Keep Smiling

I find this obvious but interesting. Moods spread:

Over one billion status updates were made anonymous, then studied, covering Jan. 2009 through March 2012. The results, published in PLOS ONE, come from over 100 million different users across all major American cities. Exposure to positive posts results in more positive posts, and negative posts work the same way and spread more negative posts. However, positivity is a better contagion, and the more upbeat posts are more likely to spread.

“We wanted to see if emotional changes in one person caused emotional changes in another person and that’s exactly what we found,” said UC San Diego political scientist James Fowler, lead author of the study. He is also a professor of medical genetics and political sciences at UCSD.

They tracked rainfall and watched to see if cloudy days Chicago would affect how Sand Diego friends felt about their day. “When it rains on you, you write more negative posts,” Fowler said, “but it affects your friends too.” There will be a “transmission” or transfer, of those emotions through Facebook as one or two people reading will take on these contagions emotions expressed within the post they read.

The message here is something that is no surprise—moods spread. The Internet facilitates such spread. The Internet vector by which moods are expressed most frequently is Facebook. Consequently, moods expressed on Facebook are likely to be quite influential.

Interestingly, they found that positive moods spread more easily than negative ones so keep smiling!

It also suggests that there is a “spirit of the times” and it’s becoming progressively easier to influence it. Since I know people who, in essence, post on Facebook for a living, I’m sure that their jobs are secure will be a reassurance to them.

1 comment… add one
  • jan

    I find the “moods spread” revelation unsurprising. That’s why there is a such an calling for ‘inspirational speakers,’ because audiences receive a ‘lift of mood, optimism, motivation’ simply from the force and amplitude from the words of such a speaker. I’m also sure we all have friends who we categorize as ‘uppers’ or ‘downers,’ in what we feel after being with them for a time. There even people who are ‘sappers,’ in that their presence seems to take away energy and leave a person feeling drained.

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