Could your Facebook friends have control over your emotions? Maybe so.
New research from the University of California has found that feelings shared on Facebook—through negative or positive posts or status updates—are contagious among online friends.
NBC-TV’s local affiliate in San Diego is reporting on the study that analyzed whether happiness and other emotions are spread from person to person on social networks such as Facebook.
The researchers used data from more than one billion anonymous status updates among more than 100 million Facebook users. It found that positive posts lead to more positive posts, while negative posts are a definite downer.
According to the study, positive Facebook posts are more influential than negative ones—spreading the love around.
The study also found that rainy days can change the mood of Facebook posts—and that mood change can be contagious. In fact, when a friend posts about the rain in her city, you can begin to feel sad even if it’s sunny in your city!
When a person directly affected directly by rainfall posts about it, it can have a powerful influence. That one rainy day friend can negatively impact up to two other people.
Researcher James Fowler at UC San Diego believes that in today’s digitally-connected world, it’s important to learn what can be transmitted through social media.
He says, “It is possible that emotional contagion online is even stronger than we were able to measure.”
Well, I was in a good mood when I started working on this report. But then I saw a status update from a friend in Seattle and now I’m somewhat melancholy.
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