Emotion homophily in social network site messages

Mike Thelwall


Social network sites (SNS) like MySpace seem to play a role in friendships and wider relationships for many people. Emotion expression can be important in relationship maintenance but little is known about the role of emotion in SNSs, other than positive comments being widespread in MySpace. But is emotion typically reciprocated, and do Friends express and/or receive similar levels of emotion expression to each other? Based upon an analysis of over two million MySpace public comments associated with 2,990 pairs of UK and US Friends using a sentiment detection program, statistically significant evidence was found for a weak correlation between the strength of positive emotion exchanged between Friends and received by Friends. This is consistent with two separate hypotheses: members tend to Friend others with similar levels of public emotion expression, or the expression of emotion in MySpace is contagious. The results may help to identify non-optimal behaviour and at-risk individuals in SNSs.


social network site; emotion

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i4.2897

A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.