Social media has a lot of uses and drawbacks. But according to a new study, there is one that could prove to be among the most significant.
A team of scientists from Yale University found out that "likes" and "shares" on social media are "teaching" people to be angrier, reports Phys.org. The scientists concluded after measuring so-called "expressions of moral outrage" on Twitter, especially those made after important world events.
The Yale team studied a total of 12.7 million tweets from over 7,300 Twitter users. According to their observations, they confirmed that the incentives social media platforms give out do change the way people post. Those whose tweets received more "likes" or "shares" on their angry posts tended to keep the trend going with their succeeding tweets.
According to William Brady, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale and the study's first author, this is the first shred of evidence that proves people's tendencies do get influenced over time by the basic design of social media. Although in this case, it's more on the negative side.
Furthermore, the study also revealed how big of a role social media really plays in terms of political influence. While observing extremist and moderate political groups members, the researchers found that people allied with the former expressed more outrage than the latter. However, the members of the moderate groups were technically the ones whose expressions of anger were incentivized by social media's inherent "reward system."
Social Media And Its Gargantuan Role in Shaping Perception
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become a battleground in recent times, more specifically due to the pandemic. More and more people are going to their profiles to posting about their thoughts in light of recent events because they really can't do anything else as they're often stuck at home.
With the world reeling from the devastating effects of the coronavirus, social media users have no choice but to go on Facebook or Twitter and air out their grievances over alleged "government shortcomings" when it comes to handling the pandemic. And since other people are also stuck at home and feeling the economic brunt of current events, they're more or less inclined to agree. Thus, the premise of the Yale study.
It's also worth noting that this massive increase in social media posting is starting to wreak havoc on people's mental health. This is why many experts have advised that people take social media breaks.
Responsible Social Media Posting Is Still Important
Social media is starting to make folks angry about anything and everything. And numerous times, it's also making them angry about themselves, writes The Medium. But despite this, responsible posting on these platforms remains the best way to turn their negative effects into positive ones.
Everybody knows that a little more positivity and a little less anger can improve one's overall quality of life during these uncertain times.
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Written by RJ Pierce