In the digital age, happiness is also measured on social media platforms by analysing the number and size of people’s smiles. According to an Instagram-based study by Jetpac conducted on a global scale, Mauritians are somewhat down in the dumps, at least on the social media platform.
Jetpac is an app which historically measures public Instagram photos to spot the best cities where vacationers can have fun.
This time, the app went on a world trip to discern the happiest places, by investigating 150 million Instagram photos uploaded over the past 12 months from 124 countries.
“Jetpac’s image processing identifies faces in photos, and then looks at those faces to see if the person is smiling or not, based on the shape of the mouth. The larger the smile, the bigger the smile score,” explained Jetpac co-founder and CEO Julian Green.
Mauritius rounds the list of the top 10 African countries with a weak percentage of 14.6 while South Africa snags first place with a smile score of 31.5 out of 100.
On the world stage, the island pines at a gloomy 104th place. Hardly a surprise, Brazil – which exhibits an envious score of 60.5 – was named the happiest country on the planet.
“Brazilians apparently expose a lot of chests and, from the photos, take a lot of pleasure in beaches, dancing and football,” Green noted.
However, in the smiling stakes, Japan turned out to be stingy since it lies at the last place with a score of 4.1.
Interestingly, Thailand dubbed as ‘the Land of smiles’ only managed to snag the 42nd spot.
Another intriguing aspect, the countries which have high economic development rate do not rule the chart, which validates the adage saying that money does not make people happy.
The United States takes only the 33rd place in the chart also, largely eclipsed by Latin American states. Further, to spot the first European country on the list, you would need to zoom in on Macedonia at the 12th position.
Though the study is interesting, the subjective criteria that compile the ranking are open to question.
The penetration of Instagram in the countries picked for the study for instance is not equal. The photo-sharing network has faintly 200 million active users according to new figures made public this week and they are mostly concentrated in the West.
Other than this, the culture of each state dictates how and why people should smile. In many Asian societies, people are even discouraged to show their emotions.
“Measuring people’s smiles may not be perfect, but could be the best way we currently have to study people’s happiness,” the Jetpac CEO explained.
Though a smile may not be a strong indication on an individual’s level of happiness, remember the saying of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh – “sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Do not forget to smile today!
Source: Fast Company, Daily Mail UK