‘Tis the Season to Be ThankFML

As we all prepare for the arrival of the Great Turkey, it’s a heartwarming time to turn to social media and see just how empty and meaningless our collective existence seems to be.

Or that’s how one usually ends up, after spending the day data mining in the Pits of Despair. Some folks refer to this process as “reading random people’s tweets.”

We aren’t as thankful as expected. Turns out, we’re a lot more likely to report our lives as being fucked than we are to give a shoutout of appreciation.

Strangest thing of all? While “thankful” does swing up as we approach Thanksgiving, the uptick that “FML” (Fuck My Life) enjoys at the same time completely drowns out whatever optimism we may have had going into things.

Percentage of total tweets per day. #Thankfull (green) is dwarfed by #FuckMyLife (red). It also looks like a city skyline.
Percentage of total tweets per day. #Thankfull (green) is dwarfed by #FuckMyLife (red). It also looks like a city skyline.

You can see this instantly when you look at the gawdawful red abomination that is the Percentage of Total Tweets Per Day window (best. name. ever.). It’s full of red because thankful barely sniffs hitting the 50% mark due to the greater volume of FML tweets sent.

In the interest of full disclosure, The Red Shtick would like to apologize for one corner cut in the process of generating this data: Because there are simply far too many tweets using thankful or FML, we used close stand-ins: “thankfull,” which has the added bonus of measuring relative levels of stupid folks within the Twitterverse, and the unabbreviated version of FML.

Daily levels for #Thankfull (green) and #FuckMyLife (red). We're not responsible for ant depressing insights into the human psyche. Note the logarithmic scale.
Daily levels for #Thankfull (green) and #FuckMyLife (red). We’re not responsible for ant depressing insights into the human psyche. Note the logarithmic scale. Ponder.

We like using the fully spelled-out version of FML for two reasons: First, it captures folks who truly commit. There’s nothing “future employer friendly” about dropping an F-bomb in a tweet. Second, it shows that while your life might suck, you still maintain a strong work ethic. No abbvs. for this poor suffering soul.

Lastly, there was a final data point gathered: tweets that mention BOTH thankful and FML. Luckily, there aren’t too many of these (we might truly begin to question whether any hope remains for mankind if this had turned out otherwise), but their existence amuses us. May it amuse you.

To see these tweets, just use the drop-down menus on our tool. You can choose other months, which hashtags you look at, etc.

Oh, and if you notice that our thankful/FML data extends into the future, don’t worry: We don’t know who wins the Super Bowl. That data actually dates back to 2012, as we have basically one entire year’s worth of tweets mentioning both FML and thankful.

Enjoy!RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Jared Kendall

Jared Kendall
A freelance data journalist and father of two, Jared Kendall has been using comedy as a coping mechanism his entire life. Born a Yankee, Jared's twenty-year stint in Baton Rouge still leaves him with one question: "Why'd I move here, again?"

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