Social Media is Very Emotional


We were asked an interesting question this week, which emotion is the best/worst to convey on social media platforms? What a great question. Happiness, sadness, anger, and disappointment, we see or are at least aware of these emotions in some of the posts and responses we see on social media on a regular basis and how these affect the responses of others. We did our research and we found some very interesting facts.

Happiness is the most contagious of the “good” emotions. Obviously, right?

It makes sense, we see a happy post or a happy picture and it makes you feel good but it goes deeper. There is something called emotional contagion. Facebook did a study a couple of years a go where they removed happy posts from 680 000 people’s wall to study the effect. The study found that 80% of those people reduced not only happy posts but simply posts in general. It then manifested further where these individuals began posting “negatively.” Although the study was picked apart by scholars due to the lack of solid controls and variables, the study still proved successful in showing that fundamentally, social media is merging with the premises of traditional communication and the emotional contagion is a relevant factor to consider too. Conversely, more positive posts lead to more positive emotions being re-posted.

Rage was seen as the most powerful “negative” of emotions.

Rage is in fact an interesting emotion because although it has the ability to have a negative impact it was registered as the most “Viral” of the emotions. In very close competition with happiness of course. The premise of rage is that it has a greater bearing on our “fight or flight” instincts and demands quicker responses of us. For example, on seeing a post of a badly harmed rhino, people are enraged and feel that they should vent that immediately where as a happy post is likely to be pondered on and reconsidered before re-posting.
As we mentioned earlier though, although rage as an emotion on social media can be very powerful in a viral sense, it still pertains to the negative emotions. More negative emotions seen will result in fewer posts and re-posts by the viewers and may even lead to re-posting more negatives.

Another interesting outcome of the study showed that negative social media posts are more likely to be remembered than good ones although the after effects of seeing a happy post were shown to have longer lasting effects.

The studies have now been extended into public health and researchers are hoping to better understand the lasting effects on people’s social media lives.
Next time you’re about to post something on social media, consider making it positive one, you may just brighten up someone’s day.

We would love to hear of your emotional experiences when it comes to social media. Do you remember the good or the bad posts best? Feel free to contact us here or on any of our various social media platforms.