Good Friends, Bad News - Affect and Virality in Twitter

Lars Kai Hansen, Adam Arvidsson, Finn Årup Nielsen, Elanor Colleoni, Michael Etter

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    The link between affect, defined as the capacity for sentimental arousal on the part of a message, and virality, defined as the probability that it be sent along, is of significant theoretical and practical importance, e.g. for viral marketing. The basic measure of virality in Twitter is the probability of retweet and we are interested in which dimensions of the content of a tweet leads to retweeting. We hypothesize that negative news content is more likely to be retweeted, while for non-news tweets positive sentiments support virality. To test the hypothesis we analyze three corpora: A complete sample of tweets about the COP15 climate summit, a random sample of tweets, and a general text corpus including news. The latter allows us to train a classifier that can distinguish tweets that carry news and non-news information. We present evidence that negative sentiment enhances virality in the news segment, but not in the non-news segment. Our findings may be summarized ’If you want to be cited: Sweet talk your friends or serve bad news to the public’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFuture Information Technology : 6th International Conference, FutureTech 2011 - Loutraki, Greece, June 28-30, 2011 - Proceedings, Part II
    Publication date2011
    ISBN (Print)978-3-642-22308-2
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-22309-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventFTRA International Conference on Future Information Technology - Loutraki, Greece
    Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …
    Conference number: 6


    ConferenceFTRA International Conference on Future Information Technology
    CityLoutraki, Greece
    Period01/01/2011 → …
    SeriesCommunications in Computer and Information Science


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