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How Your Facebook Feed Affects Your Happiness

What's the Latest?

Elizabeth Dwoskin of the Digits blog at The Wall Street Journal posted earlier today about a new study linking the reading of positive posts on Facebook to the actual posting of positive things on Facebook. Researchers worked with Facebook to adjust the algorithm for certain users' feeds so that posts including "positive" words showed up more. Dwosin explains:

If positive terms like “happy” and “excited” appeared in the posts of people whose news feeds were tweaked, the researchers studied whether more positive words had been used in posts from others in their network. 

Researchers' expectations were confirmed. The group exposed to more positive words in turn posted happier statuses. Similar results were also netted when groups of users were exposed to "negative" posts. Their updates ended up using more negative words.

What's the Big Idea?

Here's a thought: if you're some sort of evil mastermind plotting to undo the psychological wellness of all your Facebook friends, the best place to start is by posting a ton of negativity. Spam them with Nietzche image quotes! Link to Breitbart as much as you possibly can!

In all seriousness, the research appears to confirm what so many of us believe about the infectious nature of happiness. Exposing yourself to negativity begets negativity. Exposing yourself to happiness begets happiness. That's not just conjecture -- it's science.

Now that more of our lives are lived online, perhaps the cure for e-depression is a cleaning up of one's social network. And maybe all this about Facebook positive energy explains the popularity of those Joel Osteen quotes your aunts keep posting.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Photo credit: Thinglass / Shutterstock.com 

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