Social Systems – Facebook Reaches Into Your Mind

An article today in the Silicon Valley Mercury News describes an analysis done by Facebook data scientist Adam D. I. Kramer.  He analyzed 1 million people and their 150 million friends and was able to track responses to posts showing that emotions are spread.  That sounds simple and obvious but lets talk about a few of the details.

If you say something negative and depressing, your friends are more likely to post negative and depressing statuses as much as three days later.   Fortunately, if you say something positive they will also respond.  I wonder if there is a way to create a social graph showing the rings of response spreading out like ripples from a pebble tossed into a lake?

The old saying was, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry alone.”  It is comforting to know you can get the whole world sobbing hysterically right along with you.  But should you?

While most of us would prefer to be a positive influence on friends, there are always one or two in any group who thrive on the drama.  You know who I’m talking about.  How many of these statuses have you seen:

  • The picture of a gruesome injury or surgery
  • The post blasting someone else with hate but putting it in writing for all their friends to read, “You’re a loser and I hate you!”
  • The depression or alcohol fueled whine, “I wish somebody wanted to hang out with me once in a while.  Nobody likes me.  My life sucks.”

Even if your life does suck, do you really want everyone to know it?  Aren’t they going to wonder why you don’t do something about it other than sit in front of the computer on Facebook whining via your keyboard?  Here’s a new reason:  you are likely to depress all your friends.

If that isn’t enough motivation to type out a little more cheery world remember that future employers and prospective dates can look at your statuses on line too.  No one wants to date or employ the whiner, drama queen, suicide king, hater.   Your social profile isn’t a private journal that no one but your best friend ever reads.

Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Let’s get the laughter going!




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