Rants on Social Media Can Come Back to Haunt You, Says StudySocial Media

October 24, 2018 10:24
Rants on Social Media Can Come Back to Haunt You, Says Study

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Sending irate, negative chat messages on Facebook and Twitter is likely to hurt you, triggering ripple effects on your emotions to continue for several minutes, a study has found.

On the other hand, positive chat resonates for a few seconds, in general, according to a study by researchers at the University of California (UC) Davis in the United States.

"It's not just that this negative chat has a long life," said Seth Frey, an assistant professor at UC Davis.

"But it has a longer effect on the original speaker. Negative people are really hurting themselves," said Frey, lead author of the study published in the journal Behavior Research Methods.

Researchers focused at hundreds of millions of chat room messages, over many months, in around 600,000 conversations among young people playing a popular online social game.

Most of the millions of participants globally were amid eight and 12 years of age.

The data showed that a positive message does not just cause changes in others, yet ripples back to the original sender. The effects of a sender's message start rippling back quickly, after just two seconds and continue for a minute.

However, chat comprising negative words or messages affects others more strongly and continues to ripple back from a chat audience for up to eight minutes on average.

The result is a "feedback loop" in which one instance of negativity causes a stream of negativity that continues to perpetuate itself.

Positive and negative statements were evaluated with a sentiment analysis toolkit usually used for brief Twitter posts.

The findings show that emotions ripple online in ways that we can't always measure in in-person, one-on-one conversations, said Frey.

"It's really about isolating the effects that your angry and distasteful actions have on you in the future," he said.

-Sowmya Sangam

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social media  internet