is on twitter with that mostly limited to younger generations.
“Overall, only a small share of society is tweeting, therefore we disagree with the findings of this study, as it is not a true representation of Beaumont,” said Dean Conwell, executive director of the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau, in an e-mail published by U.S. Today. “We invite everyone to visit Beaumont and experience all the happiness we have to share, including our #unicorns, #kittens, and #rainbows.”
Similarly, people in Albany have informally launched a positivity campaign, with the Albany Downtown Manager’s Office posting a smiley face graphic on Facebook Thursday with the hashtags #albanyGA, #dtownAlbanyGA, #happy and #smile.
It’s a part of a pro-Albany and pro-Southwest Georgia push under way by local political and business groups.
Downtown Manager Aaron Blair said Thursday that the city has plenty of issues and life in Albany isn’t easy, but that he’s observed that people who have lived outside of Albany before moving here, often have a different perspective.
“I think there is some validity to some of the complaints, but I also think that it’s a perception thing,” Blair said. “Outsiders who have been around the country and moved here sometimes see things a little differently than people who have lived here all of there lives; I guess its sometimes easier to see the brighter side like the low cost of living and other benefits of rural living.”
Before the study was released Wednesday, Albany Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Cynthia George told the audience at the 103rd annual Chamber banquet that people must focus on talking up Albany’s advantages rather than harping on its challenges.
“We have to be optimistic about our community. We must talk up our community. We are absolutely the best advertisement for our town,” she told the crowd.
Commenters to both The Herald’s website and Facebook page weren’t so optimistic. Most of the comments focused on crime issues, what some pointed out as a lack of leadership in government and education.
“I can believe it. It’s depressing here,” one poster commented.
“This should be a LOUD and CLEAR message to our School Board and Commissioners. Even though I agree that a whole city should not be judged by Tweets, the survey does reflect a specific section’s mood of the community,” poster B4IT commented at Albanyherald.com
“For the entire community to feel good, it takes much more than just positive statements on the Internet and in the newspaper for what are some of the positives in the area. The issue is for the elected leaders to take prompt action when the community has been telling them for several years there are problems (e.g. voting issues and poor leadership on the School Board and in the School Administration, lack of leadership to address budget issues by the City and County Commissioners, racial statements by City Commissioner Postell and nothing is said about it by the mayor). Fortunately, the School Board has finally taken some action, but it took the State to get involved for them to do it.”
In terms of states, Hawaii topped the list of happiest states with Georgia ranked 47th.