Social Media Users Spread Anger Faster Than Other Emotions - Study

October 10, 2013
According to a recent study conducted at the Beihang University in China, the internet is the fastest way to send emotionally-charged sentiments of individuals among friends. Social media platforms like Twitter were observed to determine which types of comments were fanned out as soon as these were posted -- it was revealed that angry statements were more likely to be reposted or replied to by others compared to happy or sad posts. The study observed users of Weibo (http://www.weibo.com/), the counterpart of Twitter in China, which has over 500 million users. Over 6 months, 70 million tweets originating from 200,000 Weibo users were monitored along with their interactions with others several times throughout the period. Emotions such as joy, sadness, anger and disgust were observed depending on how these were spread among social media connections. The results revealed that among the four emotions, joy and anger were the ones most likely shared throughout the network and even moved out of an individual?s immediate circle online. The topics were also different, covering the most domestic and personal to even the international predicaments. For one, people posted their anger over disputes between China and Japan and building conflicts with America. Those who posted angry comments were more likely to encourage others to post similar responses and emotions. The study also revealed that frequent communication or exchange between two users increases the possibility of revealing greater emotion online. The results may also explain how gossip and mild rumors can immediately trigger a whole public outrage. On the contrary, joyful posts will also be helpful in spreading a more positive attitude towards society. Read more: Anger is More Influential Than Joy: Sentiment Correlation in Weibo

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