How Negativity Sparks Conversation Online

Starting flame wars within online discussions is a sure way to spark more discussions, a new study concludes.

A new study done on the effects of emotions in online interaction says that negativity in posts or discussions that tend to upset people is the biggest way to spark conversations on forums and social networks.

After analyzing discussions on Digg.com and BBC’s online forums, the research team found that threads with negative comments had more activity than others. Based on keywords, emoticons and a few other markers featuring on posts, they were also able to calculate each post’s “happiness score” which only decreased with the number of messages.

The researchers also noticed another trend while studying negative emotions in forums-while increasing the number of messages, a negative or a provocative post also tends to produce a group feeling, bringing quite a few members (with the same opinion in an argument) together.

[via New Scientist]

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