Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Social Media (Un)happiness

PostedMarch 13, 2016

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Anchor Lede: Does social media affect the happiness of its users? New findings suggest it does…and maybe not in a good way.

Randy Atkins: Johan Bollen, of Indiana University, says he used computer programs to read Twitter postings of a couple hundred thousand people and identify…

Johan Bollen: …the kind of words and the kind of expressions that people use when they are happy or unhappy.

Randy Atkins: Then, looking at who was connected to whom he came to the troubling conclusion that…

Johan Bollen: …statistically speaking, there’s very good odds that, on average, your friends will be happier than you are.

Randy Atkins: Or that’s your perception anyway. Further…

Johan Bollen: We found that happy users are surrounded by happy people and unhappy users are very often surrounded by unhappy people.

Randy Atkins: And Bollen says the unhappy effect is stronger.

Johan Bollen: It confirms that, indeed, using social media a lot might have a negative effect on your well-being.