Categories
Around the world

Finland has been voted happiest country on Earth

Happy emojis
Image: lefym Turkin, iStock

The Happiness Report declared Finland the happiest country on Earth.

Over the past decade, the Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, have ranked in the top ten.

Finland has been ranked the happiest country for the fifth year in a row.

Finland has strong social safety net

Why the top ranking? Happiness expert and researcher, Frank Martela credited Finland’s social safety net:

Nordic countries tend to be countries where there are [good] unemployment benefits, pensions and other benefits.

Frank Martela as quoted by Hareem Khan, SBS “Why Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world for the fifth year running, 25 October 2022

Finland is often lauded for its education system. In 2018, The World Economic Forum gave the following reasons:

  • There is no standardised testing. There are voluntary tests when a student enters their senior year
  • Egalitarian education that focuses on the basics
  • Students are given more post- high school options. Senior students can study for three years in order to take the Matriculation Test, which gets them ready for University. There are also trade school options.
  • Students start school later, usually between 9 – 9.45am
  • Students often have the same teachers, sometimes for six years.

The Finnish education system seems far superior to the Australian, US and British systems. Maybe we can learn something from them (no pun intended).

The irony: happiest place on Earth… yet melancholic?

Helsinki skyline boat view,Finnish flag ( white background with blue cross
Image: diegograndi, iStock

The irony about Finland being ranked the happiest country on Earth is that Finnish culture is seen as melancholic. In fact, Finns aren’t happy with the label of happiest country in the world.

Compared to the US, Finns don’t make a habit of expressing emotions, either happy or sad.

Finnish ballerina, Minna Tervamäki has described Finns as “content”, rather than happy.

Finland vs US, UK and Australia

From what I can gather, I think there is a contrast in how Finns view happiness than what Australians, Brits and Americans do.

Finns are quite stoic, rather than emotive. They are less likely to outwardly express feelings like sadness and anger.

Similarly, Finns don’t necessarily express happiness outwardly. either. They don’t smile at strangers, like someone in Australia or the US might.

Egalitarianism is more important than endless wealth

Finland is very egalitarian. In contrast, other Western countries are very competition – focused. Also, happiness and well – being does not mean endless toxic positivity. Sometimes melancholy is OK. Some reservation is OK.

‘Happiest country’ means best welfare of citizens

How is the happiness of a country determined? Since 2002, the World Happiness Report has published data and ranks 149 countries by comparing them to a fictional Dystopia.

There are six performance categories that are measured:

  • Gross domestic oroduct (GDP) per capita
  • Social support
  • Health
  • The citizens’ freedom to make personal choices
  • Generosity and
  • Perceptions of internal and external corruption

‘Happiness’ is determined by the overall welfare of its citizens. It’s not based on the West’s idea of what ‘happiness’ is.

Do you believe that Finland is the happiest country on Earth? Feel free to leave any opinions or insights in the comments below.

Elon Musk fires half Twitter’s employees and introduced other changes

Messenger, Twitter and Facebook apps displayed on a phone/ tablet home screen
Image: iStock

Back in April, Tesla’s Elon Musk bought Twitter for US$44billion (A$61.4billion).

The announcement received a mixture of hope and fearl

Musk hasn’t wasted time in shaking things up.

In a statement, Twitter announced:

Get Twitter Blue if you sign up now.. Blue checkmark: power to the people. Your account will get a blue checkmark, just like celebrities, companies and politicians you follow.

Twitter

Twitter has also promised users that paid subscribers will see less advertisements on their feed.

No longer completely free

Sure, anyone can make a Twitter account. But some features are no longer free.

Musk listened to users and introduced an edit option for published tweets. But there’s a catch. It isn’t freely available. Instead, users/ brands have to buy the ‘blue’ subscription for US$8 (A$12.37) per month.

That’s not all. On Tuesday, Musk announced that he was calling for an overhaul of Twitter’s verification system. He called the previous verification system “bulls#$t”.

Instead, Musk wants users/ companies/ brands to pay for a blue mark verification. These accounts will get priority in the algorithm; gaining more exposure and engagement.

Layoffs

Musk has also been condemned for laying off around half of Twitter’s 7500 staff.

Musk defended his actions, saying he had no choice. He claimed that Twitter was losing US$4million (A$6.185million) a day. Musk offered no further information on the losses, nor whether staff were going to be paid a three month severence.

According to Fortune, at least one former employee has filed a lawsuit against Musk for violating federal law.

Win for free speech?

Since Musk bought Twitter, it has received mixed reactions. Some have expressed hope that it would bring free speech back to the platform.

On the flip side, some people have expressed fear that it will just spurr on hate speech, especially racism.

English YouTube commentator, Emma Thorne posted a video about the spike on racist tweets, including slurs, that were posted after Musk’s takeover,

Emma Thorne

Should people just give up on social media?

So, should people abandon social media? Matthew Hennessy from Wall Street Journal thinks so:

…it makes no sense to pay for the privilege of being Twitter’s product. This is an opportunity to be one of the smart ones. Make yourself less dependent on social media. Quit altogether if possible. You won’t have any trouble finding razors and newsletters. And now think what you can do with all the money you’ll save.

Matthew Hennessy, Wall Street Journal, later published in The Australian

Maybe that’s not a bad idea.

As a blogger, Twitter has always been a tricky platform to build a following. It’s even tricky for people to see your tweets unless you tweet multiple times a day, (which I don’t).

It’ll be interesting to see how these changes play out. Will tweets from non – paying users be buried and gain no impressions, no matter how many times they tweet in a day?

Ultimately, this is an attempt to save Twitter. Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see. But I’m not holding my breath.

What are your thoughts? Will the changes make you join or delete Twitter? Feel free to leave your thoughts below.