Talk of the City: Our Tweets, Our Community Happiness
The literature of urban sociology and that of psychology have separately established two relationships: the first has linked characteristics of a community to its residents’ well-being, the second has linked well-being of individuals to their use of words. No one has hitherto explored the potential transitive relationship - that between characteristics of a community and its residents' use of words. We test this relationship by performing three steps. We consider Twitter users in a variety of London census communities; extract the subject matter of their tweets using "topic models"; and study the relationship between topics and community socio-economic well-being. We find that certain topics are correlated (positively and negatively) with community deprivation. Users in more deprived community tweet about wedding parties, matters expressed in Spanish/Portuguese, and celebrity gossips. By contrast, those in less deprived communities tweet about vacations, professional use of social media, environmental issues, sports, and health issues. We finally show that monitoring the subject matter of tweets not only offers insights into community well-being, but it is also a reasonable way of predicting community deprivation scores.