Facebook Emotions Are Contagious, and You Just Might Be Bringing Your Friends Down | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Debbie Downer

Facebook Emotions Are Contagious, and You Just Might Be Bringing Your Friends Down

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 6:03 AM

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You know that Debbie Downer friend on Facebook who posts each day about being unable to sleep well, stand the pain or, worse, find true love?

Oy vey. Turns out she's bringing everybody down with her.

New research presented in Southern California recently concludes that "emotional contagion" can go beyond face-to-face communication:

It can be transmitted through social media. And it can bum you out.

Research presented by psychologist Adam Kramer and others to the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego over the weekend indicated, according to the organization, that ...

... Facebook users can spread emotions to their online connections just by posting a written message, or status update, that's positive or negative ...

According to ScienceNews, here's how the study went down, in part:

Kramer used a computer program to identify words signifying positive and negative emotions in Facebook status updates posted by 1 million English-speaking users over three consecutive days in 2010. He did the same for status updates posted by friends of those Facebook users over the next three consecutive days.

... When a user's status update included more positive than negative words, updates by that user's friends posted three days later included an average of 7 percent more positive words and 1 percent fewer negative words compared with their updates just before the user's post appeared. A corresponding pattern appeared after users posted updates with a surplus of negative words.

This is amazing. We might be able to solve this lagging economy by simply posting pro-shopping sentiments on Facebook. Buying stuff makes America happy. Yay.

So turn that frown upside down. Or, at the least, hide your pain. For the good of the country. And your friends.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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