Social Media and Happiness

Last year, I wrote a post Can Social Media Cure Depression?. It seems it can! Today I was happy when good friend and Indianapolis Mobile Marketing guru Adam Small sent me the following link:

Happiness is contagious in social networks. An excerpt:

New research shows that in a social network, happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another. That means when you feel happy, a friend of a friend of a friend has a slightly higher likelihood of feeling happy too.


They found that when someone quits [smoking], a friend’s likelihood of quitting smoking was 36 percent. Moreover, clusters of people who may not know one another gave up smoking around the same time, the authors showed in a New England Journal of Medicine article in May.

Social ties also affect obesity. A person’s likelihood of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given time period, Fowler and Christakis showed in a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2007.

This is a powerful medium that we’ve only just begun to discover and leverage as marketers. It’s important to realize this impact as you continue to develop your online strategies. For additional reading on how consumers are already modifying their behaviors through social media, I’d highly recommend Razorfish’s Consumer Marketing Experience Report for 2008.


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    I don’t think the study was about MySpace friends, LOL. A “social network” for the purpose of the study consisted of people who know people who know people, Barbra Streisand included.

    Random acts of kindness perpetrated online may have a similar effect, though.

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    I can see where the study is correct and how social media can make people more happy. Of course it’s based on the small sample scale used. But can it also have the adverse affect? just playing devils advocate, but social media can create the sense of “friends” when in reality they are not. People can take them too serious and hit the cellar floor when they realize these relationships and connections are strictly online, and not a real true friendship.

What do you think?

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