Spread a little happiness on Facebook

13 March 2014

A smile really is better than a frown – even on the Internet. Yes, it’s now officially been proven that positive social media posts have more reach than negative ones. Other people’s happiness is contagious, both in real life, and online.


That’s according to researchers at the University of California, who studied more than a billion Facebook updates over a three year period (POOR THEM) and found that happiness spread further, while misery generally gets two likes and a ‘u ok hun?’ from someone called Janice. Obviously, you can spread your negativity around, too, but it’s not as powerful as happiness.

They worked this out by contrasting data from cities in which in rained a lot, and compared it to data from cities where the weather was good. (Weather is known to affect people’s moods and levels of negativity, as anyone who has been to Glasgow knows).

In the cities where it wasn’t raining there were more positive posts. A positive post generated an average of 1.75 other positive posts. But a negative post from the damp stragglers in the rainy cities only generated a further 1.29 negative responses.

James Fowler, professor of political science at the University said:

‘We have enough power in this data set to show that emotional expressions spread online and also that positive expressions spread more than negative. It is possible that emotional contagion online is even stronger than we were able to measure.’


*no likes*

TOPICS:   Social Media   Technology   UK News   Privacy

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