By Karleigh Creighton
Our mood and emotions change often. They are affected not only by the big things in life, but also by small incidences like the weather, a surprise text, a meeting with friends and even by social media. Have you ever thought about how social media affects your mood and emotions? Facebook recently released research on its “contagion effect.” An effect they say that results in posting like your friends post.
Evidence from this study of 689,003 random Facebook users showed that after their newsfeeds were manipulated to have either a more positive or negative vibe, their own timelines reflected that same feeling. Those who were exposed to more positive news increased the use of positive words in their own posts, while those receiving less positive news in their newsfeed began to use more negative words. The same trend was also seen in the type of post. Individuals with newsfeeds consistent with long, revealing, emotional posts generally reciprocated that type of post, while those who constantly saw less expressive updates were likely to do the same.
Due to Facebook’s data-use policy the actual content of the posts of the individuals studied could not be seen and the study was conducted by counting the number of positive and negative words within the posts.
Personally, my mood is not seriously affected by what I see on my timeline. I don’t like to see negative posts so I just keep scrolling through them without paying much attention to the naysayers. If I see too many negative posts in a row I might get slightly annoyed and think about blocking the user to safely avoid negative energy, but nothing more than that. My emotions, on the other hand, are affected by posts I see from family and friends. Happy posts from people about getting a new job, having a baby, getting a puppy, or something else special will put a smile on my face, while posts about a loss trigger sadness because I can feel how much someone is hurting through their words.
However, regardless of the mood and emotions present in my newsfeed, I post my own thoughts and feelings. What do you think about the information provided by the study? Does it hold true in your life?
In addition to piggy backing off of the atmosphere in your timeline, social media can have other ways of affecting your mood. After posting a picture and getting 50 “Likes,” chances are you are feeling pretty happy that your selfie scored big with followers.
But what about the days when your post doesn’t generate any reach, especially one you thought was extra creative and fun, it’s discouraging. I believe it’s all just mental. Post what you want to post because it’s how you feel. Don’t let the attitude of another infiltrate your mind and therefore the tone of your own posts. The only way your social media will be influenced by others is if you let it.
How big of an impact do you let social media have on your life? I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.