Anger is most influential emotion online

Anger is most influential emotion online

Anger is the most influential feeling online compared to other emotions, such as joy and sadness, going by a recently released study in China.

And the situation might not be too different in other societies like that of Singapore, due in part to the nature of social media, said new-media and psychology experts.

Through analysing user behaviour and posts on Weibo, researchers from Beijing's Beihang University found that angry posts spread more widely on the Twitter-like micro-blogging network.

A rage-fuelled post would affect other posts that were three degrees removed from it. However, comments with feelings of sadness and disgust had little traction.

About 70 million posts on Weibo between April and September 2010, as well as 200,000 users, were studied. The research report was submitted last week.

Researchers identified active users with close connections - those who often re-posted or mentioned each other. The sentiments of the posts were then classified according to four emotions: anger, joy, sadness and disgust.

Dr Denisa Kera, from the National University of Singapore's department of communications and new media, said that, if the study was replicated in Singapore, the results might be similar. This is due to the inherent nature of social media.

"When you are online, you have to respond quickly, so there is no moment for reflection," she said, noting that the need for an immediate response may lead to something closer to aggression.

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