Thursday, March 27, 2014

First of its kind research reveals powerful social media mood virus – don’t get sucked in...

Can bad moods go viral and negatively affect people across the globe? Yes, research reveals that yes, they can and do just that.

Imagine a negative social media update that - within hours or minutes - sucks millions of people into a vortex of angst that adversely affects their real interactions with friends, colleagues and family members. Is there a better way to depress a population quickly?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Yale, and Facebook has found that moods can be spread as wildly as that funny cat video everyone's been watching.

Social researchers have known for years that emotions spread through face-to-face interaction, but this is the first large-scale study on how this phenomenon carries over into online interactions.

In gathering data for this study, researchers (some of whom were employed by Facebook at the time) examined billions of status updates posted between January 2009 and March 2012. They specifically examined how updates changed on rainy days. Then they looked at posts of people who were Facebook friends with those impacted by rain, but who lived in areas where the weather was not as bad. The study found that every emotionally negative post as a result of the rain generated an extra 1.29 more negative posts than usual. Full story...

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