In the News
Feeling and Spreading the Love on Facebook
Research shows happiness can spread via social networking
-Julie Ryan Evans
If you’re happy and you know it, then show it online and offl … you may make other people too. New research shows that happiness can be contagious in “real-life” social networks as well as in online social networks like BettyTalk and Facebook. And it can spread quickly to your friends’ friends and their friends – up to three degrees removed.
“We get this chain reaction in happiness that I think increases the stakes in terms of us trying to shape our own moods to make sure we have a positive impact on people we know and love,” said James Fowler, co-author of the study.
And while sadness can spread too, it’s not quite as powerful. “Each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9 percent, whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7 percent.”
They also found that people can affect their network’s health habits when it came to things like weight loss and quitting smoking.
The results of their study on Facebook have yet to published, but early reports show that they’re finding the same results there. So the next time you feel guilty for your Facebook addiction, just put some cheer in your updates and pictures and know that you’re not just wasting time, you’re spreading happiness too!