Social media spreads anger, study finds -

Social networking sites are generating a lot of anger, according to a study from researchers at China's Beihang University.

The study, by Rui Fan, Jichang Zhao, Yan Chen, and Ke Xu, examined human emotions on China's Twitter-like micro-blogging site Sina Weibo.

They found that anger spreads faster and wider than other emotions like joy. It suggests that posts you write out of anger will have more impact than those expressing happiness.

If a user sent an angry message, researchers looked at how likely the recipients were to also send out an angry message or retweet the same emotion.

After reading 70 million messages from 200,000 users of Weibo, they determined the sentiment of each by analysing emoticons.

The correlation of anger among users was significantly higher than that of joy, which indicates that angry emotions could spread more quickly and broadly in the network, the study said.

However, the correlation of sadness was surprisingly low and highly fluctuated.

The closer you are to a poster, the stronger the "sentiment correlation". Users with larger number of friends have more significant sentiment influence to their neighbourhoods.