Chinese researchers find that anger spreads faster than sadness, happiness, or joy on the Twitter-like social network Sina Weibo.
They gauged various online emotions by tracking emoticons embedded in millions of messages posted on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging platform. Their conclusion: Joy moves faster than sadness or disgust, but nothing is speedier than rage. The researchers found that users reacted most angrily—and quickly—to reports concerning “social problems and diplomatic issues,” like a 2010 incident where a tainted food additive was believed to cause a neurodegenerative disease or when an international shipping dispute prompted an eruption of nationalist rage against Japan.
In many cases, these flare-ups triggered a chain reaction of anger, with User A influencing Users B and C, and outward in a widening circle of hostility, until it seemed all of Sina Weibo was burning. The users, according to the study’s authors, passed along these messages not only to “express their anger” but to instill a similar sense of outrage among other members of their online community on Sina Weibo—one of the only venues where the Chinese can circumvent government restrictions on traditional forms of media. (Source)