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Rain and Social Contagion

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090315

 

While not very recent, a study published by researchers at from the University of California San Diego found that social networks amplified social contagion and generally made the overall global emotional state more synchronous. Their study collected and correlated data on the location of rainfall to positive and negative social media posts made by millions of Facebook users across the United States. What they found was that rainfall increased the chances that someone would make negative social media post as opposed to a positive one. However what they found was that friends of the original poster would also become more likely to make negative posts as well even when their hometown did not experience any rain. This heavily implies that a person’s rainy day post can spread that negative emotion across their social network and even influence people who should not otherwise feel differently. The implications of this research suggest that social media has the tendency to amplify the effects of strong waves of emotion.

 

This is similar to what we learned in class about social contagion and cascades. The fact that social media makes people’s emotions much more readily accessible decreases the threshold required for emotionally negative or positive posts to spread. One negative post can much more easily spread than before.

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