With the amount of time people spend on Facebook, it's bound to have an impact. The social network permeates nearly every aspect of our lives: making us less lonely, more envious or affecting our memory. A new study shows you're not the only one Facebook's taking on an emotional roller coaster. The survey says the site causes the most stress but also elicits the most positive effect on mood compared to other social networks.
Common wisdom says that Facebook makes you sad and lonely because it forces you to compare yourself with others — people often cite a study that came out last year which claimed to prove this. But new research suggests that any emotions on Facebook spread quickly, just like viral videos or pictures of cute cats, and that positive feelings spread even more than negative ones.
The University of California San Diego study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, analyzed data from 100 million Facebook users, who posted nearly a billion updates between 2009 and 2012. For every positive emotion in a status update, there were one to two additional updates in the average user's network expressing similar emotions. Each “I love my life!”-type post also reduced the number of “I hate everything”-type posts by friends by nearly one-half, while negative updates lowered positive posts by 1.3 times.
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