Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Fast Feed

Anger Spreads Faster On Social Media Than Any Other Emotion

In a study of 200,000 users of Weibo, the Twitter of China, researchers found messages expressing anger were the most likely to spark other angry messages from friends in your network.

Anger Spreads Faster On Social Media Than Any Other Emotion

The emotions you express in your social media missives—particularly anger and joy—could play a role in whether or not your network of friends subsequently send out messages with similar sentiments.

In a recently published sentiment analysis study of 200,000 users of Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media service, researchers at Beihang University in China found angry messages were more likely than other emotionally charged messages to spread quickly across your social network. According to Tech Review, "the results clearly show that anger is more influential than other emotions such as joy or sadness."

Messages expressing joyful sentiments also showed correlation to influence friends to send similarly joyful messages, although to a lesser degree than angry messages. Sadness and disgust, meanwhile, did not spread easily.

That last finding correlates with a similar idea presented in research by Wharton professor Jonah Berger, who in 2011 published a study that found content containing "powerful" emotions, whether good or bad, incites people to share.

[Image: Flickr user FromSandToGlass]