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Feeling down? Blame Facebook.

Posted by Doug Saffir  March 13, 2014 11:18 PM

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Whether you like it or not, we're in a world where social media touches just about everything - including human emotions.

And that's no longer just something people tell themselves as they jealously click on their friends' tropical vacation photos. It has become scientific fact.

James Fowler, a professor at the University of California in San Diego, worked with a team of researchers to determine whether positive and negative Facebook status updates had an impact on the emotions of people who read them.

The Guardian said the study looked at over a billion posts from about a million users and found that all posts, positive or negative, can turn the tide of emotions on social media.

From the Guardian:

To test if emotions might spread from one person to another, the scientists looked at how updates changed when it rained. Rain has a reliable impact on the tone of Facebook posts, with negative ones rising by 1.16% and positive ones falling by 1.19%.

The study looked at the posts of people who were friends with someone who lived in a city that was being rained on, but were crucially not in a city hit by rain themselves.

According to Fowler, every downbeat post triggered an extra 1.29 more negative posts than normal among people's friends. Every happy post led to an extra 1.75 positive posts among friends. Details of the study are published in the online scientific journal Plos One.

That's a pretty big impact and it shows just how much our well-being has become tied to technology and how we experience it.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Fowler's findings give any explanation as to why you feel so blue when you spend a Saturday night stalking your exes and sadly scrolling through your news feed.

This might be hard to hear, but that may be an issue only Ben & Jerry's can solve. After all, some questions just weren't meant to be answered by science.

(H/T Fark)

Reach me at douglas.saffir@globe.com. Follow me @dougsaffir

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