Good news thrives on social media sites. People post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram pictures of their children, marriages, and engagements, but what about when there's bad news? A new study shows that when it comes to bad news, people tend to make telephone calls or prefer face-to-face communication. It highlights how we use different forms of media to communicate emotions differently, depending on the emotional effect on the individual.
The study, conducted by the researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, involved 300 undergraduate students at the university. Researchers followed their sharing habits to see how they communicated their emotions. All participants were required to keep a daily journal to document how they shared their emotions, and the form of media they shared it on. They also recorded how they felt when the incident occurred, and how they felt after they shared it with others face to face, on the phone, and through social media, CBS News reported.
Results showed that 70 percent of all social sharing was through social media, texting or phone calls, and in person. The researchers found that participants shared positive content on several forms of media, like through texts or Twitter, because the information spreads quickly, and gets a response quickly. Think about how many people post graduation photos on Facebook and Instagram, and texts friends immediately. "When something positive happens, you want to tell it right way," said Catalina Toma, study author and an assistant professor of communication arts at UW-Madison, according to CBS.
When it came to bad news, participants preferred calling instead of posting their feelings for the world to see. "You often hear people say when the phone rings, its bad news," Toma said. "Our data supports that."
The researchers also concluded that sharing good news makes you happy unlike sharing bad news. After all, there is just no way of getting around bad news; it doesn't feel good if you post it on Facebook, or if you share it on the phone or in person. For some people, simply sharing negative information was enough to make them feel worse. "Their negative effect got aggravated," Toma said. "Sharing makes it more real."
According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook continues to dominate social media — its other property, Instagram, is another very popular site. People who have both sites tend to check them pretty regularly, partly because they give people the opportunity to express themselves 24 hours a day. The research also revealed that 46 percent of Facebook users enjoy sharing their news with a large group of people at once. It's positive to share the good things that happen in your life. In fact, it's part of the reason why almost 50 percent of users created an account.
Source: Choi M, Toma C. Social sharing through interpersonal media: Patterns and effects on emotional well –being. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014.