Emotion and Virality on Social Media

Is Happiness Contagious Online?

(Social Media Related Research Initiatives)

Can happiness spread from person to person? If we are talking about a network of locally bounded individuals with many face-to-face interactions consisting of “strong” ties, the answer is a definite “Yes!”(Fowler and Christakis, 2008). However, it is still unclear if the same can be said for online social networks consisting of people who live in far flung places with few or even no face-to-face interactions, and where the majority of ties are considered to be “weak”. This study uses advanced automated sentiment analysis techniques to determine whether positive messages (tweets) posted online via Twitter, a popular microblogging site, are more likely to be forwarded (retweeted) as compared to negative messages. Research in this area has direct implications on e-marketing, corporate email tone filtering and online community building.

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