IF YOU’RE IN the mood to vent about something or want to post a sad update, such an update could negatively impact your friends according to a new study.
The study, which was carried out by the University of California, Yale and Facebook, analysed millions of status updates between January 2009 to March 2012 which had a positive or negative focus. Researchers did not personally view any names or words posted by users, and all updates were picked out by Facebook’s algorithm.
Unsurprisingly, when it look at the impact of rainy days, it found that such days resulted in fewer positive status updates and more negative ones. When the weather was bad, negative posts increased by 1.16 per cent and positive posts decreased by 1.19 per cent as a result.
However, when they looked at the posts of those whose friends were affected by rain, but lived in other cities where it wasn’t raining, they found that such updates had a negative affect on them as well.
These friends would post 1.29 more negative posts than they would normally be expected.
In comparison, positive posts had a stronger impact on people and were more contagious, resulting in 1.75 more positive posts being uploaded.
The authors of the report said that while there were many factors that affect human emotion, what’s being expressed on social networks does have an impact on how we feel.
These results imply that emotions themselves might ripple through social networks to generate large-scale synchrony that gives rise to clusters of happy and unhappy individuals.
And new technologies online may be increasing this synchrony by giving people more avenues to express themselves to a wider range of social contacts. As a result, we may see greater spikes in global emotion that could generate increased volatility in everything from political systems to financial markets.
The study was posted on the scientific journal Plos One.