Down and out in Lewisham: third unhappiest borough

Big Bang Data © Morag Myerscough. Pic: Somerset House

Big Bang Data © Morag Myerscough. Pic: Somerset House

Residents of Lewisham are amongst the unhappiest people in London, according to a survey commissioned for an exhibition about the explosion in big data and the impact on our lives.

Big Bang Data opened at Somerset House, Strand in central London last year but the results from the survey were released last week.

The survey conducted for the London Situation Room, one of the highlights of the exhibition, and focusing on real time social media data collated from all over the capital, suggests that Lewisham is the third unhappiest borough, after Sutton and Enfield. Researchers set out to analyse the thoughts and feelings of Londoners via posts they had made to Twitter and Instagram.

A staff member interacts with a live social media map of London at the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House. Pic: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

The ‘Big Bang Data’ exhibition at Somerset House, London from 3 December to 20 March 2016. Pic: Somerset House

Tekja, the data visualization studio, gathered tweets from all 33 boroughs over a one-month period and analysed the words and hashtags used to decipher people’s feelings. Words associated with happiness were #christmas and #love and unhappy words were #davidbowie and #cbb (Celebrity Big Brother).

Not only was Lewisham the third unhappiest borough overall but it also topped the charts, as the unhappiest, at certain times of the day, namely between 6am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm. At the opposite end of the spectrum the happiest borough was found to be nearby Bexley, with Haringey and Redbridge second and third respectively.

Claire Catterall, Director of Exhibitions at Somerset House, commented on the findings: “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.”

Eastlondonlines took to the streets of Lewisham to see what local people thought:

One of the highlights of the London Situation Room is an interactive map where visitors can see in real time the most popular words being tweeted around London. It also shows where Instagram photos are being taken – giving a picture of the capital’s social media activity.

Taking place at Somerset House until March 20, Big Bang Data is made up of a number of works commissioned from multimedia artists from around the world. It is open daily 10am to 6pm, with tickets priced at £12.50 and £9.50 for concessions.

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