We recently learned that, through the analysis of 25 million tweets, researchers had managed to identify different patterns in the mood of users, based on the messages they posted throughout the day.
In this way, they identified that it was very likely that most users were unhappy on Sundays (due to the proximity to the start of work or studies), and that happiness subsequently increased as the new weekend approached. .
Now, a team of researchers from the Department of Computer Science at SINAI, CEATIC and the University of Jaén, in Spain, has discovered that tweets with negative feelings will have a higher probability of going viral , compared to more positive publications.
The research results have been published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. In it, the group of scientists describes their analysis of the different publications that many users made on Twitter during the referendum held in Catalonia in 2017 (which sought to achieve Catalan independence), and which became a politically emotional event in Spain.
In order to find out if sentiment can play a more or less important role in the virality of publications on social networks, the researchers chose this moment, collecting a total of 46,962 tweets from 25,847 different user accounts, which they were posted over the course of a week in October 2017. They then analyzed the tweets for trends related to sentiment.
In doing so, the scientists found that users who tended to post negatively inclined tweets tended to reach a much wider audience than those who only posted more positively oriented messages .
Due to the results, the researchers have suggested in their article that negative posts on Twitter would have a higher virality than positive tweets , although they have also pointed out that these findings could differ depending on the circumstances, such as unique situations in which some user posts a tweet that ends up going viral massively for no apparent or explainable reason.
Finding the reasons that lead a tweet to go viral
As social media platforms have become enormously popular (in January this year Facebook had around 2.74 billion active users in a month), many people have sought to increase and improve their social reputation by creating posts capable of attracting the attention of the rest of the users.
We have already observed how those publications that become fashionable get spread easily, being shared by thousands or millions of people in a few days, and others barely reach a dozen. It is what is known as viral publications .
In this new effort to identify what could be the reasons that lead to a certain content going viral, the scientists indicate that it would be related to the number of followers that the author has, certain aspects of the subject that said publication addresses and, in addition, specific characteristics of it.
Although there have been previous studies on this topic, few studies have actually looked at whether the sentiment shown in a post could influence its virality.
Reference: Salud María Jiménez-Zafra et al. How do sentiments affect virality on Twitter ?, Royal Society Open Science (2021). DOI: 10.1098 / rsos.201756