Facebook is almost a necessity in most people’s lives. With millions of people online showing off their lives via photos, videos and friends, it’s no wonder people can get down on themselves. Studies done by Yale, University of California and Facebook shows that moods can be spread viral through social media such as Facebook.
The studies were done by collecting millions of users data from Facebook, specifically on the effects of rainy days. From these studies they suggested that from every single person affected by rain, two or more other people would also get the same impact.
“What people feel and say in one place may spread to many parts of the globe on the very same day,” wrote the report’s authors. They also suggested that the data reports “online social networks may magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony”.
But they also discovered that positive emotions spread faster than negative ones. Researchers have always known that face-to-face emotions can spread quickly, but now there is data that can suggest that social media can do the same. The researchers who were Facebook employees at the time analyzed the emotional content of billions of updates posted to Facebook between January 2009 and March 2012.
The test specifically looked at updates during times it was raining. From their data they discovered negative Facebook posts increased by 1.16% and positive posts decreased by 1.19%. Next they looked at the friends of the people who posted the negative posts impacted by rain, but who lived in cities where the weather was not necessarily as bad.
The results showed that every sad post increased an extra 1.29 more negative posts than normal people among friends. But looking at the opposite emotion, every happy post had a stronger impact, so if a user posted a upbeat status another 1.75 positive posts would occur because of it.
“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,” wrote the authors of the report. “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.”
These studies are proving the wave of the future and explanation for so many young users having a spike in depression and self body issues. Hopefully with more studies like this, we will be able to help younger users coming into the social media world and prepare them for the wild roller coaster to come.