Everyone says “Feelings are contagious!” Laughter makes you laugh and someone’s tears might involuntarily distress you, if not draw you to tears yourself! Truer words have never been said. Apparently, this has gone far beyond our day-to-day experiences that are based on face-to-face interactions with others; it has actually extended to impact our interactions on social networks as well, in quite a noticeable way.
Have you not logged on to your account and noticed that the general mood is down? Have you noticed sometimes how Facebook feels like a barren land with no one left alive?! I, personally, have experienced those feelings firsthand, as a social media networks addict. It turned out that what I noticed was more than just intuitive outlooks, it was backed by research, too! It may not be really surprising; we’re all connected and consequently, affected by one another!
It seems that all those emotionally-charged statuses and tweets lying all over our social networks, reflecting someone’s grief or exuberance, influence our emotions remarkably.
“Oh, it’s raining again! Oh no, my love’s at an end.
Oh no, it’s raining again… And you know it’s hard to pretend.”
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That was part of a song called “It’s Raining Again” by Supertramp.
It seems that rain is associated in some way with human anguish! Yet, this is not intrinsically about rain, it’s about the raindrops’ ripple effect on our social media accounts! Let me be clearer; a recent study published by PLOS ONE, indicated that the rainy weather has significantly affected people’s moods in the location where the rain fell. People had a higher tendency to become negative on their social media accounts and this was manifested in their status updates!
By using automated text analysis software, researchers analyzed above one billion English-language status updates on Facebook for more than 1,180 days, depending on weather records to determine people’s sentiment in their posts in cities that experienced rain and they figured out that rain directly influences an increase in the negative posts by 1.16%, and a decrease in the positive ones by 1.19%!
“It was actually a very large effect. Every message that you post causes your friends to post an additional one to two messages that have the same emotional content,” said lead study author James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics and political science at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Far beyond us!
It goes beyond where we live; beyond our geographic location. On one rainy night in the city, our weather-influenced negative Facebook status updates affect others in cities that have no rain, at all!
“As a result, we may see greater spikes in global emotion that could generate increased volatility in everything from political systems to financial markets” and “what people feel and say in one place may spread to many parts of the globe on the very same day,” authors wrote.
Knowing this, we must not underestimate the effect of what we say and its large-scale power on the friends and the acquaintances we have on our social networks.
Are you marketing your brand on Social Media?!
Since positive yields more positive than negative, it’s advisable, from a marketing standpoint that a marketer should utilize this knowledge to flip the coin in his favor as part of humanizing the brand! An online marketers’ keenness on understanding the trends and the general sentiment should drive him to spread positive and vibrant posts on the brand’s fan page on rainy days or when everyone seems to be stuck in a loop of sadness due to any mishaps with vast magnitudes! This could, consequently create balance and cheer people up, as well as associate a given brand, eventually, with people’s wellbeing. When everyone sings the blues, you’ve gotten to become the cloud’s silver lining.
In Egypt, it’s a bit different!
Finally, I just have one take on this study, since I notice that the rain in Egypt has an evidently different kind of influence on people’s statuses that mostly report the rain with a state of delight and reflect a degree of mood elevation! On this part of the planet, rain triggers posts that are likely to revolve around the smell of rain, playing Fairuz songs in the background, coffee and cigarettes in the balcony, etc…! Perhaps the only negative posts in association with rain in Egypt, will be by others mocking those who speak about Fairuz and underground bands during rain time as neo-intellectuals wanna-be’s, or on how the streets turned into big mud pools or the traffic jam that locked everyone in their cars for a few extra hours due to faulty sewage systems. I think we need some text analysis to run on the Arabic status updates when it’s rainy. Scientists will have immense fun!
Facebook’s logo is displayed on an Apple iPad Air past water droplets in an arranged photograph in Washington.
(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg / January 27, 2014 – Source (Los Angeles Times)