By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown, Web Success Team
Ever feel like you have a case of the blues and nothing can make you feel better? Well according to several recent studies, researchers have found that social media use can in fact elevate your mood. Whether it’s positive reinforcement from friends, the number of “likes” you get on a particular status update, or even just being able to chat online with friends you may not talk to often, Facebook and other social media platforms have proven to have an overall positive effect on the human psyche.
Pinterest Can Solve the Blues
Sure the Internet can be full of negative energy, but it can also be full of positive and inspiring messages, you just have to no where to look. Recently, Pinterest has caught my eye, as it is full of some of the most interesting and inspiring ideas I’ve seen on the Internet, and it’s all nicely organized in one place. From great comfort food recipes, to breathtaking photographs and inspirational quotes, this has become my recent form of online happiness. If I ever feel gloomy, I know I can find a wise quote on Pinterest that can cheer me up and keep me going. There are also tons of amazing do-it-yourself home decorating ideas, food, nature and fashion tips, which can keep pretty much anyone happy.
Have you ever shared a photo or status update just because you knew it would accumulate a lot of “likes”? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been guilty of this at some point. Sometimes positive reinforcement can be just the thing you need to get out of a rut. Sometimes it can be hard to muster up the courage to call your friends and get them to cheer you up, so sometimes the cyber version is just what you need. Getting a lot of “likes” shows you the fact that you are loved, at least in the online sense.
Facebook also allows you to connect with pretty much anyone. Humans thrive on their connections to one another and Facebook allows you to keep up to speed on your friends’ lives no matter where you live in the world. So many times when I have good news to tell, there is always someone who responds with, “yeah I saw that on Facebook.” This can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it, but the fact that you can stay so well versed on peoples’ intimate life details via the Internet is a pretty remarkable feat.
Got the Twitter Blues?
A recent study at Northeastern University analyzed over 300 million tweets and scored their “mood” based on the Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW). The study analyzed tweets over a three-year time frame and found that there was various tweet “mood patterns” based on the time of day. People were generally posting the most positive posts early in the morning, then in the afternoon it tapered off to sad tweets, while finishing on a happy note in the evening. They based the mood spectrum on how often a “happy” or “sad” word appeared in the tweet, for instance “love” or “inspiring” would insinuate a happy event, where as “terrible” or “divorce” would mean that an unhappy undertone was present. But whom are these Tweets really affecting? Are they affecting only the person who Tweets, or does that one negative Tweet then amplify and translate into 100 negative Tweets based on that person’s followers? Overall trends can be hard to speculate on, especially when it comes to this sort of topic, but it is definitely something interesting to think about.
Internet Mood Changers
Facebook and all social media platforms are very “social” and being around your peers can always make you feel better. Even if what you read online isn’t always cheering you up, the bottom line is that the Internet can, and will, always affect your mood. Whether you use it in a positive or negative way is up to you, it all depends on your perspective. Sometimes some inspiring words of wisdom or a cute picture of a puppy can put a smile on your face and get you in the right frame of mind. Or on the other side of the spectrum, someone’s depressing news can dampen your day. However, if you keep looking at the positive influences that social media has on your life, you will probably be pleasantly surprised at just how happy it can make you.
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