Study: Social networks can spread sadness

Study: Social networks can spread sadness

US researchers have analyzed over a billion status updates from around a million Facebook users, and found that negative posts spread negative moods through the network. Published in the PLOS ONE journal, the authors found that rain can directly affect the mood of Facebook users, and this bad mood can spread to other Facebook users even if they live somewhere it is not raining.

The study, ‘Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks‘, shows that just as human emotions can be contagious face to face, the same is true with our social network connections. If you post something negative, that can have a domino effect on your Facebook friends, leading them to post negative statuses, and so on.

The study claims that for every person affected by rainfall, Facebook interaction indirectly affects one to two other people. Social Networks could therefore contribute to ‘global emotional synchrony’, or in plain English, Facebook interaction could mean we all end up in the same mood at the same time.

So, think twice before you post sad things on Facebook: you could be adding to global misery!


[Source: PLOS ONE, The Guardian]

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