Various studies have suggested that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can make you crazy, narcissistic, miserable and clinically mad. But the social networking site also has a positive impact on users. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and published in PLOS ONE found that the positive status updates on Facebook increases the happiness quotient among your friends.
Positive expressions spread faster than negative ones on Facebook
The researchers analyzed over one billion anonymized status updates of more than 100 million Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users in the U.S. The study was conducted between January 2009 and March 2012. Researchers found that positive posts generate positive posts from friends, and negative ones generate negative posts. But positive posts are more contagious.
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Lead author James Fowler said that people’s Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) posts cause their friends’s emotional expressions to change. Scientists first proved that rainy days increase the number of negative posts and reduce the volume of positive ones. On a rainy day, the number of negative posts in a city went up by 1.16%, and the number of positive posts fell by 1.19%.
Researchers then looked at the friends of rained-in users, but who lived in a different city where weather was absolutely fine. Even these users showed the effects of their wetter friends. For every negative status update from the rainy group, friends in dry weather yielded 1.29 more negative posts. But the positive updates were more influential, generating 1.75 more positive posts.
How Facebook may affect financial markets and political systems
James Fowler said that data shows that emotional expressions spread online, and positive ones spread more than the negative ones. When you go to a restaurant, and you are greeted with a smile, you feel better. Fowler said he believed the study underestimated the impact of social media in spreading your emotional expressions. He said that the growth of social media would lead to a spike in global emotion. That would subsequently create volatility in many aspects of like including financial markets and political systems.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares inched up 0.40% to $71.16 in pre-market trading Thursday.