Hack Day Winner, HappyStance, Reveals Mood Of Subway Riders

12/13/2011 01:03 pm ET | Updated Dec 13, 2011

Happy to be riding the subway? As with most things these days, there's an app that already knew that.

Introducing HappyStance, the winner of TimesOpen: Hack Day, a wonderfully nerdy event hosted by the Grey Lady herself to promote technology enthusiasts and empower engineers.

HappyStance uses a "mashup of Twitter geo-location API data and sentiment analysis research" to collect simple emoticons :) and :( to determine the emotional health of the city's subway system.

The team behind the app, Jeff Larson, Al Shaw, and Julian Burgess, opened up to The Village Voice to discuss the results:

Across the board the tweets are happier -- when you're happy about something, you tweet about it more. But the anomalies are fun. The subway stops around Port Authority were not so happy. The subway stops around Yankee Stadium were the happiest; maybe there was something going on that Saturday.

While none of the results were scientifically sound, Larson said such findings are commonly used for market research purposes.

The Times seems to have a thing for those trendy emoticons, as they recently investigated the social science behind their widespread usage. Discoveries include:

Emoticons can produce another layer of confusion, however: they don't always read the same way across different technical interfaces...Students of digital communication see the emerging acceptance of whimsical signifiers as inevitable, if not always desirable.

As recently as last week, they dug even deeper into the emoticon fad with a post titled, "What New Emoticons Does The World Need?"

How happy do you think your subway stop is? Let us know below and check out the app here!

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