CHARTS: How The Federal Budget Turned Australia Into The Angry Country On Twitter

Hundreds of ‘March in May’ protesters marched against the health, education and welfare cuts revealed in the federal budget last week. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

The chart below shows how the mood on Twitter changed at 7.30pm on Tuesday, May 13, when the federal budget was released.

The steep red line shows an extraordinary jump in the levels of anger expressed in tweets from Australia. The blue line, a more modest movement, is the day before.

And this chart shows a rise in sadness in the tone of tweets on budget night. It also shows a steep rise in sadness the night before at around the same time television news programs reported budget leaks about spending cuts and increased taxes.

Polls show this has been the worst-received budget in decades, with the widespread cuts to public spending affecting schools, hospitals, pensioners, the unemployed and the sick.

Black Dog Institute researchers created the above charts from a new tool developed by the CSIRO called ‘We Feel‘ which analyses the words from millions of tweets to display a real-time view of emotions as expressed on Twitter.

The tool will help understand how emotions fluctuate over time due to changes in social, economic and environmental factors such as weather, time of day, news of a natural disaster or announcements about the economy.

We Feel looks for up to 600 specific words in a stream of around 27 million tweets per day and maps them to a hierarchy of emotions which includes love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear.

Currently, mental health researchers and use population data which can be over five years old.

Professor Helen Christensen, Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute said:

“Should the real-time data gained using this incredible tool prove accurate, we will have the unique opportunity to monitor the emotional state of people across different geographical areas and ultimately predict when and where potentially life-saving services are required.”

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