student life

What were the happiest cities on results day?

For most 17 and 18 year olds, last Thursday was probably the scariest day of their lives: dreaded A-level results day.

For most 17 and 18 year olds, last Thursday was probably the scariest day of their lives: dreaded A-level results day. Having been there myself, I know how nerve-rackingly important that day seems with some students feeling elated while others are disappointed. However, a recent study has been able to calculate the happiest and unhappiest cities in UK following those results. 
 
The Upbeat Barometer revealed that students from Bristol, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Glasgow were among the happiest with their results. 
 
How does it work?
 
It’s quite a simple method actually. Twitter plays the key role. 
 
As most students took to Social Media to express their delight, the researchers at Upbeat, searched through a selection of tweets looking for common words related to A–level results. From that they found the location of the students. The Barometer also acts as a ‘happiness index’ revealing the moods of students and how happy or unhappy they are with their results. 
 
Each city analysed then gets given a sentiment scoring out of 100, giving them a rank in the table. So simply from the tweets sent on that Thursday, Upbeat analysed and found the happiest and unhappiest cities in the UK. 
 
The Results
 
Of the 15 cities included, as I mentioned the happiest were Bristol, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Glasgow with a score of 100/100. Meaning all the tweets analysed were happy.
 
However the unhappiest students were from Sheffield and Edinburgh scoring only 5/100 for sentiment. But does that mean these are the cities with students that didn’t perform as well in their A-level’s? 
 
The table below shows the 15 cities analysed:
Rank City Sentiment Score
1 Bristol 100
=1 Liverpool 100
=1 Middlesborough 100
=1 Glasgow 100
2 Manchester 55
=2 Leeds 55
3 Belfast 43
4 Norwich 42
5 Newcastle 41
6 Birmingham 40
=6 London 40
7 Nottingham 38
8 Cardiff 30
9 Sheffield 5
=9 Edinburgh 5
The Barometer also found that males were happier than females with results with an average sentiment score of 55 to 46. 
 
The Flaws
 
As clever and interesting as the Upbeat Barometer is, there are some flaws to be found. 
 
Firstly, there is no guarantee that they didn’t pick only happy tweets to represent Bristol and Middlesbrough and the opposite for Sheffield and Edinburgh. Collating a “representative sample” of British tweets could be difficult to make truly representative. 
 
There could have been more tweets from boys analysed rather than girls which therefore gave them a higher sentiment scoring. Perhaps boys generally tweet more than girls anyway. Again, more of the happy tweets could have been picked here as well. 
 
The Positives
 
The Upbeat Barometer is still a clever and interesting method to determine the happiest cities in the UK following A-level results. 
 
The idea of using an online social networking site to analyse happiness shows the development in technology. Whereas before you would have needed to go out to colleges and ask for opinions, nowadays there is no longer a need for this.
 
This Barometer shows how easy it has become to judge people’s feelings. Who knows what other studies can be done using social media. 
 
[Image: City of Stoke on Trent Sixth Form]
 
What do you think? Are the results a true reflection of the “happiest” cities? What do you think about the method used?