Questions for the weekend

POSTED: 03/17/14 6:41 PM

American researchers have discovered something many people already know: your mood affects the mood of others. If you are in a foul mood, you will quickly ruin the mood of people around you. If you smile, people will smile in return.

The research was a bit more specific though. The Americans looked at Facebook messages and found that their content influences the mood of its receivers. Same dog, different hat, so to speak.

A positive message influences the mood of others more often than a negative message, researchers of the University of California, Yale and Facebook discovered in a joint research. The Wall street Journal reported that the project is one of the largest public Facebook-studies ever.

The researchers looked at a billion messages that were posted by more than one hundred million different American Facebook-users. Such numbers always dumbfound us. How much time does it take to read a Facebook-message? Thirty seconds? Multiply that by one billion and then calculate how much time we are talking about – divide it by two for all we care – and then make up your mind about the credibility of these data. A nice job for the weekend.

The researchers claim that during a rainy day there were 1.16 percent more negative messages on Facebook then on days without rain. The number of positive messages decreased by 1.19 percent.

That effect also hit Facebook-friends living in places where it was dry on the same day. Positive messages generate an additional 1.75 percent positive messages from friends, while negative messages generate 1.29 percent more negative status updates from others.

The researchers find this intriguing. We’re thinking: isn’t there a crisis in the Ukraine? The research team has this to say about the data it found: “In spite of the fact that the rain is the motive, positive messages appear to be more contagious than negative ones.” That is also an interesting statement to chew on over the weekend.

To determine whether a message was positive or negative, the researchers looked for specific words like sad of happy. We figure they let a computer lose on those one billion messages to do the job for them. Messages that were about the weather were excluded from the data.

The researchers found that apart from the weather, the time a message is posted also affects the mood. Messages sent during weekends and holidays were in general more positive than messages sent during weekdays. We wonder why that is: a fourth question to consider during the weekend.

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